To continue... I wanted to avoid the crowds during the summer months, and chose to begin my training at LMFP in late October (one week) and came back for another week to achieve my H2 rating in late November. Perfect weather conditions - stable air, only a handful of students on the training hills and mountain launch, and plenty of instructors, plenty of inexpensive on-site accommodations to choose from, and a nice, small grouping of very experienced pilots to talk to and learn from. On-site accommodations are less expensive during fall and winter as well. I've heard that the summer months are the most crowded and can be somewhat more difficult to get face time with your instructors.
The temperatures and humidity are very tolerable during the fall. Summer temps can be a killer. You are going to WORK on the hills. Before you embark on your training, be sure your legs are up to the challenge. Train those legs for a good month before you go. Do hill sprints, squats, stretching, etc. Be strong and flexible and it will make your training so much more enjoyable, efficient and cost-effective.
If you're not flying or studying, get your butt up to the launch and just listen in to pilots' conversations and weather observations. You'll learn a lot.
Flying hang gliders is serious business, just like flying any other aircraft. Do yourself a big favor and be diligent about your studies. Too many students take flying HG as 'fun and games.' It's not.
The book/manual that LMFP sells is OK (authors Chaney / Tabor), but also read Dennis Pagan's books; and there is a lot of good info on the web.
Launching-- The most important phase of flying an HG:
https://www.ushpa.org/page/safe-hang-gl ... ches-redux
http://ozreport.com/forum/viewtopic.php ... 24180c04c8
Always pay strict attention to your launch. Do not just waltz through it to get to the flying phase. Treat your launch like that is the only thing that matters at the moment.
http://www.hanggliding.org/wiki/How_to_ ... ang_glider
Everything in between: Don't cross control! Coordinated turns are king most of the time. RELAX!
Willy gave me the best advise about keeping my nose from popping on launch. This was after my second cliff launch where I was told by Mike that I had popped a bit. Willy told me to continue a grapevine hold on the downtubes until completely away from launch. This light-gripped hold merely slides down the DT's as the glider lifts, then while in flight you are ready to transition to either a bottle grip or control bar position . This advise helped immeasurably. This grapevine hold acts as an efficient fulcrum even after the glider lifts off your shoulders, allowing you to maintain the proper angle of attack.
You'll hear some pilots try to diminish LMFP abilities to instruct new pilots. Matt Tabor's reputation precedes him, and much of it isn't too positive. Yet, my experience of his flight park is very positive, though keep an open mind about how one remains in business in a shrinking industry and you should do fine around him. He's a great guy to talk to, but don't go rushing to purchase the first glider he offers to sell to you. Saying that, he's done a very good job of making sure his instructors are all on the same page. They WILL NOT LET YOU FLY off the mountain until they are absolutely positive you are ready. You should have the same mind-set. Be sure you are ready and ask as many questions as you can to as many instructors as you can, even if you seem to be repeating yourself.
Before you embark on your training mission, PLEASE find a local HG club, hook up with a mentor, get to know your local pilots. LMFP is not a club. It's a business. A good business. And a great facility to learn to fly HGs.
Your mentors and local pilots (from a real HG club) will steer you to the best gear deals and good advise all the way around. Usually.
Instructors to look for:
Scott Schneider (Paint2fly)
Gordon (older, pony-tailed gentleman)
Hope this helps.