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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 Takeo77
#388893
davisstraub wrote: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.
I do think there's something to that, I will say most definitely need to get a foot in the ass to get going. I wish I had started in my 20s instead of my 30s.
User avatar
By Nicos
#388894
I'd say the world for young people today is a whole lot different to how it was 30 years ago. Much more fearful, much more screen time.
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388895
Old people always think this about young people. This has never changed.
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388896
The percentage of young people who take up hang gliding has always been a very small number, basically negligible. Any thoughts about the vast number of young people is irrelevant.
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388897
I started when I was 38 years old. I started when I had a way to start.
User avatar
By Nicos
#388898
davisstraub wrote:Old people always think this about young people. This has never changed.
Yes of course, but a young person's lifestyle has changed a lot in that time, more staying inside, less going outside. When I was a boy I would run around anywhere without fear, these days things are very different for most.

I think the differences are quite stark, and are having a real effect.
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388899
Again anecdotal statements about young people in general are irrelevant because those who find out that they want to be hang glider pilots are by far the exception and so small in number as to not be identifiable.
User avatar
By TjW
#388908
I agree with Davis. Learning to fly is about having the opportunity to learn to fly.
In the boom days, pretty much anyone could take someone out and let them try flying. More people trying meant more people staying with it.
Unfortunately, there was an awful lot of bad information about hot to fly around as well.

The "only official instructors" model has helped with the bad information, but it has also cut down on the opportunities to learn to fly. Now there are large swaths of the U.S. that don't really have the opportunity to try it. You have to go somewhere else, which only reinforces the idea that hang gliding is out of reach for most people.

I don't think cost is really the issue. If you hang around enough, trying to learn to fly, deals become available. Pilots will loan someone stuff, or sell stuff at a lower price to someone they are pretty sure will use it reasonably.
Because generally, around most sites, it's a community.

I'm not sure what the answers could be at this late date. I lean more toward a mentor-observer system, where a mentor can't sign off his own students. But I doubt that will happen, because right now, to help someone learn to fly at an insured site, you have to be an instructor, even if you're not charging.
By Dreamweaver
#388928
davisstraub wrote:The percentage of young people who take up hang gliding has always been a very small number, basically negligible. Any thoughts about the vast number of young people is irrelevant.
Well Davis, the thing is that we are talking about a dying sport. Just because the sport hasn't relied on young people as a majority doesn't mean they are irrelevant. When talking about young people getting into the sport what we are really talking about is how to click into a previously untapped market.
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388929
I suggest actually reading what I wrote. Understanding also helps. (Here's a clue - percentage of what exactly?)

BTW, all aviation has been losing membership.
User avatar
By combat.is.hell
#388935
davisstraub wrote:BTW, all aviation has been losing membership.
And to put things into perspective: all non-profit sports clubs have been losing membership except football (at least in Sweden). So the problem is not only affecting air sports but all possible sports and activities. Except football as already mentioned.
User avatar
By kjtalarsky
#388955
Here's my 2 cents. It was 90 miles (one way) to the training site. I loved it but the time demands were brutal, having a job and such. In my next life I will be a single, pilot bum. LOL!
By freeflight
#388958
I imagine online gaming is having an impact on all outdoor activity.
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388959
I imagine that board games such as Monopoly are having an impact. Those kids should be out getting the horse hooked up to the plow.
User avatar
By omnomshark
#388968
Seriously? Every time I read one of these threads I hear the same stupid thing about "young kids." WHY would ANYONE want to hang around a bunch of stinky old men who do nothing but complain about "young kids" being fearful and lazy without every having really known any of them? I mean, seriously. You guys talk more about the flights that you have had, then the flights you want to have, or could have, or are planning!

YOU guys are part of the reason HG is dying(part, not all). Who cares if it's not the old days? Who cares if things are different? That part isn't going to change. Truthfully, NO ONE should want to go back to the old days, when no one knew what was going on and all of your flying friends were dying. Stop glorifying it, because if it really was so great, it wouldn't have changed. So for the love of flying, stop complaining and DO SOMETHING different. Do Anything. Anything different at all.

If the cost is expensive, pull together a collection of old airworthy falcons h2's can rent at your local site. If the lessons are expensive, start a work/trade program for driving or mowing the lawn of the site. If the community is weak, take a hang1 or hang2 on a roadtrip, or have special low hour competitions. OR have club meetings that don't blow my brain out of boredom. If exposure is low, set up a hang glider simulator at a community event and offer a free run down the hill. If it's too hard to learn, maybe your 30 years of teaching is just 30 years of bad teaching.

OR HEY. ASK A YOUNG PERSON HOW THEY STAYED IN THE SPORT.

JUST STOP COMPLAINING. STOP IT. IT'S ANNOYING. STOP BEING OLD. START BEING RELEVANT. ..

or useful, or supportive, or creative, or kind, or exciting, or adventurous, or really anything other than just old. Because old dies. and if HG is as old as you guys are making it sound, it's going to die.
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388971
Make Hang Gliding Great Again
User avatar
By HGXC
#389003
davisstraub wrote:I started when I was 38 years old. I started when I had a way to start.
Do you have the stats from 1974? That is when I started an it certainly seemed that most pilots were within 10 years of my age (23) at that time.

There have been many studies about different generations and how they spend their time.

Dennis
User avatar
By entelin
#389295
I am 35 and been flying almost a year now. Here's my hypothesis for what it's worth. I imagine hanggliding initially attracted a great number of thrill seekers and risk takers, it was genuinely almost suicidal, and while the sport has become substantially safer, that reputation stuck.

In the meantime crazier sports like base jumping, wing suits, and so on likely have attracted a good number of people who hanggliding would have attracted in the past.

While at the same time of course PG's with their lower cost of entry, convenience, and perceived safety have attracted many of the "I just love to fly" type of pilots. By the numbers the two are similar in danger, however PG never gained the reputation hanggliding did, and while skydiving and PG don't have much in common I think PG inherits much of skydiving's public perception because they look similar to the casual observer.

This leaves HG in a difficult spot, on one hand it doesn't tend to attract the suicidal thrill seekers, and on the other hand the general reputation for extreme danger puts people off before they bother trying it and PG tends to snap these people up.

As for my personal anecdote: I've wanted to fly since I was very young. When I lived in Phoenix I briefly looked into HG, casually mentioning it to some friends and family and got some pushback about how dangerous it was. I wasn't serious about it and so I let myself get talked out of it. 10 years ago or so I got my pilots license and flew a cessna 150 for awhile, I actually brought HG up with my flight medical doctor saying I wanted to try it and he pretty much said "Oh no, don't do that I know a bunch of people that got hurt badly hanggliding" he was in his 70's. Again, I wasn't attached to the idea and hadn't really looked into it at all, so again let myself be talked out of it. A little over a year ago now I was browsing around youtube and got to watching a bunch of hanggliding videos. Specifically Greg Porter's XC flight from Migus to Meteor crator, as well as one of a guy thermalling amidst clouds. Those video's hooked me, it was something I was going to do regardless of risk. A couple weeks later I was a H2 despite having to drive 4.5 hrs each way every weekend.

In my case It was HG instead of PG because for one I didn't know about PG, and other than that it kinda looks silly :D

-----------------

So in short, I think HG's primary issue is the undeserved reputation that still sticks to it since the 70's. Everything Davis said is pretty much spot on, HG is local and young pilots are an anomaly, most start in their 30's-40's.

If I were going to start a flight park, I would advertise to GA pilots and skydivers. Most GA pilots get into it because they have always wanted to fly and it's the obvious way to go about it. However you have to make your own fun (100$ hamburger run, or meetup's etc), with hanggliding the fun is built in, and certainly for me resembles more of what my dreams are like than flying GA aircraft.
By old newbie
#389297
Lower cost of entry for paragliding? Really so harnesses, reserves, wings and instruction are more for hang gliding? While high performance hangs cost more you can replace the fabric.
entelin wrote:I am 35 and been flying almost a year now. Here's my hypothesis for what it's worth. I imagine hanggliding initially attracted a great number of thrill seekers and risk takers, it was genuinely almost suicidal, and while the sport has become substantially safer, that reputation stuck.

In the meantime crazier sports like base jumping, wing suits, and so on likely have attracted a good number of people who hanggliding would have attracted in the past.

While at the same time of course PG's with their lower cost of entry, convenience, and perceived safety have attracted many of the "I just love to fly" type of pilots. By the numbers the two are similar in danger, however PG never gained the reputation hanggliding did, and while skydiving and PG don't have much in common I think PG inherits much of skydiving's public perception because they look similar to the casual observer.

This leaves HG in a difficult spot, on one hand it doesn't tend to attract the suicidal thrill seekers, and on the other hand the general reputation for extreme danger puts people off before they bother trying it and PG tends to snap these people up.

As for my personal anecdote: I've wanted to fly since I was very young. When I lived in Phoenix I briefly looked into HG, casually mentioning it to some friends and family and got some pushback about how dangerous it was. I wasn't serious about it and so I let myself get talked out of it. 10 years ago or so I got my pilots license and flew a cessna 150 for awhile, I actually brought HG up with my flight medical doctor saying I wanted to try it and he pretty much said "Oh no, don't do that I know a bunch of people that got hurt badly hanggliding" he was in his 70's. Again, I wasn't attached to the idea and hadn't really looked into it at all, so again let myself be talked out of it. A little over a year ago now I was browsing around youtube and got to watching a bunch of hanggliding videos. Specifically Greg Porter's XC flight from Migus to Meteor crator, as well as one of a guy thermalling amidst clouds. Those video's hooked me, it was something I was going to do regardless of risk. A couple weeks later I was a H2 despite having to drive 4.5 hrs each way every weekend.

In my case It was HG instead of PG because for one I didn't know about PG, and other than that it kinda looks silly :D

-----------------

So in short, I think HG's primary issue is the undeserved reputation that still sticks to it since the 70's. Everything Davis said is pretty much spot on, HG is local and young pilots are an anomaly, most start in their 30's-40's.

If I were going to start a flight park, I would advertise to GA pilots and skydivers. Most GA pilots get into it because they have always wanted to fly and it's the obvious way to go about it. However you have to make your own fun (100$ hamburger run, or meetup's etc), with hanggliding the fun is built in, and certainly for me resembles more of what my dreams are like than flying GA aircraft.
User avatar
By red
#389299
entelin wrote:If I were going to start a flight park, I would advertise to GA pilots and skydivers. Most GA pilots get into it because they have always wanted to fly and it's the obvious way to go about it. However you have to make your own fun (100$ hamburger run, or meetup's etc), with hanggliding the fun is built in, and certainly for me resembles more of what my dreams are like than flying GA aircraft.
Campers,

I agree. When I was living near a big USAF base, most of the active American HG pilots flew our hot fighters during the week. They came out on weekends to "get some air under them," and fly like they dreamed of flying. I know an airline pilot who called his job "bus driving," and if he said he went flying on any given day, he went hang gliding.

"Flying in an airplane is like swimming in a boat." -UNKNOWN 8)

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