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Interested in hang gliding? Currently learning to hang glide? Post your questions here.
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By maximilionalpha
#401421
Exactly one year ago today, I had my first hang gliding class,(which comprised of two lessons), with each lesson consisting of eight low-level ground flights using a scooter to pull me up. Within that same month, I amassed a little over 48 scooter pulled flights. Afterwards, I dropped off for several months, due to time constraints and work, but picked back up again this year, doing tandems, with both past and present air time logged into my flight logbook. I admit, this hobby does get costly and fast, because I also purchased my very first hang glider/harness/helmet and vario. But,here's my issue... even though I've had several training flights under my belt, but still haven't passed my H1 test yet, I asked about the total cost of my continued training with the cost of the H1 test thrown in and was told that it would be around $3000. Does that sound like a reasonable price to you guys, or am I maybe being taken for a ride?
By NateHallahan
#401422
For me, lessons through H2 cost about $3,000 or a little more. I haven't totaled that up though. If you mean that it will cost you $3,000 just to get to H1 that sounds pretty steep, but if that price includes all your gear that's really good. I imagine cost vary quite a bit though depending on schools/location/launching methods.

I think the long breaks between lessons won't help you because you will get rusty between lessons. I've seen it recommended that you do two lessons a week for best results. Doing 1 lesson a week worked for me with occasional gaps due to weather and obligations.

What I would recommend is to take lessons more regularly and make flight plans with your instructor(s) about what skills you will be working on specifically before the lesson. Then make sure you are actually working on those skills and getting them checked off if you get them down. If you don't get them down consistently, or your instructor thinks its not perfect keep working at it and try not to get frustrated (I struggled with this at one point, thinking my instructor was preventing me from moving on and just nit-picking but it really helped improve my skills).

Make sure your lessons are on track. If you keep on taking flights without working on something and moving on to the next task then you might just be getting taken for a ride, I hope they're fun at least.

If you are making decent progress in your lessons but hit the occasional snag where you find yourself having to pay for one-more-freaking-lesson... Do it, as long as you are getting quality lessons, you only benefit from it. It's better to have to many than two few.

Remember though, once you are done with lessons this sport is almost free!
It just has high start-up cost.

Do you feel that you are getting quality lessons? Or do you think they're just taking your money while you play with a hang glider?

(Hopefully this is coherent, it's late)
User avatar
By maximilionalpha
#401424
I've already bought my gear and hang glider earlier in the year and that, plus previous lessons costed me well over $3000 alone. My earlier quote was the price for future lessons and H1 test. Personally, I'm beginning to feel like I'm being taken for a ride and am thinking about just selling my hang glider and getting into another air sport.
By blindrodie
#401425
The rode to the sky can be a costly affair. Back in the day it was cheaper especially if one had a hill to teach them selves on! We have no real way of knowing if you are getting taken for a ride, based on the info you have provided. We can't speak for your instructor that may very well be keeping you safe, given the breaks you have admitted to in your training. No one wants to be called out after you injure or kill yourself or hurt others or damage property.

Hang gliding is not a very forgiving sport, although it's also a hugely rewarding one. Your indication to throw in the towel may also be telling. Most of us would recommend that a student does not buy a wing, harness, parachute or helmet until they have reached a competent solo performance level using their instructors gear. One learns to fly well enough to see if they can stick with it and then they find gear. You seem to have done this a different way and that's still not all bad. It does show commitment, especially to a good instructor.

It took me a few years and a lot of long drives to my instructors location before I soloed. But I was committed to free flight and nothing would stand in my way. All told I probably spent $5000 in total in order to solo. That includes travel expenses as well. I also bought my first wing and parachute (new) in order to fly on my own after I soloed. My helmet, harness and flight gear came after that. I drove an average of 7 hours to get a few truck tows in. You are way ahead of me on that stage.

So, does your situation sound reasonable? I would say yes, reasonable but not really normal. Flight parks have been known to sell full blown packages to include all the gear and flight instruction, but that's a buyer beware situation. Buyers make mistakes all the time. You need to decide whether you jumped the gun here on commitment to a sport that inherently takes a long time for some to master and a lot of time not flying to get the special reward free flight has to offer.

It's not for everyone and you should NOT feel bad about getting out of the sport if it's not for you. Good luck.

8)
User avatar
By mtpilot
#401426
I am bummed out for you. It is too expensive, and there are a lot of barriers for various reasons. We are all worried about
the other guy crashing and loosing sites. Consider the risk your instructor takes in towing you up solo. I am guessing you
live in the flatlands where there are no training hills. This is a dying sport for the very reasons you mention but the cost
of entry is not simply dollars, time and equipment. Only you know if it's right for you. A more practical solution would
be a training hill and observer near you. These are hard to find. To be honest we all went through the hassles, frustrations
and joy of training. Good luck, and fly safe whatever your choice.
User avatar
By DAVE 858
#401427
There are a lot of guys out there trying to make a living at teaching hang gliding and its tough. Actually, I would venture to say that its damn near impossible, especially now a days. Instructors have to invest a lot of time and their own money into their training program and when you factor in everything like time and mileage and maintenance on equipment and vehicles it comes out to a lot of $$$$. Bottom line for you as the student is that its going to cost you to get into this sport. You can either afford it or you can't. Oh, & $3000 is not a lot of money when it comes to hang gliding or aviation as a whole for that matter. My instructor made me buy all my gear from him new. Thats glider harness parachute vario helmet and radio plus the cost of lessons, it was a lot of money, but I considered it like an investment. That investment has paid HUGE dividends and continues to do so.

My advise to you is to quit bitching about how much it costs and finish the program. Then you can come on here and b---- about USHPA with the rest of us. Good luck!
User avatar
By dbotos
#401428
How much are they charging you for each 8-flight scooter lesson? Where I've been going, it's $125 for the first lesson and ~$100 each lesson after that. Plus you can buy lessons in blocks or in a package to make them even cheaper.

I took my first lesson in July 2016 and did my last scooter towing in October of this year (2017), with a total count of 14 scooter tow lessons (roughly one per month - which actually included a 3-month dry spell from January-March, but I doubled up some other months to make up for that)(I got my H1 in December of last year after 5 lessons). So about $1400 worth of scooter tow lessons. I did my first truck tows on Sunday, which has a little different cost structure (you pay per tow + I rented a stirrup harness with parachute since I don't own a full harness)(you can get cheaper cost per tow if you buy a package of several). I am on the cusp of H2, so it seems feasible that my training costs will be around the $2,000 mark or under by the time I earn that rating. I also did two dune lessons this summer with Kitty Hawk Kites to get some foot launch practice, so that was a little more money there.

My advice:

1. If you're not doing so already, take notes during your lessons and review them afterwards. This will give you a good handle on things you need to work on in the next lesson, maybe do some reading about, and it also lets you see your incremental progress. I remember being mildly frustrated about a perceived lack of progress when I was doing my H1 training, but when I look back at the lesson notes I took, I can see where I was learning and working on the little things that my instructor wanted to see consistency on before letting me move up to the next level.

2. Network with local pilots. They can probably give you good perspective on your situation with your instructor and the costs of training in your area.

3. Shop around. If you feel like you're getting ripped off, look at other options. It may be cheaper to load up your glider and go somewhere for a week than to keep paying what you're paying. Kitty Hawk's Morningside Flight Park is about 5 hours North of you, Blue Sky (near Richmond, VA where I've been training) is about 5.5 hours South, and Lookout Mountain about 12 hours away in Georgia. There's also Wallaby Ranch and Quest outside of Orlando if you want to be a snowbird and go do some aerotowing.

Don't give up - the perseverance in training will pay off. :thumbsup:
User avatar
By Love2Glide
#401430
Not all students and instructors are compatible, even if the instructor is highly qualified and professional. In my private pilot training, some instructors were more value added than others...I went with the ones that were a good fit for me. If you feel like you're not getting what you need, then it's in your best interest to find another instructor or school.

If you can travel and take a two week vacation, go somewhere like Andy Jackson Air Park or Point of the Mountain and hire a local instructor. Train and fly every day possible. In two weeks in the summer, you'd get more flights and air time than in a year on the east coast.
By joshuajneufeld
#401433
3000 is reasonable. but so is $1500.
It all depends on how well you take to the sport.
I didn't have any hiccups on my H1 and it cost me 2000g for training

Some instructors are better suited to your ability and fitness levels and will see that and let you progress faster. Others have a "in concrete" sorta plan for their students.

Some people are just batshit crazy. Trust your gut when dealing with people. Try somewhere else. Just because they have been running a flight park or school doesn't mean that they are the best FOR YOU! They may have a chip on their shoulder for how long they have been around. People like that are just like that no matter what sport they are in.

I just tried to buy safety equipment from cowboyuphanggliding in texas. The lady didn't like me, refused to sell a parachute to me because i didn't know people she knew. Odd, crazy, not doing business there anymore. So I call someone else up, no biggy.
User avatar
By maximilionalpha
#401435
Thanks to everyone for your advice/opinions on the matter! I admit that I do love hang gliding and the freedom of flight that inevitably comes with it. I am just in a funk about things right now and am just ranting, I guess. I'll see what I decide to do come this spring.
User avatar
By mgforbes
#401441
joshuajneufeld wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:41 pm
I just tried to buy safety equipment from cowboyuphanggliding in texas. The lady didn't like me, refused to sell a parachute to me because i didn't know people she knew. Odd, crazy, not doing business there anymore. So I call someone else up, no biggy.

I don't know what sort of red flag you must have raised with Tiki, but there had to have been something more than just
you not knowing the same people she does. I've known Tiki for 20 years or so, ever since she was working at Wallaby,
and she's a straight shooter. If she didn't want to sell equipment to you, there was a reason. Now, maybe it's a simple
misunderstanding, but she's definitely not crazy. Tiki's not shy about voicing her opinion (and I ought to know, having
been in some lengthy debates with her at the BOD meetings) but she's a thoughtful, extremely competent pilot
and instructor. She and Bart turn out well trained pilots from their school, and she's somebody I'd absolutely trust if I was
recommending an instructor in Texas.

BTW....I just looked, and I don't see you in the USHPA membership database. Are you a member?

MGF
User avatar
By Jakub
#401445
It's dying sport in here in Europe where I came from. There's literally 52 active pilots in my country.
I paid around 350 usd for the training as the instructors do it to keep the sport alive..
By blindrodie
#401446
I don't know what sort of red flag you must have raised with Tiki, but there had to have been something more than just you not knowing the same people she does.
I'm going to second this re"mark"! So are you a member? :popcorn:

8)
By kan-glider
#401459
joshuajneufeld wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:41 pm

I just tried to buy safety equipment from cowboyuphanggliding in texas. The lady didn't like me, refused to sell a parachute to me because i didn't know people she knew. Odd, crazy, not doing business there anymore. So I call someone else up, no biggy.
I've had an excellent experience in buying a good used parachute from the folks at Cowboy Up; good advice, good price, good service, quick delivery, and I received the chute exactly as she described and in the condition she described. What's not to like?

Doug
By joshuajneufeld
#401463
blindrodie wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:50 am
I don't know what sort of red flag you must have raised with Tiki, but there had to have been something more than just you not knowing the same people she does.

I am not a member. And rightly so as I'm not in America. Hence trying to buy using this website.

Honestly... I promptly paid for a piece of safety equipment she said she was willing to ship and use online transfer. She either didn't like my form of payment or didn't think I was qualified enough to have a quality parachute. I read the online ad, I was happy with the product and knew what I was buying. She said i didn't. She wanted to know if I knew __?__ Muller. I'm thinking to myself... "maybe she's talking about Muller Windsports (but I don't know those guys personally besides e-mailing them about their glider stock). Then she wants me to trouble other pilots to vouch for me to buy the parachute. :surrender: Never have I been given such a runaround over a piece of safety equipment that I had already delivered money for. So now I have to cancel the paypal money transfer because she didn't like how fast I was willing to pay for something to keep me safe. If this sounds odd to you... it felt crazy to me.

If I was in the business of selling helmets to bike riders, it wouldn't matter to me how you intend to ride your bike, just that you wear the damn helmet.
User avatar
By mgforbes
#401464
joshuajneufeld wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:32 pm

I am not a member. And rightly so as I'm not in America. Hence trying to buy using this website.
[...] Then she wants me to trouble other pilots to vouch for me to buy the parachute.
Ahhh....I'm starting to see the problem. Tiki is diligent and thorough, and she's not going to sell you
equipment unless she knows it's appropriate for your skill level. She'd rather miss a sale than sell
gear to someone who's not qualified to use it safely. I took a quick look at the HPAC current member
list, and I don't see your name there either. Since she doesn't know you or your skills personally,
she (reasonably IMHO) asked for names of pilots you know, who can vouch for your skills. If you're
not a current, rated member of either HPAC or USHPA, then I'm not surprised at all that she'd
decline to sell you equipment. If your answers seemed at all evasive or reluctant, that's a red flag.

As you say, there are others who will sell you gear without asking any questions. Tiki isn't one
of those people. I wish more dealers and instructors followed her example.

MGF
By joshuajneufeld
#401466
I understand that for a wing. Not a chute. This, in my opinion, is being ornery. No worries though. I get to support the local club. Which I would have done anyway, they just hadn't advertised the equipment I needed to prepare for next year.

And I am a new pilot fresh out of flight school (one who needs to replace already stolen gear). But I know people, and I just don't have time for this kind of attitude. It slows down an already struggling sport. I'd like to say everyone out there is awesome and wants to help. But if you had better experiences other places, now you can tell the difference.
User avatar
By wilburleft
#401499
maximilionalpha wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:03 am
Exactly one year ago today, I had my first hang gliding class,(which comprised of two lessons), with each lesson consisting of eight low-level ground flights using a scooter to pull me up. Within that same month, I amassed a little over 48 scooter pulled flights. Afterwards, I dropped off for several months, due to time constraints and work, but picked back up again this year, doing tandems, with both past and present air time logged into my flight logbook. I admit, this hobby does get costly and fast, because I also purchased my very first hang glider/harness/helmet and vario. But,here's my issue... even though I've had several training flights under my belt, but still haven't passed my H1 test yet, I asked about the total cost of my continued training with the cost of the H1 test thrown in and was told that it would be around $3000. Does that sound like a reasonable price to you guys, or am I maybe being taken for a ride?
Lookout Mtn Flight Park offers a "Mountain Package" for $699. I would imagine that would include your hang 1 and 2 tests. There are no tandems or scooter tows included. It's all training hill flights, and then 3 mtn flights. That's all you need to be on your way. After that, the more experienced pilots will mentor you while you gain experience, confidence and judgement.

I did the mountain package in 1982. Did it in November. Had the instructor all to myself for 4 training hill days in one week, and off the mountain the last day. I was very lucky with the instructor, the timing and the weather. If you can get a week off to dedicate to training in the slow season, and the weather is good, I think chances are good you could be off the mountain solo. You've already got all the gear. Hook it up and get you some! Your first ridge soaring flight will blow you away.
User avatar
By entelin
#401550
I would second everything people said above, and add these two thoughts:

1. Get your training done and solo. Then keep flying, get serious for awhile and fly as much as you can. Let it get into your bones. The more you fly the less you will lose after periods of not flying. True for any activity, but common advice in aviation. There's a fear factor with aviation that isn't present with other things (like riding a bike), so long breaks and uncertainty can creep in and cause you to not fly because you haven't flown, until you stop completely.

2. Consider where and how you will be flying after instruction. Is your current instructor's operation where you will be towing up? Would stopping lessons with him effect your future relationship? It's worth considering this if your main site is not going to be a mountain you can just fly off of.

The prices you gave seem high, but that's going to depend on how frequently you train. If you started, but quit before soloing and then came back months later, that earlier experience isn't going to be worth much.
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