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Hang Gliding

FMI: U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

We’ve all seen TV clips of hang glider pilots jumping off of cliffs in an attempt to “catch air” under the synthetic fabric wings of their flying machines. There is much more to it than that, but the basic principle still applies. Once sufficient speed is attained, a hang glider pilot, who literally hangs in a harness, controls the flight by shifting his or her weight in relation to a fixed horizontal control bar. Landing is made with a landing flare in which the angle of attack is increased just before touchdown, much as in any other fixed-wing aircraft. Ground training usually begins in a suspended harness where the student pilot learns to make the necessary control inputs. Initial aerial training might be done in a larger hang glider with a side-by-side harness (for student and instructor) and with “training wheels” attached to the frame of the hang glider to allow for belly landings.

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