Interested in hang gliding? Currently learning to hang glide? Post your questions here.
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By TjW
What specific things does your instructor want you to do better before you do a high solo / he signs off on your H2?
I use advancing up the hill as a carrot, because that's generally what people want to do. But I'll also tell them what I need to see before that happens: "I need to see active directional control." Or a better takeoff or landing. Or whatever.
There's a certain necessity for repetition to get the muscle memory down, but if it's all repetition, and there's nothing specific he's asking you to improve, then maybe you should ask him what he's expecting. If he can't say, then maybe you should find someone else to work with.
If he's specific about something, then... some people just learn physical skills slower than others. I'm one of them. I was always last to be picked for team sports as a kid.

User avatar
By AFmike
On a somewhat related (initial purchases and dealers/instructors) topic: I want to know if purchasing a glider through the instructor you are currently working with is "expected"? Is it reasonable to shop around to see if other dealers will offer a better price, or would that be considered poor form?

It seems like shopping around would be totally expected except that I kinda expect to order new from WW, and there are several dealers reasonably close, but if I am going to totally alienate the instructor I'm with now, that could suck! I don't feel like there are that many instructor options in the Sacramento area, and this guy is working out pretty well.

Any insights would be appreciated - new (HG) pilot, first forum post. Just trying to learn the ropes, the flying's coming along great!

By blindrodie
I feel that you should always support your local dealer, but not just because they are your instructor. Your local dealer
may not have the best price, based on how many wings they sell each year, BUT they will be the person that you will or SHOULD turn to for getting parts ordered, helping or doing the repairs for you and so on (as far as WillsWing goes).

If you want to buy another brand of wing that is not sold by your instructor/dealer you need to talk this out as more then likely you will still need local help and support in order to enjoy your new sport and do so in a safe and fun manner. I help
my clients buy new and used wings. But I also don't try to make a living selling hang gliders, as others do. YMMV!

Best of luck and fly safe.

By cheesehead
Most instructors WILL be offended if you don't buy equipment from them. If you like your instructor, at least tell him whose other gliders you've considered and see if he can adequately match his competition. Instructors make very little money (that's why so many, including me, give up on the profession) and their worst profit margin is in teaching. With far less effort, they make better money from equipment sales. Many years ago when I was teaching, the typical MSRP for a hang glider was only 30% above dealer cost. Not so sure what it was for the accessories, but probably not a lot better. That's terrible, and it probably hasn't changed much!
RE: your instruction experience. Something sounds wrong. If you have had that much instruction, and it's cost you that much, either you're a pretty slow learner or your instructor is doing something wrong. The earlier post about Lookout's $699 H2 package sounds much more reasonable--and if taught properly with normal progress, no tandems or towing are needed to transition to mountain flying from the training hill or from H1 to H2. I personally had 4 training hills and two tandems before getting my H2 and flying off the mountain at Henson Gap, TN.
User avatar
By AFmike

That's exactly the feedback I'm looking for! Thank you.

As far as the instruction, my experience has been similar to yours; I have had 5 lessons so far and the first was VERY intro, all but one was from a pretty small hill here (it's all he has) except the tow lesson, which was only 2 flights. I have picked everything up quick, but at this point I don't have anything signed off, and I am going to have to ask my instructor specifically about that soon. I figure after a trip back to the hill today, it sounds like the rest of the lessons will be at the tow site, and that should allow longer flights, and hopefully more of them. FWIW - a 5-lesson package here costs $650 and I'm hoping to get H2 signed off before completing a second package (6 more lessons).

User avatar
By magicpotato
When I was learning, I wanted to buy all my gear from my school because they did such an excellent job, and I was happy to patronize them. In hindsight, I could have gotten a better deal, but I was happy with the support I was getting.

I have met instructors that are actually bad and even though they are local to where I moved, I would only buy from them if it was a significant inconvenience to buy from my trusted dealer many miles away. My bottom line: I won't support mediocrity for the same reason I won't tip if my coffee didn't come out right.

Now, if you're in the middle of nowhere with no other instructors around, it may be best to patronize them, learn the most you can, and seek instruction elsewhere where you are having difficulty when you can. Furthermore, if you go behind their back and buy from their competition, you may be best going and learning from said competitor to avoid future awkward lessons. Sometimes mediocrity is better than nothing, if no other options are available.

Lastly, as far as the training itself goes, have your instructor wirte up the EXACT skills he wants you to achieve (e.g. effective weight shift, 90 deg turns, smooth moonwalk landings, etc.) for H1 and H2. Have him or her sign off this list as you progress and once you have everything checked off, you'll have your ratings! This is a must not only for you, but also your instructor to track your progress and tell them what you need to work on over the long term, not just what he thinks you need to do based on how you're flying that particular day.

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