- Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:32 pm
It's great to hear from you guys. One thing that every pilot I have known have in common, both airplanes and HG, is that flying has been a life long dream. It is often said that that flying is one of Mankind's oldest dreams. I do believe that, but if it really is as common as it seems to be, why is there such a disconnect with so many people?
I know that cost is often cited. But, I know from personal experience that if the dream and drive is there you will find a way to make it happen. I cut grass, cleaned toilets, washed airplanes and everything else at a small airport to get my pilot's license. I did this while going to college full time. I scrimped and saved, put off almost everything else to get into hang gliding. Although I live in the middle of the Rockies I had to drive hundreds of miles for lessons. I was determined and nothing was going to keep me on the ground!
Along the way I made friends, got connected and found some great deals on a wing and harness. This can be done without spending a fortune. However, it can not be done without investing a hell of a lot of time. When it comes down to it I believe that more than money it is the time involved that keeps people from getting into hang gliding.
In a way I get it. Family, work, other interest... they all demand time. A good fishing buddy who expressed some interest spent some time on the hill with me. It was a beautiful day. Not too windy, sunny, the birds were flying but I was not. The wind was cross. After a few hours my friend decided to go fishing. Half an hour later I launched. He stopped by while I was breaking down and said basically this. "If I have time to go fishing I am going to fish. If I plan on golfing I will golf. If I was into bowling I'd go bowling. But, you go "flying" and just sit on a mountain all day and often don't fly." His interest was gone.
But, his was just a passing interest. It was brought on by knowing me and my passion. What about all of those who really, truly have the passion? How do we get to them? Recently there have been some really high quality videos out there getting thousands of views. Hang gliding has been featured in a few nationally broadcast commercials. I wonder if anyone was motivated to make a phone call from the TV commercials? Anyone?
I know that future pilots are out there. I was one all my life. It took me ten years to make it happen even with the desire and drive. One thing that we all need to do is to be great promoters. How many of us take the time to talk to those who ask what that thing is when we are pumping gas? How many take the time to talk to wufos on launch? Who has a phone number handy of a local instructor to pass on to anyone who shows some interest?
No video, commercial, movie or wing development is going to grow hang gliding. There is simply only one answer to this. It is up to each and every one of US to do our part to reach out, to actively promote hang gliding and to be good ambassadors of this. This season make a conscious effort talk to anyone who shows an interest. Make sure you can give out phone numbersof instructors. Invite them to come out to the launch or LZ.
They are out there!
What a beautiful day! Let's go jump off a mountain!!!
"He did not know he could not fly and so he did" Guy Clark,
"The Cape" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6bZ37nexSY