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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 johnmusto
#388694
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 ?
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388695
Yup.
User avatar
By mbadley
#388698
There is a certain amount of people that will enter a sport or hobby, seriously hit it, and then drop out after about 5 years. There are a certain amount that 'age out' or just plain drop it due to medical reasons. They love the sport - just can't handle the rigors anymore. There are some that get killed - pilot no mo'. Others quit due to family or job pressures and relocation.

Then there are the old dogs that will be buried with their harnesses on and a glider shortpacked in the coffin.

I believe the dwindling numbers are a reflection of a LOT of things, but mainly due to the lack of ready, low cost instruction and nearby training hills - and most significantly, the growth of the paragliding sport which directly competes against HG for pilots. Say what you want about 'bi-wingual' or crossover - PG pilots are PG, HG pilots are HG and the twain don't meet.
User avatar
By johnmusto
#388701
The numbers are total membership , with 1,100 of those pilots being HG/PG pilots
User avatar
By patrick halfhill
#388702
I think the internet is the downfall of hang gliding. People are silly enough to search the internet about it and see cool videos with existing pilots bashing it and think "too much drama for me".
#388719
Flyboy5131 wrote:Maybe we have over regulated ourselfs and there are no instructors left? :crazy:
Yes, yes, exactly right! USHPA put such a stranglehold on instructors in the 1990's by allowing a BOD dominated by big hang gliding schools to enact regulations without the ability to fulfill them, that nowadays we are seeing the consequences of those policies.

As long as USHPA coffers stay full by incoming paraglider membership gains compensating for outgoing hang glider membership losses, there is little incentive for the Ass. to do anything about it.

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By once&future
#388720
I was a certified instructor from 1988 to 2003. While there were some regulatory changes during this time I didn't really perceive any great difficulty in maintaining my certification, and left instructing because of issues unrelated to USHGA.

During that time, however, our demographic collapse was already evident. The average age of HG pilots was somewhere in the late 20s or early 30s when I started instructing and was well into the 40s when I stopped. I believe it's in the mid-50s by now.

While the current regulatory environment and its associated costs would certainly discourage me from instructing again I'm pretty sure that factors larger than USHGA policies are behind our dwindling numbers.
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388722
Please stop piercing Rodger's ideological bubble. His current life depends on it.
User avatar
By mgarnett
#388749
Sports go through cycles. The generation from the 70s and 80s is retiring but there are lots of eager younger pilots like myself and others who are hooked and will keep the flame alive. It's going to be OK.
User avatar
By HGXC
#388766
I think the philosophical and psychological make up of the last few generations has younger people doing less big adventurer stuff. The wish to fly, the will to learn and develop skills and the perceived availability of instruction has slowed down interest.

This is true in general aviation and each slice (power, glider, hang glider) is facing this.

One thing about Hang Gliding is ..its not new anymore......Those of us that grew up on gliding as a key part of our lives got caught up in the "new" when we were young.

Perhaps a generation will come again that believed in flight and experiencing the world from above.

Dennis
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388769
"Kids these days," said some Greek in 500 BC.
User avatar
By mbadley
#388770
I don't know. I'm kind of staying back on this although I have started typing a response several times. Aviation, in general, has become restricted and uninviting to new pilots. There are a multitude of reasons why HG doesn't grow - and everybody has their opinions. I agree that the 'virtual reality' world has provided an alternative for thrill seekers, site encroachment, insurance and legal issues, cost factors, profitability for schools, etc. all play a factor - but I see PG on the rise and a big threat to HG numbers which continue to dwindle. PG's tend to be in the public eye more as they are flying more sites closer to populated areas than HG's. As PG's get into more and more trouble (particularly the powered ones) and people don't see them as different from HG's, it will continue to hurt membership. I don't see HG as any safer than PG statistically, but they sure seem to get into more trouble. It's just sad that we can't convert more of the PG group over to HG instead of the other way around.

Anyway, lots going on here. I'm just glad to still have good equipment, good friends and plenty of places to fly and will continue to do so, no matter how few we become.
User avatar
By Alan
#388782
I'm not that anxious to add to this topic that never seems to end but I did have a tangental question.

With market numbers like these how do Wills Wing and North Wing and whatever other domestic manufacturers there are find enough customers to survive?
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388787
Wills Wing sales number have been constant for a number of years in the US. Their international sales were way up when the dollar was fairly priced. Now that it is high they have lost 25% of their business.
User avatar
By RobertKesselring
#388791
Alan wrote:With market numbers like these how do Wills Wing and North Wing and whatever other domestic manufacturers there are find enough customers to survive?
Northwing is heavy into the trike business.

I have a feeling, going forward, that if these companies are going to survive, they are going to have to expand their product lines to serve other sports.
User avatar
By HGXC
#388794
davisstraub wrote:Wills Wing sales number have been constant for a number of years in the US. Their international sales were way up when the dollar was fairly priced. Now that it is high they have lost 25% of their business.

Fairly priced?

Its market driven except in China....

Dennis
User avatar
By davisstraub
#388796
It is driven by sentiments that have no rational market connection.

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