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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

Moderator: mods

User avatar
By HGXC
#392662
I have never understood the expensive excuse. If you have the drive and determination you will find a way. I see trailers with snow mobiles and 4 wheelers on the highway all the time. I live near the coast and see marina's full of boats of all sizes. People spend money on cars, vacations gyms and going out all the time.

We have become a nation of excuses and victims. If you look at the long time flying older people you will see they are all very different but, alike in perhaps only one way. They are compelled to fly, flying gliders is a basic a drive for us, its part of our identity and we find ways to do it over 20-30-40+ years in spite of families, careers, medical challenges and financial challenges.

There have been major psychological shifts over the last few decades that have caused people to hold back on full commitment to adventure and life style. We are becoming a nation of drones.

Dennis
User avatar
By AIRTHUG
#392671
johnmusto wrote:Food for thought, In 2011 there where 4,010 HG pilots as members of USHPA,
At the end of 2015 the number dropped to 3,430 is this a concern to anyone. It seems like very few new HGs pilots stick with the sport . While New PGs went from 4,000 in 2011 to 5,153 in the same time frame. The numbers are staggering are we a numbered breed ?
Just FYI- I am one of the disappearing HG pilots from those numbers.

But that is because I added paragliding as another fun way to remove myself from the Earth and add myself to the sky for a while.

I am still *very* much a hang glider pilot at heart, and probably fly hangs at a ratio of 5:1 or more compared to my para. But the membership data does not reflect this. And if you get HG member numbers *and* the numbers of pilots rated for both wing types... there is no way to know which of those biwingual pilots are predominantly one or the other, and how active they are in their minority discipline. There is no logbook reporting to USHPA... (but it's a good idea!)
User avatar
By Lucky_Chevy
#392676
Let's face it. Paragliding is the new hang gliding. The performance of paragliders has continued to improve. The recent paragliding world record has broken the 500 km barrier. The wings are lighter, easier to store and transport, can land in smaller LZs and have spawned the grueling and widely publicized X-Alps race while hang gliding is a fairly obscure sport.

I have never flown a PG but I can see the appeal. I feel hang gliding has lagged behind paragliding popularity in part due to the physical characteristics of our wings which are large, heavy, difficult to store, and require specialized racks to carry them.

PGs are also dominating HGs because of the training requirements and availability of that training. Learning to fly a PG seems to faster and more rewarding for the trainee. Heck, you can get some meaningful training kiting your wing in your back yard or local park. Learning to HG tales a significant time commitment at a school that is not always conveniently located. It also takes a grater level of physical conditioning to carry 100 lbs of gear on your back for any distance, or to hoist a 70 lb glider onto the roof of a car.

Paragliding has surpassed hang gliding for the same reason flex wing hang gliders have dominated rigid wing hang gliders, despite their superior performance.

I believe if our sport is to survive HG schools need to stay open and profitable; local schools and clubs (mountain and flatland) should be able to economically develop and maintain flying sites; and HG manufacturers must remain profitable and maintain a network of dealers for parts and maintenance.

For now it seems like we are just like the woolly mammoth watching the ice encroach, or dinosaurs looking at the sky wondering "what the hell is that". Of course niche sports will survive as long as there is enough interest to support them. BTW did you catch the ice boating nationals last January? 31 Boats. The 2016 Hang gliding nationals had 20 pilots, sport and open class combined.

Long live free flight in general, and hang gliding in particular!!!
User avatar
By red
#392677
Campers,

As per usual, HGXC (Dennis) calls it, straight and true.

http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.ph ... 662#392662

. . . and Davis contributed:

http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.ph ... 669#392669

Yeah, I do think the wrong foods are some part of the problem, and not just for HG.
We can't control everything in our environment, but you can control some things.
Make a diet diary, and take a good hard look at your actual food intake, folks.
It might scare you, but then you can make changes for the better.
User avatar
By dbotos
#392678
Rvanvoris wrote:most of the kids I know would rather fly a drone than a hang glider or take a "virtual reality" flight than a real one.
With FPV headsets, they're like a real-life video game. Definitely cheaper than hang gliding lessons + equipment (for example, Parrot's Bebop 2 quadcopter with FPV headset is only $700). If you just wanted to see things from the air (but didn't necessarily care about being up there yourself), an RC aircraft would:

-be cheaper
-require less training
-be flyable at more locations
-have less risk of serious injury/death
-have a larger resale market
User avatar
By Nigel Hewitt
#392686
Lucky_Chevy wrote:I have never flown a PG but I can see the appeal.
I'm afraid I just don't have the courage to fly an inflatable aeroplane.
User avatar
By Lucky_Chevy
#392711
Nigel Hewitt wrote:
Lucky_Chevy wrote:I have never flown a PG but I can see the appeal.
I'm afraid I just don't have the courage to fly an inflatable aeroplane.
For many the potential pitfalls of a PG are more than offset by the convenience. As more pilots fly these wings money flows into their development and I believe the wings are getting safer.

I don't currently fly PGs but to me it's evident from the latest distance records that the performance gap between HG and PGs is closing.

I couldn't say definitively if either wing is definitively safer based on accident history. Both wings have their riskier offshoots that seem to rack up the majority of the accidents. Micro PG wings flying at high speeds down the contours of mountains looks very risky to me, but so isn't skimming across a lake at high speed. I enjoy watching both on youtube but I have no urge to try it for myself.

Paragliding is now the dominant form of free flight. That of course could change.
I, for one, would like to welcome our new overlords.
By seuaniu
#392742
I'll throw an anecdote in as a non-pilot (yet) for those of you old-timers wondering where your sport is going.

I really really want a glider. Have for years. Due to stupid mistakes in my youth I was never financially stable until fairly recently, and am now saving up to start flying. Looking at training, a new falcon4, harness, helmet, mods to my jeep, vario, insurance, camping trips to the school, etc, it looks like I'll need to have $10K just to get an H2. To just about everybody I know, that is a ton of cash to drop on a sport. My friends that are also interested in flying are waiting to see what I do before even thinking about dropping that kind of cash on something. To my wife and kids its nearly a non-starter, especially since they don't get to participate other than to haul me and my buddies up the mountain.

Contrast that with my boat. I spent $6500 on a 22yo bowrider this spring. All summer long, I took out my family and friends, went tubing, chilled out on the river, and generally had a ton of fun. Dozens have benefitted. Next year I'll take it fishing and crabbing and use it even more than this year. Total cost above and beyond the boat has been a couple hundred in gas, $150 tires for the trailer, and a $40 boater safety class. Those of you with boats will know that there absolutely will be more costs in the future, but I'm OK with that. Bust Out Another Thousand and all that :)

So what's keeping me from getting a glider? Money, and time. Time I can come up with by going on weeekend camping trips up in the mountains (I'm in Oregon and most of the flying sites are in Washington as near as I can tell), or going to the two flying sites within day trip distance after work in the summer. Money is by far the bigger issue. I make a good income, but picking up a second job is out of the question since my career (IT) often involves after hours work that is unpredictable. So, I'm picking up side work as it comes along and throwing the cash in the jar. Hopefully I won't be 50 before it fills up.

I'm not going to complain about the costs. They are what they are, and mostly seem reasonable. $4k for something you can strap on and fly actually seems pretty cheap. But it is an issue.

tl;dr: Accept it or not, money keeping some of us out of the sport.
User avatar
By red
#392762
seuaniu wrote:I'll throw an anecdote in as a non-pilot (yet) for those of you old-timers wondering where your sport is going. . . I really really want a glider. Have for years. . . it looks like I'll need to have $10K just to get an H2. . . So what's keeping me from getting a glider? Money, and time . . . Accept it or not, money keeping some of us out of the sport.
Seuaniu,

Yep, that is lot of green, but you have picked the most expensive way to start, with all new gear. I only ever bought one thing new, a harness at about my 27th year of flying. I still fly with it. I once figured out that all the buying, flying, and selling of HGs across the decades have cost me less than US$ .50 per day, not counting what I paid for my two gliders now. (I won't know how much they will cost me until I sell them.) Even correcting for inflation, that is some really inexpensive airtime. I have certainly spent far more on the car gas, but fellow pilots chip in with me there, so I absorb that expense as the cost of living. That is, living as opposed to existing. 8)

See my web page, linked below, for a somewhat more frugal approach to flight. You can spend as much as you want, but maybe a bit less than you may think at this time. Most HG pilots will help you to find good gear, also.

:mrgreen:
By lynntalon
#392764
This is what I have been a part of I been flying hanggliders since I was 9 years old in the 70sI became a ushga member in 1980 the hangglider world is hard to get ratings and to become a instructor its hard to but that's a good thing it means we have to know more I have personaly seen a easy to become any thing you want as a paraglider and seen lots of bad things happen many people hurt here and more I think we all need to come together and work on safety and keep the standers the same and work on keeping current .this is my thoughts , not saying its the best lol
By lynntalon
#392765
Ihave been a paraglider pilot and a hangglider pilot so what does make you want to fly a hangglider 1 a hangglider can fly faster and farther why cleaner and lest drag ,the closer you get to a hard wing it passes thru the air better do you travel in a parachute or a air liner do you want to be a sailplane or a balloon ,something that has a airframe passes thru the air better ,yess it does take a little longer to learn but with new training now its the same time to learn why not learn a 3 axis aircraft hanggliding and be able to fly in more wind . its just my thoughts lol .
User avatar
By TjW
#392770
seuaniu wrote:I'll throw an anecdote in as a non-pilot (yet) for those of you old-timers wondering where your sport is going.

I really really want a glider. Have for years. Due to stupid mistakes in my youth I was never financially stable until fairly recently, and am now saving up to start flying. Looking at training, a new falcon4, harness, helmet, mods to my jeep, vario, insurance, camping trips to the school, etc, it looks like I'll need to have $10K just to get an H2. To just about everybody I know, that is a ton of cash to drop on a sport. My friends that are also interested in flying are waiting to see what I do before even thinking about dropping that kind of cash on something. To my wife and kids its nearly a non-starter, especially since they don't get to participate other than to haul me and my buddies up the mountain.

Contrast that with my boat. I spent $6500 on a 22yo bowrider this spring. All summer long, I took out my family and friends, went tubing, chilled out on the river, and generally had a ton of fun. Dozens have benefitted. Next year I'll take it fishing and crabbing and use it even more than this year. Total cost above and beyond the boat has been a couple hundred in gas, $150 tires for the trailer, and a $40 boater safety class. Those of you with boats will know that there absolutely will be more costs in the future, but I'm OK with that. Bust Out Another Thousand and all that :)

So what's keeping me from getting a glider? Money, and time. Time I can come up with by going on weeekend camping trips up in the mountains (I'm in Oregon and most of the flying sites are in Washington as near as I can tell), or going to the two flying sites within day trip distance after work in the summer. Money is by far the bigger issue. I make a good income, but picking up a second job is out of the question since my career (IT) often involves after hours work that is unpredictable. So, I'm picking up side work as it comes along and throwing the cash in the jar. Hopefully I won't be 50 before it fills up.

I'm not going to complain about the costs. They are what they are, and mostly seem reasonable. $4k for something you can strap on and fly actually seems pretty cheap. But it is an issue.

tl;dr: Accept it or not, money keeping some of us out of the sport.
Could be, but even with (especially with!) new gear, it's about the least expensive form of aviation. I'm not sure of the prices of paras. They may be a little cheaper to buy, but I'm sure they don't last as long, so on a per-hour basis, I think they may be more expensive.
Price out learning to fly while including a brandy-new sailplane or LSA or GA airplane. Price out the tiedown or hangar (if you can find one). Priced out is exactly what you'll be.
My advice to people who want to fly is: learn to fly. Hang out at the LZ. If you are part of the community, deals become available. Equpment is lent. Flying happens.

As far as the homebuilt thing goes, the homebuilders often quote a saying: "If you want to build, build. If you want to fly, buy."
While an airchair isn't the same level of commitment as say, an RV6, there's a lot of time and attention to detail that needs to be paid in lieu of money.

The parts for an airchair will probably set you back as much or more as a decent used Falcon. You can probably build a Goat with an electric drill and a hacksaw, but you'll still need to pick up some new skills like fabric covering, and I'll bet a nickel you'll want/need to pick up some new tools along the way, too.
That doesn't make it a bad choice; I'm attracted to the idea myself. But I don't think it's a panacea for lowering the entry bar to hang gliding, either.
User avatar
By Mr Pou
#392792
Solid used Falcon, or similar: $2000-2500
Used harness/chute: $500
Mountain package lessons: $600
Decent bike/ski/skate rated helmet: $60

By shopping the used market you can be off the mountain for < $4k.

Edit: Oh, and if you move up, you'll get most of your money back on that used Falcon.

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