Hand gliding is an air sport which involves the harnessing of a pilot beneath a nine-meter sail. The pilot is required to stay aloft in the air using the thermals and air currents in the atmosphere. The long sail is made using a fabric which is stretched over an aluminum or graphite frame. The pilot has to change his/her position and the position of the A-frame as per his/her requirement to slow down or speed up, etc. The pilot is launched into the air in three ways. One way is the pilot faces the wind and runs down a slope until he/she is in the air and stays airborne. When there are no slopes to launch from, pilots are towed up behind a vehicle which accelerates until the pilot launches himself/herself into the air. Here are some tips for beginners in hand gliding.
- The passion and desire to soar in the sky are the most important aspects of hand gliding. The very idea of launching into the sky using your own techniques and brain and not a motor should make you learn the sport.
- Foot launch in hand gliding is the most essential part of the sport and you have to make sure that enough practice is done on the training hills.
- The first step in learning foot launch is running down the hill without looking down the hill.
- Be relaxed and comfortable with the sail. This is however, more easily said than done. It is very essential in learning crucial elements of hand gliding such as the curve or the take-off. Having a relaxed grip on the sail is also essential for easy movement.
- Running down the hill with the wings attached is much easier than running without the wings. Gravity plays its course on you while running down the hill and might make you stumble and fall but with wings, lifting forces are created which help you maintain balance while your feet continue pushing down the ground in the speed.
- Make sure your training hill has the perfect slope as uneven slopes like cliffs might make you lose balance while running for the launch.
- Your ability to gain airspeed has more to do with the slope of the training hill than your speed. Hence there are no minimum speed requirements when you are joining hand gliding training.4
- Before flying your hand gliding check the key areas in the hand glider such as the bolts, ropes, wires, battons, wing tips, etc. Check for symmetry and pre-flight harness ropes/straps too.
- Make sure you are careful with the changes in your glider like new gear changes, change in wires, tip tuning, mounting a camera, and sail.