What is a Hang Glider?
Hang gliders can be rigid or semi-rigid. Semi-rigid, which is the
most common type, have aluminium spars and battens in their wings,
but are covered in a tight sheath of Dacron cloth. Rigid hang gliders
are made of hard, composite materials such as glass fibre and are
becoming increasingly popular. In both cases, the pilot is suspended
in a harness beneath the glider in a face down position and controls
the direction and speed by moving a triangular control frame to shift
his or her weight beneath the wing.
What is a Paraglider?
Paragliders are elliptical wings, or canopy, designed for soaring
flight. The canopy is constructed of soft fabric and the pilot is
suspended beneath it in a seat harness supported by a number of lines.
The pilot controls the direction and speed of the glider by pulling
on control lines that affect the shape of trailing edge of the wing.
The pilot can also control the direction by leaning to one side of
his or her harness.
The beauty of a paraglider is that it folds up and fits into a large
rucksack, so if you have the energy, almost any takeoff site is accessible.
How much do these wings cost?
Hang gliders and paragliders are not cheap but they are one of the
least expensive way to fly and certainly the most portable.
A new hang glider or paraglider suitable for a recently trained pilot
will cost up to around $4,000. Used gliders can be purchased for much
less. Pilots must also purchase a harness, a backup parachute and
a helmet. Portable instruments such as an altimeter/variometer are
very useful and owned by the majority of pilots.
How do you get into the air?
There are two ways to get into the air. The first one is to run off
a hill or mountain. The second one is to get towed into the air. The
one that is used is a matter of geography and preference.
Where can I learn?
There are a number of schools in Canada that can teach you to hang
glide or paraglide safely. We recommend that you seek instruction
from a HPAC/ACVL certified instructor. Make sure that you ask plenty
of questions from the instructor or school as there are many different
ways to learn to fly and many different instructor personalities.
It is important that you be comfortable with the program and that
you communicate effectively with your instructor. Above anything else,
it is important that you have fun!
[ British Columbia ] [ Alberta ] [ Manitoba / Saskatchewan ]
[ Ontario ]
[ Quebec ] [ Atlantic Canada ] [ Yukon/NWT/Nunavut ]
For hang gliding, training usually begins on a shallow slope. The
student will learn to control the glider in the right attitude and
run with it to attain flying speed. The training will progress to
steeper hills and higher and longer flights. Where no hills are available,
towing into the air will be used.
For paragliding, training usually begins on flat ground. Your instructor
will explain how the canopy is laid out, inflated and controlled by
its brake lines. You will learn how to inflate the canopy and control
it while it is inflated. When you've become adept at ground handling,
controlling airspeed and making gentle turns, you'll probably go to
hill or get towed for flights.
In both cases, instructor may even take you up on tandem flights
to demonstrate and have you practice steering the glider and getting
you comfortable with altitude. These tandem flights can be used to
complement training or most of your course can consist of tandem flights.
In the classroom you'll cover rigging and inspection, flight theory,
meteorology and basic air regulations as they apply to hang gliding