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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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By HGXC
#388797
davisstraub wrote:It is driven by sentiments that have no rational market connection.
be that as it may that term "fair" is meaningless. Favorable to Wills would be accurate.

Size of market share doesn't necessarily relate to market growth.

All in all even though the population is growing the amount of people Hang Gliding is shrinking. Both Wills and Moyes will likely need exit or survivor strategies to exist 10 years from today. This is also true for most tow parks.

Dennis
User avatar
By TomGalvin
#388802
I ended my sabbatical today, and had my Instructor rating re-instated.

Maybe I can help move the needle a little bit.
By Rich E
#388803
I have, this season, become bi-wingal and have had so much more airtime as a result and am doing things on my PG that I could only dream of on my HG.

Just had one of my best flying days ever - in the Swiss Alps, Verbier, with over 4 hours of airtime, on a brand new wing and pod harness combo, where we did a lap of the valley at cloudbase, explored and played in lee-side thermals, did a couple of transitions across the valley and towards the end of the flight hung out in valley wind ridge lift. Performance of my combo very similar indeed to a Sport 2 and it weighs 20lbs and fits in one backpack. Saw the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc and tomorrow will be attempting the 'glacier run' head deep into the mountains to fly over 3 glaciers.

Would I like to have done that on my HG - of course, it would be awesome but logistically too difficult. So until, or if, the HG manufacturers come up with an easily transportable (air and hire car) solution, my foreign adventure flying trips will almost certainly be on my PG.

Rich

PG: Advance Iota and Advance Lightness 2 pod.
HG. Bautek Fizz and Aeros Myth 3.
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User avatar
By zamuro
#388828
Rich E wrote:I have, this season, become bi-wingal and have had so much more airtime as a result and am doing things on my PG that I could only dream of on my HG.

Just had one of my best flying days ever - in the Swiss Alps, Verbier, with over 4 hours of airtime, on a brand new wing and pod harness combo, where we did a lap of the valley at cloudbase, explored and played in lee-side thermals, did a couple of transitions across the valley and towards the end of the flight hung out in valley wind ridge lift. Performance of my combo very similar indeed to a Sport 2 and it weighs 20lbs and fits in one backpack. Saw the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc and tomorrow will be attempting the 'glacier run' head deep into the mountains to fly over 3 glaciers.

Would I like to have done that on my HG - of course, it would be awesome but logistically too difficult. So until, or if, the HG manufacturers come up with an easily transportable (air and hire car) solution, my foreign adventure flying trips will almost certainly be on my PG.

Rich

PG: Advance Iota and Advance Lightness 2 pod.
HG. Bautek Fizz and Aeros Myth 3.
In a nutshell that is IMHO why PG is so much more popular. With a HG you pretty much are stuck to fly local sites, Somehow not quite the freedom that potential free flyers had in mind when considering the options. it iis a hassle to take a HG anywhere using publlc transportation (planes, etc) or hitch hiking. Ideally HG would have evolved into something more manageable but still retaining the safety factor of being uncollapsable in flight .
User avatar
By HGXC
#388831
What does strike me is that apparently glider performance has taken a second seat for convenience. Years back that would have never been the case.

Dennis
#388832
As a new H2 I will add that getting to fly is very difficult if your not close to a site.
Having said that i realize it has always been that way.

I suppose its easier to get off the ground with a PG just about anywhere there is some wind ?
User avatar
By zamuro
#388844
HGXC wrote:What does strike me is that apparently glider performance has taken a second seat for convenience. Years back that would have never been the case.

Dennis
HG manufacturers, except the ones that dropped HG altogether (Airwave) have been IMHO pushing performance, safety and looks but not convenience. On the other hand the market message as evidenced by the growth of PG over HG is quite clear: most potential pilots would trade performance for convenience and even a bit of safety for convenience.
Years back there was a push for performance in HG (and still is) because nobody saw a need to make them more convenient. There was no more convenient or personal way to get airborne... until PGs came along.
User avatar
By HGXC
#388846
There is nothing about a pg that says performance. I also has trouble in rough air. You can take it on a plane easier.

Dennis
By Dreamweaver
#388858
One contributer to the decreasing numbers is the cost. I've heard and seen countless young, interested people walk away before getting started, because they couldn't afford it. Most young people just don't have the funds unless mommy and daddy help out.
Another thing I've noticed is that sometimes the process of going from no experience to a h2 is longer then one expects. Granted it's not something to be rushed, and it really doesn't take very long generally. However, some people can rarely get off work, or life, long enough to complete the training in a couple weeks or months. Add to that the fact that the weather isn't always going to be conducive to learning. I've met quite a few people who frustratingly tell me they have been trying to get their h2 for over a year.
User avatar
By patrick halfhill
#388867
I just don't subscribe to the " It takes to long and is to expensive". What did people do in the '80's when we didn't have instant weather and blogs and went to the wrong hills on the wrong days. It's easier now than it has ever been. Honestly instruction is easier than it has ever been between tandems and aerotows.
I mostly think that it is the gap in experience that hurts. In small clubs when everybody takes off and leaves for a cross country, the H2 is left by themselves. .
If you are in an area with other people at your skill level you can hang out discuss the flight get competitive etc. And have something to look forward to
User avatar
By HGXC
#388868
patrick halfhill wrote:I just don't subscribe to the " It takes to long and is to expensive". What did people do in the '80's when we didn't have instant weather and blogs and went to the wrong hills on the wrong days. It's easier now than it has ever been. Honestly instruction is easier than it has ever been between tandems and aerotows.
I mostly think that it is the gap in experience that hurts. In small clubs when everybody takes off and leaves for a cross country, the H2 is left by themselves. .
If you are in an area with other people at your skill level you can hang out discuss the flight get competitive etc. And have something to look forward to
I agree its much easier and t5he cost issue is somewhat bogus because you see the same people with a motorcycle, or boat or fancy car. If you want it bad enough you will do it. That is the problem .... the enthusiasm for adventure takes a back seat to convenience all the time today. The experience gap is also a factor but the last so many years have produced people who rather watch then do.

Dennis
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By davisstraub
#388869
Where there is an excellent school that builds a strong community people flock to the school to learn to fly hang gliders.

http://www.cuhanggliding.com/
User avatar
By Windlord
#388872
patrick halfhill wrote:I just don't subscribe to the " It takes to long and is to expensive". What did people do in the '80's when we didn't have instant weather and blogs and went to the wrong hills on the wrong days.
Now that brings back memories. Had a Datsun pickup with a roll bar that I would strap the glider to. Pre-dawn house departure and on the road just as the horizon started to glow.
Weather was pretty much what you heard on the radio or tv news. Most flying friends had CB radios in our vehicles. We would give reports on conditions at our current location.
If I needed to reach out and touch someone further away at the end of the day for a report, I would just fire up the SSB when I got home.
We would go to a site and just hang out waiting on conditions, talking story and stuff. It was the camaraderie between all of us, being outdoors, maybe the discovery of a new site.
It was the adventure of it all.
User avatar
By ChattaroyMan
#388873
davisstraub wrote:Where there is an excellent school that builds a strong community people flock to the school to learn to fly hang gliders.

http://www.cuhanggliding.com/
I'll second that and add .... flying sites, good ones, and as many of them as possible. Out of sight - out of mind. Seeing flying being done and done well was the clincher for me. I first saw hang gliding in 73 or 74 with some people trying to launch a standard from a rolling wheat field in E WA. I knew enough about flying in general to know that they either didn't have enough speed or the slope was too shallow or the glider plainly sucked at flying. When I saw hangs again in 75 flying off a 800'-ish site and landing right where they wanted to - I started the sport the very next weekend.

Flying is magical. I don't think there is a kid that doesn't like a swing set or a slide. Both involve height and motion plus a great view. To rekindle that in an older human such that they might get interested in flying hangs/paras has got to be furthered along by seeing us in action - as often as possible and at as many locations as possible. The more 'comfy' those locations for spectators the better (picnic benches, restrooms or porta-crapper, etc.). In the distant past with all the newness of the sport these attributes were not needed. Nowadays, IMHO, that is different. We need larger investments in launches and LZs - if not in $ then in time and effort by our own community (work details, etc.).

I feel our sport will die a slow death unless we each do what we can to promote it and/or make our sites better places for visitors (and us). Finger pointing gets zip done. Each of us can do something - or something more.
User avatar
By zamuro
#388874
the enthusiasm for adventure takes a back seat to convenience all the time today.
I would say the PG folks are as as much of adventure seekers as HGs. Read some back issues of XC to see some pretty adventurous guys doing bol-vivouac in the Himalayas. The red-Bull Alp crossing competition seems like pretty adventurous too. And I guess the possibility of a collapse make every flight more of an adventure.
It is harder to plan adventurous flights in new and remote places when you can't even put your wing in a plane or carry it around in unhospitable terrain.
Last edited by zamuro on Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By ChattaroyMan
#388875
zamuro wrote:
the enthusiasm for adventure takes a back seat to convenience all the time today.
I would say the PG folks are as as much of adventure seekers as HGs. Read some back issues of XC to see some pretty adventurous guys doing bol-vivouac in the Himalayas. The red-Bull Alp crossing competition seems like pretty adventurous too. And I guess the possibility of a collapse make every flight more of an adventure.
It is harder to plan adventurous flights in new and remote places when you can't even put your wing in a plane or carrying it around in unhospitable terrain.
One of the limiters of hangs vs. paras, at least in current hang designs, is the area we hang pilots need for landing. Paras can get down in a heck of a lot more places than a hang can. If I wanted to do the remote-est of flying I'd be learning how to fly a para. As it is I still pioneer plenty of sites in N Central and NE WA with a hang. I can get near or to launches by vehicle. What limits most of my site candidates are LZs within glide and near roads. I'm not getting any younger either :)
By rdufokker
#388886
[quote="Dreamweaver"]One contributer to the decreasing numbers is the cost. I've heard and seen countless young, interested people walk away before getting started, because they couldn't afford it. Most young people just don't have the funds unless mommy and daddy help out.
Another thing I've noticed is that sometimes the process of going from no experience to a h2 is longer then one expects. Granted it's not something to be rushed, and it really doesn't take very long generally. However, some people can rarely get off work, or life, long enough to complete the training in a couple weeks or months. Add to that the fact that the weather isn't always going to be conducive to learning. I've met quite a few people who frustratingly tell me they have been trying to get their h2 for over a year.[/quote]

Gotta call bs on this one. The average age of a skydiver is less than HG pilots. I see dozens and dozens of skydivers each weekend spend at least $250. Thats $1000 per month. Then they will spend an hour or two in a wind tunnel @ $1000 per hour. These youth have the money to spend, but the convenience of drop zones vs LZ's is telling.
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By Nicos
#388887
I just think society is is much more fearful about most everything these days — kids are less inclined to go outside, they get dropped off and picked up from school for fear of being abducted or whatever. People are happy to stay in the cozy bubble suit rather than assess and address perceived danger.

I think people rationalize fear less and less. And we know humans make terrible decisions when driven by fear. So it makes sense that HG is dropping away, it requires some commitment and is said to be way more dangerous than watching TV or playing some online game in a dark room.

PG on the other hand seems like a much safer sport (slower flying-launching-landing), is often much more convenient, and stupidly quick and easy to learn. They don't understand that PGs collapse and plummet in mid-air, and that pilots need to learn and maintain recovery skills whilst actually being in the air...

The problem with having an airframe is it doesn't fit into a backpack.
By old newbie
#388889
Dreamweaver wrote:One contributer to the decreasing numbers is the cost. I've heard and seen countless young, interested people walk away before getting started, because they couldn't afford it. Most young people just don't have the funds unless mommy and daddy help out.
Another thing I've noticed is that sometimes the process of going from no experience to a h2 is longer then one expects. Granted it's not something to be rushed, and it really doesn't take very long generally. However, some people can rarely get off work, or life, long enough to complete the training in a couple weeks or months. Add to that the fact that the weather isn't always going to be conducive to learning. I've met quite a few people who frustratingly tell me they have been trying to get their h2 for over a year.
Cost, really trying that again? Have you looked at other sports and what people are doing with their leisure time? 4 wheel atv's and motorcycles that are $7-17k, bicycles 3-10k are common
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388892
Young people are not greatly different than young people of forty years ago. It's just that those now old people can't see that.

Strong schools surrounded by a community of pilots are just as successful today as they were thirty years ago.

Hang gliding is local.
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