.

.

All things hang gliding. This is the main forum. New users, introduce yourself.

Moderators: sg, mods

User avatar
By flybop
#403399
For years we have been asking ourselves why are fewer and fewer young people taking up hang gliding? I know there is a decrease in many other "active" type of activities as well. I have been holding back saying what I really think is an underlying reason, but then I heard about what is going on at Penn State. (And I don't mean the joe pa mess.) This article says a lot about what has been happening to our country for over a generation now. This is one of the results.

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/educat ... 1804180168
By cheesehead
#403402
I don't understand how the university is going to prevent the Outing Club's "members" from doing whatever they want. These are young adults ages 18 and up. Were they using college-owned equipment or vehicles on their outings? Maybe the club can't be officially sponsored or affiliated with the school, but so what? The students will find a way to continue their former club activities if they really want to with or without the school's blessing and assistance. UW-Madison has a huge organization affiliated with the student union--which is officially independent of the university's authority or influence--called the Hoofers that includes SCUBA, caving, skiing/snowboarding, horseback riding, climbing, and sailing clubs. All other outdoor pursuits fall under the umbrella of the Outing Club. Sounds a lot like Penn but no activities are being shut down no matter how dangerous. For about 10 years there was a Hoofers hang gliding club. It's existence made it possible for me to learn to fly in 1988. At its climax, perhaps there were close to ten H2's and about as many H1's. It owned just enough crappy beat-up equipment to share on flying trips. It fell apart due to a lack of good leadership combined with the costs and inconveniences associated with HG, especially in Wisconsin. A lot of us showed up to HG lessons on the weekends very hungover. Aerotowing got going near Madison a couple years after the club gave up and was dropped from the Hoofers. We were the newest and smallest of the Hoofer clubs and a pretty rag-tag bunch, but we had a helluva good time, especially on spring break flying trips down to Tennessee. I was able to get to H3 for less than $300 total. We talked the officers of the Hoofers into loaning several thousand dollars to our club interest-free and no payment plan for desperately needed equipment. When we finally got shut down, you better believe we hadn't paid back a cent to the Hoofers yet...
User avatar
By Tormod
#403404
In my country (Norway) we have schools teaching hang and paragliding as one of their selectable field of studies. Normal HG/PG insurance is sufficient. You American's crack me up sometimes :lol: If going on a hike is unacceptable risk I wonder what they'd say about our schools?
User avatar
By flybop
#403407
Cheesehead, for the club to use university resources and to claim to an officially sanctioned program and to be subsidized it needs to fall under the insane "rules" described in the article. When I was in college (Penn State) my friends and I did go fishing, hunting, camping, canoeing, etc. However, that was because we grew up doing all those things. Clubs like the Outing Club was a way to get people involved in those kinds of activities that they otherwise would not be exposed to. Could you imagine trying to start a hang gliding club in this environment?

This article is, unfortunately , very indicative of an increasing trend in our society. There has been a growing intensity of coddling our children, protecting them from all risk, real and imagined. When we were in college this idea would have been laughed out of the meeting. Now, more and more people are too afraid to speak up on it's absurdity. More and more have been raised from a very young age to think this way. More and more people will agree that simply going for a walk in the woods exposes our poor, defenseless children to an unacceptable level of risk.

This is simply an extension of the participation trophies mentality. My concern here is as this kind of hyper-protection grows, what will the long term impact on our society be? The suggestion that the group should watch a movie about being outdoors instead of going outdoors says a good deal. I was seriously expecting to read another suggestion would be to pass out coloring books as well. But hey, they have already done that...
User avatar
By Lucky_Chevy
#403408
It's curious that while the average young person is spending more time inside and online the group or people that is participating in sports like ours is becoming increasingly radical. I sometimes think of it as youtube effect.

These people don't just go skiing, they go snowboarding down glaciers or get dropped off on mountains via helicopter.
They don't go canoeing, they go white water kayaking down rapids.
They don't skydive, they base jump.
They don't go jogging, they parkour.
They don't go hang gliding, they fly in close proximity to the ground after setting themselves on fire (ok, slight exaggeration).

...and when the adventure didn't go as planned the video gets posted as a "fail" and becomes a cautionary tale for anyone that thought of participating in the sport.
#403410
I went to a meeting of that club sometime around fall of 91. I was not a student at UW but was just curious. Folks were talking about trips to Tennessee to get training. It was probably about the second time I had ever talked to hang glider pilots-- the first was when there was an ultralight glider/ hang glider meet at Sunflower gliderport in KS slightly before that (I think!) Also, that meeting was the first time I heard hang glider pilots talking about the topic of "turn coordination" and the wheels started turning in my head-- more than five years before I ever actually put my hands on a hang glider. Jeez I am a weirdo aren't I... Don't draw any conclusions about the future of hang gliding from this outlier!

Steve
cheesehead wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:14 am
For about 10 years there was a Hoofers hang gliding club. It's existence made it possible for me to learn to fly in 1988. At its climax, perhaps there were close to ten H2's and about as many H1's. It owned just enough crappy beat-up equipment to share on flying trips. It fell apart due to a lack of good leadership combined with the costs and inconveniences associated with HG, especially in Wisconsin. A lot of us showed up to HG lessons on the weekends very hungover. Aerotowing got going near Madison a couple years after the club gave up and was dropped from the Hoofers. We were the newest and smallest of the Hoofer clubs and a pretty rag-tag bunch, but we had a helluva good time, especially on spring break flying trips down to Tennessee...
#403411
Lucky_Chevy wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:12 pm

They don't go hang gliding, they fly in close proximity to the ground after setting themselves on fire (ok, slight exaggeration).

...and when the adventure didn't go as planned the video gets posted as a "fail" and becomes a cautionary tale for anyone that thought of participating in the sport.
If, only if, we could teach them that "fail" is a verb not a noun-- they would all be beating at our instructors' doorsteps (figuratively speaking of course-- does a cell phone have a doorstep?)

**** Nothing succeeds like success--
and nothing exceeds like excess---
****

... said someone somewhere... probably flying a Nimbus -- actually I'm pretty sure I know that guy -- :popcorn:

Why you would name a glider after a rain cloud, I have no idea....

maybe to put out the fire, of the lunatics referenced above?

Enough of that kind of talk, let's change the channel

I've mounted rocket launchers on a C-152 (true story long before 9-11) ; I've settled revolutions in spain (not true story)

the north pole I have charted, but still I can't get started without you


SS


(ps disregard that stupid striped thing, I have no idea what that is-- probably someone trying to sell you popcorn)
User avatar
By raquo
#403412
> These people don't just go skiing, they go snowboarding down glaciers or get dropped off on mountains via helicopter.
They don't go canoeing, they go white water kayaking down rapids.
They don't skydive, they base jump.
They don't go jogging, they parkour.

Everyone knows that YouTube and Instagram do not represent what average people do. Including said average people. Wanting to watch some juicy action has nothing to do with wanting to do it yourself, whether there's a "fail" involved or not.

---

Hang gliding tends to attract extremists / marginals nowadays because reasonable people who want to fly choose paragliding for its convenience. Only someone irrational will choose hang gliding today, because it requires sacrifices that other alternatives including paragliding do not ask of you, and does so without offering advantages that would be convincing to a significant enough portion of potential students.

And so the HG community chooses to double down on its superiority to PG despite it being obvious that such negative rehtoric, whether justified or not, will never reach potential students.

We should instead be focusing on developing and marketing positive things about hang gliding.

Some members here have ideas about young people that are as weird as a nerdy high schooler's ideas about how to talk to girls. "Young people these days" are just normal people, you appeal to them the same way as you would to older people. "Video game culture" is irrelevant, even if only because you can not do anything about it. You'll never find your way out of this problem with stereotypes like that.

If you want to know why more people don't get into hang gliding why don't you start with people who came the closest to doing HG - paragliders. Go on to one of their forums and ask them (without contempt that you're showing here) why they chose paragliding over hang gliding. Go to sailplane forums and ask if any of those guys considered hang gliding, maybe there'll be some useful knowledge there too.

I think we know what the answers will be, we're just afraid to admit that those answers are the reason. Instead the HG community thinks it's just wimpy pu--ies crying.
User avatar
By flybop
#403414
Raquo. The intent of my posting the article was not to say why more are choosing pg over hg. The reason I posted the article was to give a real life example of a widespread cultural change in the way kids are being raised. Big picture with broad strokes, but it is happening.

The ever increasing of the coddling of children over the past 20 or more years surely has shrunk the pool of people overall who would be attracted to many activities, including HG. I know the situation at Penn State is anecdotal, but far more common than a generation or more ago. Recently I saw something on TV that ties in with this. A group of high school students were painting a mural on a wall. These kids were wearing reflective safety vest and hard hats. This was not an active construction site. It was simply a small group of kids volunteering to do some painting. This would not have happened not that many years ago. Now project that kind of over protection out through 16 or more years of "education".

And to be clear here. I am not blaming the younger generation(s). I put the blame on the generation that has raised and is raising them. Guess that would be many of us.

Maybe I did exaggerate the title of my post. Perhaps this is not a "Huge" part of the puzzle but it certainly is a contributing factor. And, btw, I am reaching out to some of the local pg's. I am optimistic that one or two of them will take hg lessons this summer.
User avatar
By raquo
#403415
If people being overly safety-conscious affects hang gliding, why isn't paragliding affected similarly?

Safety is one of the few advantages that HG has over it, and yet people choose convenience over additional safety.

And this is not unique to just freeflight. Same goes for windsurfing (more hassle but safer) vs kiteboarding (less safe but convenient).

Safety can be a hard sell in the presence of more immediately tangible advantages.
User avatar
By TomGalvin
#403416
raquo wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 2:11 pm
If people being overly safety-conscious affects hang gliding, why isn't paragliding affected similarly?

Safety is one of the few advantages that HG has over it, and yet people choose convenience over additional safety.

The general public sees a big parachute and thinks it's safer than those crazy hang gliders.

Perception is reality.
User avatar
By raquo
#403417
Conversely, unlike windsurfing, which is basically a stand up paddleboard with a sail, kiteboarding doesn't look like anything remotely safe and yet is is still more popular.

Downhill mountain biking does not pretend to be safe either, and yet lots of people do it.

Half a million people a year decide to actually jump out of a plane with a parachute in the US, 30,000 of them being members of their association, much more than USHPA's ~10,000 members.

There's no shortage of people who are fine with perceived risk. They don't choose hang gliding for other reasons. I look at the sports that are popular, and the common thread I see is convenience.
User avatar
By flybop
#403419
There is no denying the convenience factor. Hang gliding has a huge logistical hassle connected to it. Where I live the lack of instruction in undeniable. Then there is the huge things to transport and store.

Having said that, these are surmountable challenges to anyone who really wants to do this. My basic point is that there is a shrinking pool of people out there who is willing to take the risks, real and perceived. As mentioned several times in this and other threads, there is a very wrong perception with the general public that HG is more dangerous than PG. After all, PG's are just a parachute, right?

The bottom line is to slow the bleeding and to hopefully grow HG again it is up to every one of us to do our part. That means being positive advocates for HG. That means taking the time to talk to WUFOS who ask what that thing is on our rigs, it means inviting anyone who expresses an interest to come out to our flying sites. It means having a local instructor's name and number handy to give to anyone who seems interested.

Imagine what we can accomplish if all of us do everything we can to get just one potential pilot to come out and watch us fly. It amazes me how many people express an interest saying something like how they always dreamed of flying. I recently watched the Pink Floyd video of their song, "Learning To Fly". What struck me was a comment posted there. It basically said that they would lay awake at night wishing they could jump of a cliff. That post had something close to 1,000 likes!

Go take a look at the video and the posts below. What we do is a dream of so many. It blows my mind how and why there are so few of us!


Future pilots are out there. We, as a community, need to do more to help them discover us.
By dbhyslop
#403420
cheesehead wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:14 am
It fell apart due to a lack of good leadership combined with the costs and inconveniences associated with HG, especially in Wisconsin. A lot of us showed up to HG lessons on the weekends very hungover. Aerotowing got going near Madison a couple years after the club gave up and was dropped from the Hoofers.
FYI, the club wasn't shut down until 2003, at which time aerotowing was well-established at Whitewater, but certainly not very affordable for most students. At that time there were two active members, myself and the club president who was graduating. Hoofers looked at the club and saw that it prettty much existed only as a marketing pipeline for the aerotow vendor to get new students to pay $1600 for lessons, which conflicted with the missions of the other Hoofers clubs that used communal equipment and volunteer hours to train members.
By cheesehead
#403422
Yeah, aerotowing is a blessing in WI--except for poor college students. In '88 that same instructor gave lessons (training hill) for free after two paid if needed to earn a H1. With a H1, club members could start using club equipment. Lessons were $60 apiece. Most got to H2 after a lot of training hill practice and a couple $50 tandems at Indiana Dunes or Tennessee. What the Hoofer officers hated was that unlike all the other clubs, free yet good instruction was not offered by club members to members that needed it. I guess once Brad established his aerotowing operation, he no longer felt a need for students at UW. Few public college students can afford to learn the new way. I don't know if a college HG/PG club is realistic.
#403429
flybop wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 8:08 pm

Go take a look at the video and the posts below. What we do is a dream of so many. It blows my mind how and why there are so few of us!


Future pilots are out there. We, as a community, need to do more to help them discover us.
That is a truly awesome video. I can't believe I've never seen it before. It is so much about what we really do as hang glider fliers. Thanks for posting.

I have to say though, his (the young guy's) lifting surfaces look really really asymmetrical!

Nice shot of a Harris's hawk in flight

S
User avatar
By flybop
#403468
That Pink Floyd video and especially the comments below it represents the dichotomy of the dropping numbers of hang glider pilots. It really seams that the general public still has the dream, but lack the initiative to pursue it.

There is a music venue in the valley that has a Pink Floyd tribute band every summer. A couple of years ago my wife contacted the band and they dedicated "Learning To Fly" to me. That was really cool.

I've said it many times. There are prospective pilots out there. It is up to us to find them.
User avatar
By NMERider
#403469
flybop wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:31 pm
....There are prospective pilots out there. It is up to us to find them...
Yes outreach is good but I think we need to be more welcoming when new people show up. I rarely see any welcoming behavior of new and prospective pilots or even of visiting pilots for that matter. What I see more often are potential pilots being ignored or even dissed like we are some kind of extra-special and elite people. Word of mouth is extremely effective but when was the last time anyone wrote on social media how they showed up at an LZ and everyone introduced themselves then invited then to look around and participate as much as possible like riding up to launch and following along through the whole assembly and pre-flight process. How many of us hand out calling cards with our contact information and maybe our YouTube channel on it?

When you did the flare, at 4:10 in the video, you […]

Those Gus are good. They play well together. I t[…]

2015+ Subaru Outback HG rack

The subaxtreme brackets with crossbar would work. […]

La Muela de Alarilla, Spain

Cool place, nice edit! Thanks! I saw in GoogleMa[…]