New Pilot Looking For Recommendations

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

Going to throw my 2c into this - take what I say with a grain of salt, just posting my personal experience.

2010 was my first season flying, with lessons taken at a local flight park that does static towing. I have a PPL so I was already comfortable in the air. My progression went with about 3 sessions on Condor at which point my instructor put me on falcon. At this point gliders were included as part of training package I bought.

At about 2 hours of airtime I started to realize that while falcon was great fun to fly, I wanted a little more performance that it couldnt provide. Since I live in flatlands that are often fairly windy, falcon just didn't give me sufficient options to explore - the penetration wasn't there when winds were blowing, I couldn't even reach a house thermal nearby most of the time. My instructor was strongly pushing me getting a falcon, but I made a compelling argument and he ordered a sport 2 for me. By the time I got it I was at 5 hours and transitioned to fly it with no issues at all. Personally I'm glad I bought it as my first glider as based on the topography of where I fly (totally flat) and local wind patterns the difference in performance made a big difference, while it wasn't that much harder to fly then the falcon. I can actually afford to drift with a thermal downwind and still know that with VG I can get back upwind back to the field.

HOWEVER, looking back at it I wouldn't ever recommend buying one without taking lessons on single surface (condor/falcon). My point is it might be better to get professional instruction from a school and evaluating your skills on their gliders first. The first few flight on condor were crucial in my opinion as it made me realize that no matter how many books you read or mentally prepare yourself, there still some skills that depend on muscle memory and you gotta develop feel for yourself.
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Scare!
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Post by Scare! »

[quote="ACLaversa"](Re: your chart)[/quote]You can ignore pretty much all of those numbers (and this is coming from a numbers-kind-of-guy).

The only metric that really matters for you is [b]handling[/b], and we don't have a good way of quantifying that. (Sure, there's roll rate, pitch pressure, etc., but either too much or too little of any isn't good.)

Stay with the newest generation of gliders, they handle way better than the old designs. The Atlas is light for it's size, but it's an old design.

Get one that has the right weight range for you, of course.

Low stall speed is good, makes for easier launches & more forgiving landings. The stall speeds for all the latest-generation beginner/intermediate gliders are all pretty much the same.

Your training should be on a trainer of course, like a Condor or a large Falcon, your instructor should have something suitable. Once you know how to fly, get yourself a Falcon that's the right size for you (not excessively large like what's best for your first floaty lessons, and not a small one, you're not ready for racing yet), or something similar if you can't get one of those.

Light weight is good too but only in that it makes (ground) handling a little easier, until you know how to do it with minimum effort anyway.

Your progression to being an awesome pilot will be faster if you [b]don't[/b] jump on to a hot ship too soon, that would actually slow you down a lot. It's not the gliders that win competitions, it's the [u]pilots[/u]!


Oh yeah, and beginner/intermediate gliders hold their resale value very well, because the market's not flooded with them. Generally a pilot will only ever buy one of those, as opposed to used high performance gliders that are a dime a dozen because we change them more often than we change our "lucky T-shirts".
Last edited by Scare! on Thu, Jan 20 2011, 11:51:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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ACLaversa
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Post by ACLaversa »

Thanks Scare! I will take your well worded advice into account.

Also for those wondering, I may end up simply speaking to the guys over at Morningside about my instruction and glider purchase. Thankfully, some of them are listed on the USHPA website .
Forever in the shadow of a true pilot, C.A. Laversa 1950 -
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Gotandem
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Post by Gotandem »

Cool to see how someone with what seems like a real interest in hang gliding is shown how to start by knowledgeable people...
Thanks Davis for facilitating this. And of course Jim and all others who took the time to explain things.
Bart
P.S. I just got this warm feeling about our flying community...
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Scare!
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Post by Scare! »

No problemo. Become a pilot first, and worry about those few points of performance, and the coolness factors, later. A real pilot can not only make a barn door fly, but he'll get the maximum performance out of it too!
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Fred Wilson
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Post by Fred Wilson »

Gotandem wrote:Cool to see how someone with what seems like a real interest in hang gliding is shown how to start by knowledgeable people... Thanks Davis for facilitating this. And of course Jim and all others P.S. I just got this warm feeling about our flying community...
Me too, Scare and Davis. Thank you ever so much for these forums and the great services that have been the result.

Scare:
I think Jim Rooney's advice (in particular) and etc. (+ the quotes which are flat out the best I have readâ€&brvbar this on a very common topic to pop up repeatedly on all similar forums.

How about making this classic in the making into a Stickie? (Which stays at the top of thread for ever..) IMHO Well worth it for this topic and its posts!

PS ACLaversa
Scare! here is another one of our sky gods. In addition to being the website guru here on the Oz Report, he also runs the HPAC website (brutal big job, with its built in database) is one of our HPAC Past Presidents and is one heck of a good instructor up here to boot.
Last edited by Fred Wilson on Sun, Jan 23 2011, 08:03:17 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Jim Rooney
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Post by Jim Rooney »

Oh, sorry... should have expanded on the "tail heavy" comment... This is a ground handling remark and very very minor.
It feels a bit tail heavy when you're holding it on your shoulders, nothing more.
It's not a comment on how it flies.
The Falcon by contrast balances a bit more evenly.
This is all a bit nit picky.

I'm glad to see a well thought out approach btw. Too often we get people searching for the answers that they want to hear. Instead, it seems like you're actually listening. Kudos.

My favourite story about Ron...
I was sitting around hemming and hawing about flying one day. The wind seemed a bit strong and I wasn't impressed by the forecast (oh how little I knew!)... when Ron came over to "roust the troops", I was concerned that he'd taken too many happy pills. When I answered his "Come on, let's go" with "I don't know about the weather man"... I remember his response oh so clearly...
"Are you f*cking NUTS?!" (he did go into more detail afterwards btw)
Ok... Ron was telling me to fly... I must have something wrong... so I setup.
109 miles later, I was waiting for a ride back to Quest.
Cheers mate.

Ok... back to the list.
Yup, I think they're all winners (it's late, I'm not double checking the gliders I don't know... the ones I do are solid though)

So the question really at this point (for me) would be service and support.
I'm always telling people to buy locally.
I tell Aussies to get Funs and US to get Falcons (for example).
No point in buying something from far far away when all you're really looking for is a basic glider.

Good luck man.
Beware Ron's "Analysis Paralysis". I suspect you've just got a lot of winter time on your hands... but do keep that in mind anyway.

Jim
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ACLaversa
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Post by ACLaversa »

Scare! wrote: A real pilot can not only make a barn door fly, but he'll get the maximum performance out of it too!
^^^This was a great quote...one for the books...or a future sig.^^^
Jim Rooney wrote: I'm glad to see a well thought out approach btw. Too often we get people searching for the answers that they want to hear. Instead, it seems like you're actually listening. Kudos.
Thanks, it can be hard to detach yourself and try to absorb what you can openly when your just starting out, no matter the topic/activity. I am just glad to have the support and knowledge base.
Jim Rooney wrote: Ok... back to the list.
Yup, I think they're all winners (it's late, I'm not double checking the gliders I don't know... the ones I do are solid though)
I'm glad to hear it! I like when things come together..and I feel I am making progress, no matter how small. Also I hope that the review comments I posted will be useful in the case that this topic does become a sticky.
Jim Rooney wrote: No point in buying something from far far away when all you're really looking for is a basic glider.
Great point, I would hate to have a rough time at the LZ during training and wait 3 weeks for replacement parts
Jim Rooney wrote: Good luck man.
Beware Ron's "Analysis Paralysis". I suspect you've just got a lot of winter time on your hands... but do keep that in mind anyway.
As is the case, trust me, if I was not getting buried in snow I would be outside checkin' out the cloud formations for practice while I read. Plus, I will always be detail oriented, it is a gift and a curse...but I also tend to pay more attention to the things other people miss. With any luck that will help me save myself from absentminded trouble while preparing for, or during flight.
Forever in the shadow of a true pilot, C.A. Laversa 1950 -
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ACLaversa
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Post by ACLaversa »

*Modified* - I changed my post containing the review and glider comments to include three quotes to specific OZ Report Blog posts (shortened)

I felt they really gave me a feel for the gliders from an experts view, and that it would be a great addition for future readers.

Also thanks for making this a sticky, that is a real honor. I really hope we can make this thread a great resource for other greenhorns.
Forever in the shadow of a true pilot, C.A. Laversa 1950 -
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Christian Williams
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Post by Christian Williams »

A sticky for newcomers? Oh goo! I mean, Oh goooood.

Article on knee-hanger harnesses and how to get the most out of them:

http://shga.com/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic. ... nee+hanger

Discussion of pod harnesses and the transition to them:

http://shga.com/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic. ... nee+hanger

How to fly smart? Study the stupid mistakes all the rest of us have made:

SHGA (Los Angeles) accidents and Incidents:

http://shga.com/forum/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=3

[Added later, in response to:
You inadvertently posted the same url for the Knee Hanger and Pod Threads.
Too many articles up there to fish through. Could you please edit your post putting in the updated and correct url for the Pod Harness story?
Plus, insert %20 for the space left between knee hanger AND Pod harness so the url's work.


These links work fine for me, even when signed out of the SHGA forum, so I'm unable to make any improvement. They are not duplicate links--CW)]
Last edited by Christian Williams on Wed, Jan 26 2011, 12:54:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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