Frequently Asked Questions

A hang gliding tandem lesson with a paraglider in the background

What time of year is the best to learn?

Jun-November. The point of the mountain is famous in the world of hang gliding for its reliable weather and training is possible year round. Jun-November tend to be the driest months in the Salt Lake City area but can be prone to high winds. December through May tend to be wetter but there are many periods of smooth winds that can be perfect for learning to fly. You can find a year round weather profile on our visiting pilots page.

Is there a weight limit?

Tandem passengers must be under 230 LBS. 

Training hill students must be between 110-270 LBS

A hang glider's flight characteristics are impacted by how much weight they are carrying. As weight is added to a glider it needs more airspeed to maintain controlled flight. This means it will need more speed in order to take off and will also land at a higher speed as well. We have determined that 230 LBS is the threshold at which our tandem instructors are able to reliably launch, fly and land a hang glider within an acceptable amount of risk. 

For training hill students we have two different gliders designed to safely carry people within certain weight ranges. Our Alpha 235 is rated to carry between 150 and 280 LBS our Alpha 180 is rated to carry between 120 and 150 LBS. Gliders have a minimum weight because pilots steer by moving their body weight, the lower the weight available there is to move the lower the impact control inputs will have on the glider. If you have 

How old do you have to be to take a tandem?

10 years old. In order to qualify for a 30 day temporary USHPA membership required to take a tandem flight participants must be 10 years of age.

How scary is it?

Most people are surprised by how comfortable they feel once they are in the air. Flying through the air in a hang glider is very smooth and people are often surprised about how much control the pilot actually has over the glider. While the glider can be maneuvered in a way that will take your breath away, our instructors will only do that if you tell them to. The experience is much more exhilarating than fear inducing, and its common for people who think they'll be too nervous to go flying to want to go up and do it again after they land. 

Many people's fear of heights comes from a fear of falling which causes anxiety around ledges or other high places. Hang gliding is popular among people trying to conquer a fear of heights because for many people that anxiety doesn't present itself even when flying thousands of feet over the ground. Many active hang glider pilots will tell you that they have a fear of heights themselves. 

Do I need to take lessons or get a rating to fly solo?

Legally no. Practically yes. Hang gliders qualify as ultralight aircraft per the FAA. The FAA has very few regulations that pertain to ultralight aircraft and doesn't require ultralight pilots to have any form of licensing. That said, almost ever established flying site requires pilots to have a USHPA issued rating to fly. Like with all forms of aviation receiving the recommended amount of training before trying to pilot a hang glider on your own is important to ensure your safety. Hang gliders are not complicated aircraft and they are fairly easy to pilot if you have adequate knowledge of the controls and flight characteristics. By foregoing qualified instruction people put themselves at risk of serious injury or death, even at low altitudes. 

Why learn hang gliding instead of paragliding?

If you can, you should learn both. We just think hang gliding is more fun. Both sports are incredibly rewarding in many similar and different ways and give their participants the freedom of flight. In the end they are different sports, and which one anyone prefers comes down to a matter of opinion.  

The two most significant practical differences between the two sports are pitch control and ease of transportation/ deployment. 

Hang gliders have a much greater range of pitch control allowing pilots more control and the ability to fly the glider at a wider range of speeds and operate in a wider range of conditions. BUT the necessity of effectively using pitch controls makes hang gliding slightly more difficult to learn. 

Paragliders can be significantly lighter than hang gliders and are much lower profile when properly packed. This makes them much easier to store, transport, or even hike with. BUT paragliders will degrade to the point they are no longer airworthy much quicker than a hang glider will, and will need to be replaced more frequently. 

Looking for more info?

Here are some links to excellent sources of information about Hang Gliding


USHPA info page


USHPA pilot resources


Wills Wing FAQ


NASA


FAA regulations

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Let us know if you have any other questions