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User avatar
By red
#400996
jessicataylor wrote:
Sat Jun 11, 2016 2:22 am
Fear with heights weakens me at some places.
Jessica,

As you gain experience, that problem will fade out. Some places really demand respect, due to weather and turbulence, and you should consider that concern as a healthy response. You should not expect to be safe as close to a rugged mountain as you might be to a smooth sand dune - the air is very different between the two. For some places, I want 200 yards (meters) or more of open air between the mountain and me. I do not relax after launch until I am safely away from rugged terrain.

Also, oxygen can be an issue. Moving and flying at high altitudes can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and assorted mental issues. If you know your limits are about 10000 feet (930m) MSL, feel free to don the oxygen gear when near that limit, even when riding to launch or (especially) when setting up the glider. People who live at high altitudes may be okay there, but that may not be true for you, if you have been living at very low altitudes. A vague sense of dread or lack of confidence can be one sign of oxygen deficiency. It takes a few weeks or months to get a low-land pilot acclimated to the thin air of the high plains and higher mountains, but it will happen. Some sort of reasonable (gentle) exercise program can help, as will a healthy diet.

Hang tough. If you have concerns, it is healthy to discuss them here, or with experienced local pilots. We all share your dream. 8)
User avatar
By TjW
#401001
Jessica: It's all in how you think about it.
Rather than thinking of altitude as how far you might fall, try thinking of it as clearance.
You'll have to travel a long way to run into something. So in an emergency you'll have a lot of time to figure out how not to run into it.
In being taught the tradeoff between speed and altitude, you'll hear "Altitude is like money in the bank, speed is like money in your pocket." Learn to enjoy having a big bank account.
User avatar
By mtpilot
#401005
When I tell people I hang glide, the universal response is they would never consider it because of fear of heights. Fear
is a strange thing. I am more worried about falling off a ladder than hang gliding thousands of feet above the ground.
To be sure both demand awareness and respect, but I do find a peace of mind being a mile above all the people trying
to cause problems for me. Hang gliding is a mental, emotional and physical challenge and that is why we are drawn to it.
User avatar
By TjW
#401006
I generally reply that most people are afraid of falling, not height.
But it doesn't really matter. There's lots of people who have convinced themselves that they can't do anything, and I find I've got less and less interest in trying to convince them otherwise.
User avatar
By Skyvine
#401017
red wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:15 am
Also, oxygen can be an issue. Moving and flying at high altitudes can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and assorted mental issues. If you know your limits are about 10000 feet (930m) MSL, feel free to don the oxygen gear when near that limit, even when riding to launch or (especially) when setting up the glider. People who live at high altitudes may be okay there, but that may not be true for you, if you have been living at very low altitudes. A vague sense of dread or lack of confidence can be one sign of oxygen deficiency.
Oxygen, or the lack thereof, has a significant impact on high-altitude flight. One small correction to Red's unbiased and useful info above (Thanks Red!); 10,000 ft. MSL = 3,048 meters.

Jessica's issue may be related to relative altitude AGL vs. actual altitude MSL. I have found myself getting "uncomfortable" and even slightly disoriented on flights to high AGL altitudes when I haven't done so in a while. I have ascribed the feelings to lack of recent acclimation and not fully trusting my senses and the glider to know which way is actually "up." The feeling is most likely to arise for me when high over flatlands in hazy cloudless conditions. This feeling quickly passes as the flight progresses, and doesn't return on subsequent flights unless I take more than a few months between high altitude AGL flights. As others have expressed above, I expect Jessica will grow more comfortable with each successive flight to high AGL altitudes. Good on ya, Jessica!

As to the effects of oxygen deprivation, I will relate one anecdote from the 1980's when use of O2 in HG was just starting. A USHGA (at the time) National Champion related to me how after many xc and competition flights in the Owens Valley, he got an O2 system. First flight he used it scared the heck out of him. He had been so oxygen deprived before that he never really "noticed" the turbulence or how high he was actually getting. Adequate oxygen is necessary for proper brain functioning. If that's what you are looking for ;-)

Good lift!
User avatar
By red
#401019
Skyvine wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:09 pm
Oxygen, or the lack thereof, has a significant impact on high-altitude flight. One small correction to Red's unbiased and useful info above (Thanks Red!); 10,000 ft. MSL = 3,048 meters.
Skyvine,

Right you are! Guess that was my gutter-ball, or Persian Flaw, for the day. :lol: I was in Areas, instead of Distances, on my calculator. I should have caught that.
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