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This forum is dedicated to discussions on how to grow the sport of hang gliding. We will take a methodical approach to collect data and come up with implementable ideas on how to increase our numbers. This includes effective marketing, lead generation, site access issues, improving regulations, lack of instructors, lack of sites, etc

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#15878
I came on this idea a while ago. It has to do with creating greater exposure for hang gliding - thereby helping to grow the sport - maybe.

Certain pilots have developed XC skills. They often, or at least now and then, fly to places some distance from their usual take off point.

Often, both our regular LZs and XC LZs are remote and typically not very obvious to the public.

What I've given some thought to is this:

What if someone, or some group, promoted HG pilots, who are skilled at and capable of XC flights, to fly to a (safe) very public spot (in their local area) which also makes for a good XC landing zone?

Large open public park fields, or (at time of landing) inactive athletic fields are what I'm thinking about. Either way, places where some number of people could be encountered (but not hit, coming in to land).

Imagine the impact of putting a REAL LIVE Hang Glider AND it's Pilot, right in front of the public! And I'm not talking about just one glider landing in some High School soccer field. I'm talking about 1, then 2, then 3 or more gliders all coming in to land, one after the other, at the same public site. (always with safety in mind, thank you!)

What if the local paper, or even TV station was alerted to such an event as, or better yet - before, it took place?

Real bold and good landing skill pilots could even land in some large Shopping Mall parking lot - on a light shopping day like Sunday (when there's enough room to find a landing/parking spot :mrgreen: ).

Imagine the attention and thrill the public might get from seeing and "participating" in a public HG FLY-IN. I can think of a number of places where this could be done within a short XC distance of many of my local sites. I would expect that this may also be the case at many other sites around the country.

What if a specific day (or week) was dedicated to accomplishing such local, public, HG FLY-INs? All with the goal (pardon the pun) of doing a short or moderate distance XC to a (safe) public place/LZ where the public can experience/see, and maybe even touch, real live hang gliders and their pilots.

Is this a wacky idea :( , or a good/great idea :) ? Is there some input you can give and/or are there any modifications or additions to this thought that could make it an even better concept? Or does it just suck?

Think about it a little before responding - the idea could grow on you.

I would like to suggest calling this the "Spread Your Wings" campaign. It could/would include printing out business cards for ANY pilot to hand out to at least 10 people (per year?) with, oh maybe, HangGliding.Org printed on them.

Now, go discuss this amongst yourselves.
User avatar
By tizeagle
#15880
I've thought the same thing now the question I do have regarding faa rules about us piloting over populated areas. Otherwise I will mention it at our next regional in a couple of weeks.
User avatar
By boarini2003
#15886
I think it's a great idea. It could be combined with some other activity (a fair, a baseball game, any outdoor gathering.) If you had the budget and the weather is not perfect for cross country, you could do towing and have spot landing contests with an anouncer. Hell, you could even set up a scooter towing rig and give demonstrations.
User avatar
By averen
#15887
We have about the perfect area to do this in Austin.

During the soccer season this park is PACKED, but just to the south of it there is a HUGE (40+ acre) field that we used to fly RC in (we opted to move to a different field that is just a little bit South West of the soccer field...mainly because of all the spectators) Power lines are at the north of the field (south of the soccer fields) and along Killingsworth Ln...but I don't think they're that big of an issue considering that they're about 1/2 mile apart.

We have good enough relations with the parks people from our RC field that I'm sure if there was to be a flying to the South of the soccer fields we could organize something. And there would definitely be a good amount of people there as long as it was done on a Saturday around soccer season.

Jared

Oops, forgot the link...
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&g ... &z=16&om=1[/url]

The imagery was done a while back, I believe there are now 10 additional soccer fields to the east and 4 - 8 baseball diamonds.
By T.B.
#15889
I think it's a great idea.....But for an acctual fly in, in a crowded area is a bit too much for the sake of safety.....I've acctually considered this while at the flight park where i became addicted to flying ....My visions were more like during special events such as , 4rth July , Memorial Day, Christmas , and let's not forget St. Patrick ...(wohhhooo , lot of green beer flowing around , after flying )
But in all seriousness.....I was thinking that if HG could get a sponcer to set up an event , (like St. Jude) where people are faced with serious illness and take them flying , i belive this would lighten the problems for them (even if for only 15 minutes)....and at the same time TV news casts would also encourage the sport..
Also setting up an entry fee for all pilots whitch would be donated to the cause.....(Something like that , am i crazy ?)
User avatar
By tizeagle
#15890
No not crazy!
Last edited by tizeagle on Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By PilotGuy
#15891
I think scooter/aerotowing might be a necessity in a lot of places. Although a lot of guys have good XC skills, most flying sites are remote, simply due to the realities of the kind of terrain we fly over. Maybe you California boys would have it easy on this one, I don't know.

I think keeping it at fairly small events would be better than big events. For instance, it might seem logical to have a glider display or a fly in at an airshow, but do you follow up a 600 MPH display by an F-15 in a glider? No way. Perhaps the small town airshows would work. The kind where the main attraction is a barnstormer demonstration. You could have a basic tow/aerobatic/spot landing demonstration along with a static display with some sexy gliders set up and some videos playing.

I think Wingspan's original post is a good idea. Tony7KP and I have discussed taking a glider to a local park in Atlanta and demonstrating bunny hill runs just to get people to come up and ask what on earth we're doing. By the way, does anyone know of a park with a hill in Atlanta area?
User avatar
By Wingspan34
#15896
The idea was to keep things simple, where a few pilots could just do this on a good day with minmal planning or preperation. I think a viable alternative is just to go to a big park and set up 3-4 gliders (say beginner - topless designs) and see what happens with people who see this going on.

One thing about keeping things improptu, is so that it COULD take place. Asking formal permission and setting up advanced events typically require permits and event insurance - OR - simply some bureaurocrat saying NO! Plus, how many times does the weather mess up a preplaned event?

One thing all may not know - a pilot has a right to make an emergency landing practcally anywhere (excepting restricted air space and military bases, etc). Even on posted or private land. Now, I'm not saying this to encourage pilots to cause conflict in regard to my idea. Just the opposite. Make a plan, stay safe, and have fun bringing Hang Gliding to the people (since we can't so easily bring them to us).

My breif point would be - over complicating an idea can also kill it.
User avatar
By Naranek
#15904
I love the idea! Someone could also go to the landing site beforehand with a windsock to arouse people's interest and make sure the place is safe to land.
User avatar
By rallyant
#15905
I think that would be a great idea.

Id also really love to get a glider hanging in the local outdoor/adventure shopping center, with some flyer's with info of instructors etc.
Maybe setup a deal with instructors so the shop can sell a package deal, Glider and lessons.
Its one of the only ways i can think of to get a glider in the publics eye.

One of the main reasons it took me so long to get into hang gliding, i kept forgetting they even existed. but if they had been hanging in some of these cool shops id have been doing it years ago.
User avatar
By CHassan
#15906
Last year we were contacted by a county airport/pilots club. They wanted us to fly in the air show. So we did just that.
It was a small show, no f-15's, no Thunderbirds, just a handfull of pilots having fun and playing in the air.
It was my first show, but some of the other guys had done it before. We were given 30 minutes and a display area.
We had a glider up on a simulator for the crowd to look at and hang in. We also had a few gliders from an old Seagull to a Sport 2 set up in the display area.
For our 30 minutes 2 of us towed up behind our trike. Myself and one other pilot. He was more aerobatic capable, but I just kind of floundered around the air, making some tight 360's and showing top speed and slow flight.

I opted to land as close to the crowd as was allowable on the runway. Started running 20' off the ground, and made a pretty fair landing at show center.

Apperently we were good enough to be asked back this year. There was another guy, who helped organize another county show, who had asked us to fly for them this year, but I have not heard from him yet.

See if there is a county airshow around your area. Ask if they want a demonstration for their show. Only send pilots with good landing skills ! It would be bad enough to have someone pound in in front of all those people, even worse to have someone pound into all those people!
User avatar
By boarini2003
#15913
CHassan, that's good to hear. You guys could also combine it with a lottery where you will select winners out of the spectators and take them on a tandem right there.
And maybe you can have a demonstrations of a guy collapsing in a paraglider too! :twisted:
User avatar
By PilotGuy
#15915
Hey CHassan,

That's the kind of thing I was thinking, the little county airshows. I know there are a few around Atlanta.

What kind of response did you get from the crowd?

How much information did you distribute, and did any of the local clubs have newcomers show up because of it?

What, if anything, would you add or improve for next time?
User avatar
By PilotGuy
#15916
boarini2003 wrote:And maybe you can have a demonstrations of a guy collapsing in a paraglider too! :twisted:
:roflcat:
User avatar
By CHassan
#15921
We had alot of people try out the simulator. Definately try to get that again. (Borrowed it from a guy in Indiana). We also had a bunch of old stuff he had from years ago. Old pins, magazines and such. Our instructor had hand outs, and I had printed up some "baseball" style cards with some normal WUFFO questions and answers on them.
We didn't really push any tandems, but our contact for the show did get a tandem after the airshow. Maybe this year we will work on a free tandem raffle after the show. Only thing is we have to wait for ALL of the aircraft that flew in for the show to leave.

The other thing was the announcer's lack of knowledge of hang gliders. I took the second tow, and was just able to hear the announcer during the first tow. I don't remember exactly what he was saying, but I do remember thinking, "no that is not right!" This year I might write up a bit of information and give it to him to read.

I don't think we picked up any new students from the gig, of course we were about 2-3 hours away from the training site.
User avatar
By sg
#15922
How about, on days the wind or forecast suck for flying, you drive to your local REI for lunch, set up the HG, put a cooler under it and eat your lunch there :wink:

Bring a laptop with videos. Hehe. Now, just gotta figure out how to get REI to let you do this every so often, heh. Tell them HG pilots buy lots of "gear" :mrgreen:
User avatar
By CHassan
#15925
sg wrote: you drive to your local REI for lunch,
I had to look up what REI was! As far as driving to the local REI @228 miles, I might as well just drive to the nearest fair weather flying location! :mrgreen:
User avatar
By gerg
#15926
sg wrote:How about, on days the wind or forecast suck for flying, you drive to your local REI for lunch, set up the HG, put a cooler under it and eat your lunch there :wink:

Bring a laptop with videos. Hehe. Now, just gotta figure out how to get REI to let you do this every so often, heh. Tell them HG pilots buy lots of "gear" :mrgreen:
REI would be a great place to catch people's attention... I'd probably do it when I decide my glider's old enough I'm not as worried about leaving it in the sun for a while... Of course... Not much sun here in Western WA. Hell, maybe even get REI to stock some HG gear... :)

But I definately like the idea of impromptu public displays, with safety being the top concern... E.g. It's great if people get to see the good side of HG, but if there's even one accident, or less-than-good landing, you could do some serious damage to public perception.
User avatar
By xerxes
#15927
How about a 'flight tour.' A used 'short bus' with handicapped lift can be had for under 5K. This could easily be gutted for a 5 man crew, and a scooter tow could be bolted to the lift. Wrap the bus in ads to pay for the fuel costs, and tour the country doing demos and/or tandem flights in any field of decent size.
User avatar
By gerg
#15933
Oh, and as for operating over public areas... You're defiantely NOT allowed to operate over assemblies of people, or "congested" areas in cities/etc as per:
103.15 OPERATING OVER CONGESTED AREA
No person may operate an ultralight vehicle over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air
assembly of persons.
But, implied by that same wording, you are allowed to operate over uncongested areas in cities/etc, provided you're also in appropriate airspace.

I guess the question is, what is the FAA's definition of "congested"? Anyone have a section to quote? I've looked briefly, but haven't dug anything up yet.
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