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Is it better to go Tandem or take classes?


Posted by Dmitriy P.

i wanted to try hang gliding... but i'm not sure if i should take some classes and then go hang gliding on my own... or if it would be better to just go for a tandem flight?!
 
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Haha. This made me laugh and it's probably because I know nothing about hand gliding, so I assumed you were joking. In general, with adventure sports, I would have to say that it's always better to train before you try them. Because hand gliding is dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, I imagine. After all, you're at an incredible height, soaring over the tree tops. If you don't know what you're doing, you could be soaring into the tree tops and we don't want that to happen! I would say take a class, speak with a professional hand gliding instructor and only go tandem on your first run if that is something that they enthusiastically recommend. Otherwise, use all precautionary measures. I mean, I'd strap on a parachute. But that's just me.
Take a class. The best way to get started is to take a class at a hang gliding school, or from a private but certified instructor. Ask to see the instructors USHPA certification card (US hanggliding- paragliding association) The day usually starts with a ground school (orientation, perhaps a video, or an hour of class time). Then you go all day to a training hill -- like the bunny hill at a ski slope. On your first day, you learn to set up, ground handle (IE, run on the flat with the glider), and then run down the slope, get in the air, groundskim, and land. It is pretty exciting to be flying on your own the first time. After you get the taste for learning to fly, then you can sign up for a tandem flight with a tandem instructor. On that flight from a mountain top, you learn what it is like to be high and in control of the glider. You can learn to turn at a bank angle that you cannot use when you are close to the ground. And yes, all high altitude flights in a hang glider are done with a backup parachute. But you wouldn't expect ever to have to use it, especially in the gentle conditions that are used for training!
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