As the name implies, you hang while you glide. It is almost too descriptive of the entire activity. It is when you are soaring high in the air that you discover there is more than just hanging and gliding in this sport. The wind component combines with the hang glider to make your own interesting flying adventure. Here are some hang gliding facts to tickle your mind.
1. Hang gliding dates back to the olden times when man became fascinated with flying thus the birth of aviation history. Otto Lilienthal built the first controllable gliders in the year 1890, he used wood and fabric. He tested his invention by leaping off a spring board.
2. Thermals, ridge lifts, mountain waves and convergence. Thermals are bubbles or columns of heated air. Thermal lifts are utilized by hang gliders especially during launching. Thermal lifts take place when the air is heated by the sun which makes it rise. Ridge lifts happen when the air hits a mountain a hill or a cliff. The air is redirected upwards causing lift. This kind of flying is also called slope soaring, because lift is given when the wind hits a vertical slope. Mountain waves is the vertical displacement of the wind. There are cloud indicators for this kind of conditions called wave clouds. Convergence is another form of lift utilized by hang gliders. It is a convergence of air masses.
3. Morning Glory a rare lift phenomenon that is utilized by Aussie hang gliders.
4. Gaggle. This is the term used for a group of pilots who fly together.
5. The Variometer. This is an electronic gadget that helps pilots perceive acceleration forces when they catch thermals, and have a hard time estimating invariable motion. This gadget helps pilots determine the climb and sink rates with a series of beeps.
6. Manfred Ruhmer holds the current world record for open distance hang gliding. He flew700km en route from Zapata to Lamesa in TX, USA.
7. Hang gliding has four lessons that mainly involve the act of launching a person to get some wind under his wing. These are, hill training which involves foot launch, aerotow in which the participant is towed by an ultralight aircraft, scooter tow in which a scooter is used to winch the participant aloft, and tandem flight where the instructor and student glide using one wing.
8. Altimeter is an instrument that depicts the riders’ altitude. This instrument is essential especially for cross country and long distance hang gliding.
9. The first foot launch of a hang glider in Australia was in 1972.
10. Francis Melvin Rogallo invented the Rogallo wing in 1948 which served as a blue print of the more modern hang gliders today.
So now you are in the know of 10 facts about hang gliding and as you get into the sport, be ready for more factoids that will surely be beneficial to your feat of flight.