New Pilot Looking For Recommendations

A discussion restricted to the topic of hang gliding.
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Post by Ksykes »

I would suggest not agonizing too much over what to get for 1st glider. All the ones on Davis' list would be good. Things to think about besides flying characteristics are; availability of parts and service, resale value, size appropriate to your weight. If you go through all of those, kind of hard to go wrong with a new or used Falcon. Northwing would be good for the same reason. Assuming they open back up, Morningside always had several Falcons available. Otherwise, Ellenville, as I suggested earlier, has a couple of schools and dealerships. Not sure if there is anyone else in New England these days. Marc Fink, who posts here from time to time, teaches in Maine and I think is a WW dealer as well.
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Andrew Vanis
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Post by Andrew Vanis »

ACLaversa wrote:What I am worried about now [the instructor] will most likely suggest one that they sell...and that is just part of the marketing game.
Sound like instead of researching beginner gliders, you should be researching instructors.

Every one of the instructors I have had the pleasure of knowing would never sell an inappropriate glider so the odds are in your favor.

Like Davis said, there are several good beginner gliders and over all they are very close in design, safety, and performance so any of those makes/models would be just fine so it will just depend on what is available at the time you are ready to buy.

When you do get to the point of buying something and still have doubts, post up here with “My instructor wants me to buy____. I have this ____ experience. Does that sound reasonable?â€&#157

The first thing is, get to the training hill! Who knows, you might try it and decide it's not for you.
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Old Technology vs New Technology

Post by Cece »

ACLaversa wrote: "if at all possible I'd love to try my hand at flying an old Dragonfly as it was one of my fathers favorites"
It is my strong recommendation that you do not under any circumstances fly your fathers Dragonfly or any other gliders of that era. There is just no point relative to the damage you could do to yourself flying such old technology.

As far as first gliders go, just buy a Falcon. A Falcon 1, 2, or 3 doesn't matter. For the reasons everyone has advised but also because it is highly likely that your instructor will be training you on... a Falcon. So you won't have to transition to another model of glider.

On a more serious note, if you are a natural at a lot of other sports, you are also a natural candidate for Intermediate Syndrome down the road. Look it up in the hang gliding books you read.

Things can happen really fast in hang gliding. One second you are in what seems like pretty good control of your glider and the next second you find yourself about to pile into the trees while saying to yourself, "I can't believe this is actually happening."

This sort of thing has happened to probably every pilot here on this forum. But it's more an issue of experience... where the lack of experience didn't allow you to see that you were painting yourself into a corner where you are making a series of small but cumulative errors that are compounding without your awareness.

One of the "best" things that can happen to a new driver is to have a close enough call to really scare the crap out of the new driver. Hopefully you can have a few experiences where you scare yourself but without getting hurt.

The other thing about hang gliding is it is absolutely and utterly intoxicating... especially for a new pilot. I mean think about it; we ARE flying just like the birds. I've been flying for a very long time but I still look up at my wing on a regular basis and go, "I just can't believe what this thing allows me to do."

The problem is you are right out there in the open with no protection so the price you pay for screwing up can be huge. Just make a point of always staying way away from stuff. Learn to be super aggressive and a ridiculous perfectionist on your launches. That will get you away from stuff at the beginning of your flights.

And when you are flying, stay way away from the hill... even if it means sinking out and landing. And give yourself tons of room when making your approaches into landing areas. One of your biggest dangers is nicking a tree branch or some other obstacle when entering a landing area, tip stalling your glider further into the trees, and dropping in from between the trees from 50 to 100 feet.

I know I'm sounding morose here but these are the realities of the path you have decided to follow. There are amazing experiences out there in your hang gliding future. The only question is will you have the maturity and the humbleness to give yourself massive margins for error in all aspects of your flying until you have enough experience.

Oh, and by the way... welcome to our drug of choice.

- Andy
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Post by ACLaversa »

Yes, I grew up on an Ultralight airport for the first 13 years of my life. From a very young age I watched amazing pilots get seriously hurt or even loose their lives from a series of small, but stupid mistakes. I know what dangers and happiness I face going forward.

Perhaps I should be researching instructors (which will most likely be my next step, of many), but for now I like analysing the gliders that are on the market for a guy like me. All this is done not just for my own sake, but for those like me...otherwise there would be no point in posting in a thread...I could discuss it via PM with the experts of this site. Do not miss-understand me, I am a mature, intelligent, detail oriented and organized individual.

Now, moving forward, I get that all those gliders are, "ok", or even "interchangeable"...but that is just not good enough for me. I simply cannot believe that an entire forum of people who love this sport so much cannot help to really breakdown the small differences you will experience on the different beginner/novice gliders I have listed. How are new pilots supposed to gauge their first buy if they don't know their options. I think it is silly not to try and explain as much as possible so that judging that is not laid all on an instructor down the road. Help me flesh out, review and compare the gliders so that someone interested after me will have the reference material.

I have narrowed the same list down a bit and added all the specs. I could find to help the process all means if you know what one is that is blank inform me and I will gladly update the chart.
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Forever in the shadow of a true pilot, C.A. Laversa 1950 -
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Fred Wilson
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Post by Fred Wilson »

ACLaversa wrote:I am being steered hard toward instruction w/ glider included... ... I don't just snatch up what the instructor tells me to without knowing if it is truly the "right wing" for me. I know that in any such situation they will most likely suggest one that they sell...and that is just part of the marketing game. I care far more about what will be good for me in an overall sense verses what one man (the instructor) tells me.
Wrongo. Way wrong. This is not a game here for anybody. Our instructors to a man (or woman) are serious people with serious attitude in a serious business. 99.9% of their business is dependent upon word of mouth. They will never ever steer you into a wrong glider or any other gear for that matter. Plus the differences between all the big name companies products are minimal. Tiny factors. Not worth spending any time on at the novice level.

Your graph shows some serious attitude. Thumbs Up! But watch out, tecno dweeb is an early diversion into Intermediate Syndrome, for sure. The ONLY thing of ANY value in that whole shebang is hook in weight. Nada else 4 U. We had one nearby novice that went out and bought a whacking expensive flight deck GPS / vario / flight computer combo and flew quite unknowingly straight into a mountain face from way, way out. Eyes glued to the dweeb stuff instead of staying down to earth sensible. Classic story. "Learn from our mistakes, not your own... its way way easier on the pocket book and bones!"

Fred Wilson. Past HPAC Accident Review and Safety Officer: 1988 to 2003.
Last edited by Fred Wilson on Thu, Jan 20 2011, 01:58:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Fred Wilson
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Post by Fred Wilson »

ACLaversa wrote:I care far more about what will be good for me in an overall sense verses what one man (the instructor) tells me.
Wrong again. Way wrong. As other people have hinted at here, some exceptional students going through our great school system bypass owning the Falcon level gliders altogether and move straight on to the likes of the Sport 2. With your aviation background, if in fact you have acquired some really substantial hours in ultralights, that is a possibility. Your instructor will know you intimately and will know when and where to point you. That is when and only when you move on. Enjoy! Listen to your instructor here, not me. (Meaning no sliding back into looking into blade wings again. OK?) Focus hard down on one thing at a time. At your stage that is keeping your wings and nose level and having a smooth steady run. Nothing else matters at this day 1 - 10 stage. Nothing. Krikey. 35 years later and it is still #1 important. It is only after you are safely off and away that landing transitions into being #1 important.

The info overload that happens at this day 1 - 10 stage is that take off and landing are almost simultaneous.
- We have a nearby flying site that had a nice training hill right at the bottom. Pilots that blew their launch a bit off the high take off would land right by the training hill and pound it a few times to work the bugs out. Man you should have seen the scary situations even these oldies put themselves in with training hill info overload! (Me too, I launched unhooked and scared the gee gee sus crap out of myself. Brain could not grasp the difference between the training hill and a big cliff... it thought I was a goner for sure and split from me before it had to take any of my hurt!)

The USHPA (and in conjunction with foreign national associations) has spent 40 years plus developing our instructional system. It is really professional and really thorough. Not to worry at all, anywhere. Enjoy! Would that our State school systems had all had such good leadership and progress! Aviation education and schooling is a real world wide & interdisciplinary cooperation effort that others would do well to emulate.

Ie: You're reading Dennis Pagans books right now. Any idea how many languages these are printed in now? How many aviation disciplines use it now? Hazard a guess?

"Learn from our mistakes, not your own. Its way, way easier on the pocketbook and your bones!"

Quoting another "Sky God" Martin Henry:
"Amongst the crowd of wannabee's there are generally a few who truly have the thirst. I respect them all but its the "thirsty" ones are the only ones that will stay."
Last edited by Fred Wilson on Thu, Jan 20 2011, 08:15:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Ridgerodent »

1, A Falcon is the safest glider in the world. It can just barely kill you.

2,Listen to Jim's advice.

3, See # 2
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Sam Kellner
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Post by Sam Kellner »

ACLaversa wrote: Now I am on the SS hunt.
Maybe not this SS. I say Falcon, can't go wrong.

Welcome AC. Sounds like you will do fine. It's sorta like driving a loaded shopping cart. Push left to turn right. Push right to turn left.
Keep some airspeed.

Most of us that flew gliders of this design had graduated frome something with more billow.

Get in touch with some of the pilots/instructors in your area. Keep us posted.
U P Dragonfly  1-19-2011 7;37;48 PM.JPG
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Christian Williams
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Post by Christian Williams »

Buy a new SS glider from your instructor if you can afford it. It's a way of supporting the instructor and the manufacturer and new gear is nice and shiny.

However, private sales of (used) gliders are always much, much cheaper and any SS on Davis's list is fine.

If some guy tries to sell you his old double surface for $500, telling you you'll outgrow your SS glider in six weeks and might as well start with a "real glider", punch him in the teeth and then back over him in your car. Be careful his ass doesn't puncture your tires. In short, he's not your friend.
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Andrew Vanis
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Post by Andrew Vanis »

ACLaversa wrote:All this is done not just for my own sake, but for those like me...otherwise there would be no point in posting in a thread
If that is one of the objectives, then maybe change (go back and edit or ask Scare to do it) the title on this thread to somethign like - "New pilot looking for hang glider recomendations". Then we can find it in the search easier and just point the next "exceptional one" to this thread.

cool spread sheet. An upload of the spreadsheet file would be usefull.
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