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By MikeyHG
I want to do hill training at Lookout Mountain and one thing that I do not get is how a student is able to build enough in air skill to do a mountain launch. Is flying the glider the easiest part but launching and takeoff the most difficult and those are the skills the student develops the most by training on the hill?

I'm over the limit for tandem so all my training will be done on the hills.

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By remmoore
In general, there's no difference between the two. The only differences would be in the specifics of the terrain relative to either launch. I guess you could have altitude air density differences, depending on altitude of the hill or mountain, but that's still site-specific.

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By flybop
The training hill flights will be very short and very low. Your first flights in a hang glider will last a few seconds, be a few feet off the ground and will change your life. The focus there will be on strong launches and landings. As you move up the hill your flights will be longer and higher. Eventually you will be high enough to make linked turns. Even those flights will be closer to seconds in length than minutes.

So, you are correct in that there will be very little accumulated airtime when you will be ready for the first mountain launch. You will have many training hill launches though.Those first mountain launches will be in very light conditions and the goal will be to fly out to the lz and land. From there you will begin on air work.

Then it will happen: You will experience your first soaring flight. This truly is an incredible experience that you will never forget.

Good luck with your training and keep us posted.
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By Love2Glide
I did all my training on the hills, then went to the mountain with no tandems.

By the time you go to the mountain, you will have confidence in your launch and flying abilities and so will your instructors. Both the small and big hill will give you sufficient practice with launching, turns to heading, speed control, final approach, and flair. These are identical to what you'll do on the mountain.

The only real difference will be the descent and approach to the LZ - these are things you just can't do on the training hills. You must come over the field, descend, enter the pattern, and land. Your instructor will coach you (and may do radio to you in flight) and the LZ is huge and very forgiving. The turns to heading, speed control, and final approach you learned on the hills will all come into play and you are thoroughly prepared!

For speed control at altitude must rely on sound and feel since you lose the ground reference for speed....but you train for that too on the hills.

You'll do great!
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By Dave Gills
You will experience launching at the upper & lower limits of wind speed for a H2 as well as the limits for crossing wind at the training hill.

Your first mountain launch will be under ideal conditions and very well supervised.
You would have to do something wrong in order to have problems.

Under more challenging launch circumstance you must not only do nothing wrong, but react properly to instantaneous changes in wind conditions correctly.

30 feet off the ground is high enough to do you in on the training hill.
3000 feet off the ground looks more intimidating but is safer.

Learn all you can about what a safe launch window is and how to predict it even though you will not have to hit a window in any of your early flights.
By Fletcher
Like flybop said
Then it will happen: You will experience your first soaring flight. This truly is an incredible experience that you will never forget.

Your instructors are there to help you through the hurdles and they will.

I can't stress this enough.
Learn to launch and land until it becomes second nature !!
You'll be VERY glad you did.

Don't forget to enjoy the learning experience because it last's a lifetime.
Keep us posted on your progress
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By Ground Slammer
The training hill has a near perfect launch-the mountain is what it is so you gotta have good launching skills. Like everyone tells you get that launch like second nature. Let others pick your conditions and what mountain to start with. The only thing that will be a problems is airspeed-we all tend to fly a bit fast on that first mountain flight-some notice in flight and slow down. If you do you may feel a bump up at some point, just slow to sink speed-- and if you feel like calm or sink, go to best glide. My first mountain was Crystal- I did that slow and speed up, and I was shocked when I had to look way down to find launch :shock:
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By DMarley
I trained and earned my H2 rating at LMFP as well. However, I had three tandem aerotows before my first mountain launch. Read as much as you can about launching and landing, and of course the flying itself.
Keep your nose down on launch and run as far as you can to build up energy. Do not lift off with only a couple steps (on a flat sloped launch). Keep that nose down!
Landings: be sure you have more airspeed than you think you need. Most students are too afraid to aim at the ground and try to float in, most of the time with bad flaring results. Always pull in and gain plenty of airspeed, rotate just above the deck, ground-skim to bleed off speed, then flare a second after when the pitch control feels loose. Read Jim Rooney's instructions for landing. His is the best, at least it was for me. Following Jim's advise, my very first landing from launch on top of the small training hill was a near-perfect no-step landing and it freaked-out my instructor. Nearly every landing after that was the same.
Drill launching and landing techniques into your head, and visualize these as much as possibly just before your flights as well as off the field.

Get with Mike Barby and review with him the correct LZ box and approach patterns. He can be a bit stern at times, but don't let that sway you. He is there to help you. Ask questions until you are sure you understand everything. Willy (Bill) Vaughn is also a very good instructor to ask questions. Ask every instructor you see to get their gist on what you need to do.
Find some LMFP approaches on YouTube and study those. Some are good approaches, some are bad! Also, get on Google Earth and look at the LZ from varying heights and approaches to familiarize yourself. When at a new flying site, I always consult Google Earth first, and print the LZ site and mark it up with hazards like overhead utilities, fences, structures, etc. Then talk to the locals.

That cliff launch looks very intimidating with having only experience launching at the big hill. As everyone will tell you, the cliff launch is much easier than the big hill launch when conditions are correct for your skill. Just relax, keep wings level, and keep that nose down! Don't pop your nose up!
As Mike B. says.... Enjoy your flight!
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By DMarley
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.

Landing gracefully:
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:
Willy Vaughn
Scott Schneider (Paint2fly)
Gordon (older, pony-tailed gentleman)
Mike Barbee

Hope this helps.
By MikeyHG
Wow! Thanks for all the great information.

I will definitely start my training around late August-September. As you said, I want to avoid the crowds and the heat. I'm in Atlanta and know how bad the humidity and heat can get during the summer months. I want to stay for 2-3 weeks and just learn and fly. I've started doing some physical training to get ready and just to get in better shape. I want to lose some fat before i get started. I'm doing a sprint based interval workout on grass trying to increase my anaerobic ability and my muscular endurance. I've also bee doing some slower runs balancing a 45lb barbell bar. The only other workouts i've been doing are kettlebells and some yoga.

I want to come ready for the hills not just physically but mentally and with a little bit of the fundamentals in my head.
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By DMarley
Don't over do your training as you get started into it. DON'T INJURE YOURSELF like I did just before I planned to go to LMFP! I was planning to go in the spring, and sprained my ankle running up and down the local mountains. Luckily, I was back in shape by the time late October came around and was good to go.

Concentrate on training your brain as well. Read and understand as much as you possibly can about launching, landing, and beginner-level flying... this will most likely help you just as much if not more than physical training. Once you graduate from the hills, the physical part will not be such a big priority, but it can't hurt. What WILL be very important and crucial is your understanding of HG flight. Even if you don't completely understand the mechanics before your first hill flight, that information gleaned from your previous reading will 'click' and will enable you to grasp HG flight quicker than most other students, saving you dollars, time, and bruises, as well as making it way too much fun.
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By red
MikeyHG wrote:Is flying the glider the easiest part but launching and takeoff the most difficult and those are the skills the student develops the most by training on the hill?
I'm over the limit for tandem so all my training will be done on the hills.

Yep, flying is the easy part. The hardest part is knowing when to put the glider back on the truck, and drive back down the mountain. 8)

The tandem weight limit is the total pilots' weight, not just your weight. You just need a smaller instructor, that's all.

By MikeyHG
I will try not to overdo the training and get injured. For all sprinting, I'm sticking to grass so that I don't have to deal with a hard impact. i want to get fit for other stuff beside hang gliding hill training as well.
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By DMarley
Look up Jason Thomasson - he's a tandem aerotowing instructor at LMFP, and he's a relatively light guy. He may be able to get you up towing. When I was at LMFP there were no female (read "lighter weight") tandem aerotowing instructors. That may have changed since then.
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By flysurfski
DMarley wrote: 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.
I admit I have been one of the pilots along with many other really experienced pilots on this forum. That being said stick with Tall Paul when you are there and you will be fine. Super nice guy and great instructor. He taught a blind guy to fly at Kitty Hawk Kites just on feeling the bar pressure.... :mosh: :mosh: :mosh:
Scot Schneider is an awesome instructor at LMFP. Say "hi" to him for me when you get there.

I trained there for 2 weeks back in the summer of 2015 and kept a daily blog of it. I expect that my experience was fairly typical, so reading through it may give you an idea of what to expect.
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By DMarley
I enjoyed reading your training account, Robert. LOL. Great chronicle of learning to fly!

Now we fly at Big Walker Mountain, Va, among other places. What a hoot. Talk about a big, fun LZ! It's an amusement park country club for hang gliders!

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By RobertKesselring
MikeyHG wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:40 am
I will try not to overdo the training and get injured. For all sprinting, I'm sticking to grass so that I don't have to deal with a hard impact. i want to get fit for other stuff beside hang gliding hill training as well.
Do lots of squats.
You'll be squatting a 50 - 60 lb glider 4 or 5 times per training flight, 10 or more flights per day, so, 50 ish times per training session. I was more sore than any other time in my life before or since.
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By TomGalvin
MikeyHG wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:40 am
For all sprinting, I'm sticking to grass so that I don't have to deal with a hard impact.
You do not sprint when launching a hang glider. It should be a smooth acceleration, not a jack rabbit start. Walk, Jog, Run is the common phrase. It helps avoid stalling the glider and injuring the pilot. It also reduces the chance of a pulled hamstring during training.
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By DMarley
Tom, no one is telling Mike that he needs to start in a full-on, jack-off-rabbit racing sprint off the training hills, or any other launch for that matter. The sprint training is merely a tool to help tune his proprioception and his leg and back muscles so that he can negotiate the training hills more easily and help avoid injury.

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