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By Lucky_Chevy
What do you guys fly in. For me it's an old pair of jeans, a tee shirt, and speed sleeves. Jeans are fairly comfortable and offer a bit of protection but it's important to put everything in the back pockets before flying. When flying XC I generally pack some shorts and a fresh shirt to change into after packing up. It seems that every time I try to fly in shorts I botch a landing and skin my knees.

I watched some of our female pilots fly in yoga pants and thought "damn, that looks comfortable". So, what do you wear when you fly? (Let's assume it's normal summer weather and not winter flying)


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By remmoore
I'm probably a bit quirky when it comes to HG clothes - I certainly am amid my group of flying buddies. I have a stuff bag for all my flying tools and accessories, but the vast majority of it is taken up by my flying clothes.

I nearly always wear shorts to the flying site, but have sweatpants or thin cotton sheeting pants depending on temperatures. I pull them on over the shorts, so I can take them off in the LZ. I never fly in shorts, simply because I can't stand the feeling of nylon harness against my bare skin.

I have a snug-fitting zip-up sweathshirt - the snug fit keeps the sleeves from flapping, so no need for speed-sleeves. I also have another set of sweatshirt sleeves - a sweatshirt I cut most of the torso away from. There's just a strip of fabric across the back to hold the sleeves together. I can wear this under my sweatshirt for additional arm warmth, or by themselves if I don't want further insulation of my torso. Lastly, I have a zip-up nylon speed sleeve which I can wear over just a shirt if it's a hot day.

The obsession continues - I have a half-dozen different pair of flying gloves. From lightweight cotton for the warmest days ( I never fly without gloves) to heavy ski gloves for winter or high-alt soaring. I'm always on the lookout for a better glove, so I sometimes have to remove a pair to make way for another set which I like better.

I have two fold-up hats. One is a wide-brimmed model which I often wear while setting up. the other is a visor with a back flap to keep the sun off my neck. The visor usually ends up in my harness, because it doubles as a sweatband in hot LZ's.

I even have a pair of HG-specific flying shoes. My Vulto harness doesn't allow for just any footwear, so I found a specific shoe which works well. Thin-soled and constructed without a lot of protrusions to take up room in the harness boot, I only wear these shoes while actually flying. I put them on at launch and take them off once my truck shows up wherever I land. They were hard to find so I don't want to wear them out with supplemental use.

The only thing I don't keep in the bag is my heavy winter flying jacket. Living in California, I don't need it that often so no need to enlarge the bag in order to contain it. I'm able to use a 12"x12"x18" duffle bag, with 3 zippered pockets for all my gear.

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By DAVE 858
It depends on the season. I wear board shorts a lot and have had issues getting them stuck in the zipper.
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By raquo
Yep, wearing not-very-loose sweat pants, the male equivalent of yoga pants. Don't care if I look like a hobo, it's too comfy and doesn't get in the zipper.
By thermaleo
Surely this depends on where and when you are flying. But here's some things I've learned in 35 years of flying hang gliders.

It's better to be too warm than too cold. Too warm is unpleasant. Too cold is dangerous. It might have been cooking on launch, so you only wore three light layers, but now you are at 17,000ft and you are freezing, two miles above the ground, on a great day....

If you take off with cold hands, they probably won't warm up. It's no fun landing with frozen hands.

Cold noses suck too. It's hard to concentrate when you are wondering how you will look when your nose gets frost bitten off.

When you blow a launch or a landing, you might be glad your skin is protected by gloves, a few layers of clothes, long pants. Even the thickness of one item of clothing can significantly decrease the chance of broken bones, not to speak of cuts, punctures, scrapes, contusions etc. If you'd been wearing some decent pants those sharp rocks wouldn't have rubbed that cowshit so deeply into your flesh. Not many folks fly in shorts in the rocky West for long.

The most expensive streamlined control frame might get you an extra point of glide. What's your baggy flapping jacket worth in glide points?

Leo Jones
By Goonie
Pantyhose - best warmth to weight ratio. No one will know you have them on if you keep your pants on.
By bickford frederick
I prefer natural fiber on my skin. Cotton t-shirt and jeans and a light jacket usually. Layers for high ground temperature and high cbl. Some companies have been manufacturing antimacrobial synthetic but it still gets stinky over time in my experience. Ideally start with silk, cotton, wool and a breathable type synthetic like goretex wind blocking exterior. Most of my life I’ve been outdoors and have worked in temps from -50F(no wind) to 120 F. Dry = warm!
By Lazypilot
In the early '80's a few of us Crestline flyers flew without any clothes at all.

The nudist ranch in Devore would give free admission to any hang glider pilot that landed in their field. They also had a cash prize for a target landing, but the field was in the lee of a hill and there was plenty of carnage and tubage, so we didn't pursue it for long.

It was fun walking my glider from set-up to launch naked. The wuffos thought it was hilarious.

Randy Novak, flying a Bill Bennett Lazor, came up short and landed in the median of the 15 freeway, au naturel. I think he quit flying right after that.

The nudists were cool people. I think that I was a little worried that I might show some reaction to being naked around other naked people, but anxiety works in reverse of Viagra, as many guys well know.

Shooting pool naked is a lot of fun, try it sometime.
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By TjW
What I learned from that experience is that some people should wear clothes.
It should be noted that the nudist ranch sponsored a spot-landing contest on the weekends, with cash prizes.
The cash prize doubled if you landed nude. After landing, you had access to the hot tub and swimming pool, but that was nude only.
Randy Lehfeldt had a pair of shorts that velcroed down the sides so he could launch clothed and land naked.
The power lines on the approach end of the LZ worried me more than the turbulence. Chris Armenta made an approach that went under them, so I'm told.
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By Lucky_Chevy
Nude hang gliding sounds uncomfortable on a lot of levels. You would have to watch out for the zipper and would feel every lump and bump of the harness.

As others had mentioned it's marginally better to be too warm than too cold. At Big Spring the temperatures on the ground were easily over 100F on the pavement. At cloud base the temperature was around 45F. (I can't wait to fly there again this August). After the first day I was carrying an extra layer and heavier gloves.

The winter layoff is killing me. I've updated my vario, repacked my reserve, and have been weighing the merits of getting a new mylar sail for my trusty U2. Another couple of weeks and I will head to Florida for an extended weekend to get some airtime before I snap.
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By remmoore
Sometimes it's about figuring out what temps you're going to be at the most often during a flight - then choosing accordingly. At Mt. Saint John in NorCal, getting high over the mountain means one might want to bundle up. After leaving for XC and getting over the flats, however, one can spend a lot of time at lower altitudes in warm/hot temps. I typically am willing to be a bit cooler for the first half-hour and much more comfortable during the (hopefully) long XC flight in those conditions.
Lucky_Chevy wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:08 pm
I've updated my vario...
Oooh - new toy! What did you get?

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By Lucky_Chevy
I've had a Digifly Air for about a year new but didn't really take the time to set it up properly before. I've updated it to the latest firmware, created airspace, waypoint and topo maps for the areas that I fly, and generally read the manual and practiced with the instrument by riding around with it on my bike.

My eyesight was slowing me down a bit. I'm turning 50 this year and have just reached the point where I need reading glasses to see fine print. I got a pair of sunglasses with reading glasses built in and can now read the detailed information on the vario. I think they are going to be a big help.

The Digifly is far more versatile than my 6030. (No knock on the 6030, its a solid instrument but is getting a bit dated.) The Digifly pages can be user customized and change themselves based on whether you are thermalling or gliding, whether you are inside/outside the start cylinder or on final glide. The best part is that the instrument is software driven so features can be added or fine tuned over time.

The transition has taken longer than it should have. So much information is being presented that it can be overwhelming at first. I still prefer the big arrow to the next waypoint that the 6030 gives me. So, I'm going to continue to fly with both instruments for a while longer.
By Lazypilot
At Crestline here in Southern California we have been blessed with year-round soarable conditions, and yet as we all know all too well, the Devil demands his due, and so we pay him back by accepting a persistent Inversion Layer, an atmospheric thing that stops the thermals from going any higher than the inversion.

Yes sometimes you can catch a thermal that forms from a point higher than the inversion, I have fond memories of launching from above the inversion and ridge soaring over to Rock'n'Roll corner and finding thermal lift that took me to 8K, a good 4K above an unusually low inversion. Most typically the inversion is found anywhere from around 4.5K to 8K, in my admittedly low experience level with it.

But back to clothing: I always got a kick watching pilots from out of town getting all dressed up for getting high, while I tried to tell them that shorts and a t-shirt would generally suffice. I always felt sorry for them, as I sat fat dumb and happy cruising the layer at 6500 and them down there, scratching in 90 degrees on lower Marshal sweating in their 18K suits. Oh well, I tried to tell 'em.

So anyway it's actually kinda nice going flying and not having to get all dressed up and nowhere to go.

Reminds me of a song from too long ago---"Oh that magic feeling! Nowhere to go, Nowhere to go!"
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By Lucky_Chevy
East coast flying is a lot different. Generally the conditions are challenging to say the least.

Flying at a flight park is a different way of life from mountain flying. The chances of staying up aren't nearly as good but you can have multiple attempts which are always chances to practice approaches and landings. Most days at Blue Sky in Richmond VA are truck towing only since the isn't a full time pilot to fly the tug. (I'm very greatful to our volunteer pilot when she can make it)

Being able to sky out while others are trying and landing is a guilty pleasure which I haven't enjoyed all that often. It generally takes a combination of great skill, great luck, and great wing loading. All I have going for me is luck.

If you want to improve your chances of soaring it helps if you make a sacrifice. Fly in a tee shirt and leave your gloves behind and your chances of soaring improve. If you try to take a quick sledder before packing it up for the day so you can make it to your daughter's birthday party...and fly with no gear and a full bladder you're almost guaranteed to have to core sink to get back down.
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By Takeo77
My wife flies in yoga gear to minimize the chafing from her cocoon harness. When I flew a pod it was mostly shorts and a sweater (being in the pod would keep my legs warm) This year I converted to a Cocoon harness and I am currently using my old Air Force PT gear. Very warm and an effective wind breaker (plus I'm retired, so showing my colors is not a bad thing)
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By Everard
Lucky_Chevy wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:35 pm
When flying XC I generally pack some shorts and a fresh shirt to change into after packing up. It seems that every time I try to fly in shorts I botch a landing and skin my knees.
I fly in long pants (trousers, we call 'em here in England) with zip-off (and zip-on) legs. When I fly in shorts (that is, legs zipped off) I wear mountain bike knee pads, having learned that lesson the hard way.
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By Lucky_Chevy
I've never worn knee pads but I that some of the mountain pilots tend to wear them. Where I fly the LZs tend to be fairly flat cropland. I entertained pads for a comp where the aerotow was from pavement, fearing a line break just after takeoff but ultimately decided against because they were so uncomfortable.

Are the knee pads protection against landing in rocky areas or just general protection?

I like the idea of "convertible" pants. I may have to give that a go.
By thermaleo
Lucky_Chevy wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:18 pm

"....Are the knee pads protection against landing in rocky areas or just general protection?"


If you are landing in nice green grassy fields, in gentle breezes, then knee pads aren't really necessary.

But if you are flying out here, in the hot hard rocky wind-switchy Wild West, and you fly XC, then there will come a day, probably sooner rather than later, when you will be glad you had knee pads, or wish you'd had them.

Leo Jones
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By waltspoint
Sweat pants, long-sleeve turtleneck, and sweatshirt. Unless I'm at the training hill, in which case it's usually shorts & t-shirt. Unless I'm at a mountain site and things look serious, then I'll wear a jacket. Oh, and sometimes underwear, or perhaps a bowtie if it's a formal flight. I do have trouble zipping my harness all the way, as I end up with some sweat-pant fabric bunched up in the way right about at my swollen pickle. I'm thinking of looking for some man-tights this season maybe. Any suggestions anyone?
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