Learning to fly a hang glider

It normally takes around ten days of flyable weather to train a would-be pilot to Club Pilot level, the minimum standard required to fly unsupervised with a recreational club.

Your instructor will show you how to rig and inspect the glider before you have your first short flight down a gentle slope. For the first day or two the glider will be restrained by tether ropes until you become adept at steering and controlling airspeed by moving your weight.

Then you’ll graduate to higher and longer flights, and be introduced to a limited amount of flying theory. This will usually be fitted in around your practical flying instruction, when the weather’s not so good. Once you’ve completed the appropriate tasks and passed a very simple theory exam, you’ll receive your Elementary Pilot award. This is the first step on the ladder of the BHPA Pilot Rating Scheme.

You’ll then progress onto a more sophisticated glider to continue your training, and a further 4 - 6 days of instruction should see you well on your way to completing your Club Pilot tasks. As things fall into place you’ll learn to soar, and stay up in favourable winds so you can make longer flights.

Then, subject to a good assessment from your instructor and passing a simple theory examination, you’ll receive your Club Pilot rating. This will allow you to start flying with your local recreational club, and progress towards more and more rewarding flying as your experience grows.