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Getting started hang gliding is one of the most exciting things you will ever do, but you want the right glider. These are the best hang gliders for beginners.
If you’re thinking about getting into hang gliding, you’re in the right place. But beginner pilots shouldn’t just seek out the most advanced, most expensive gliders on the market. Some hang gliders are better than others for learning the ropes and getting started on your journey. So let’s take a look at the best hang gliders for beginners.
The best hang gliders for beginners are ones that are relatively affordable and easy to fly. These include the Wills Wing Falcon 4, Moyes Malibu 2, North Wing Pulse, North Wing Horizon, Wills Wing Alpha.
Hang gliding is a popular sport, but it can be difficult for beginners. There are a lot of things to learn and master before you can successfully glide through the air. In this blog post, we will discuss some hang gliding tips for beginners. We will also talk about what makes a good hang glider for beginners and recommend some specific models that are perfect for novice pilots. Whether you're just starting out or you're looking for an upgrade, we've got you covered!
At Flight Notch, we want to provide you with nothing but the best content possible. To do this, we thoroughly research every topic we publish and discuss the topic with gliding enthusiasts from all over the world. This way, we’re able to give you the most accurate information possible. So when you come here looking for the best hang gliders for beginners, you’ll leave knowing exactly which gliders to get your hands on so you can start flying.
What Is Hang Gliding?
Hang gliding is one of the many extreme aerial sports in the world, often grouped together with things like paragliding, sailplane gliding, BASE jumping, and skydiving. While all of these sports have their own risks involved, hang gliding is typically referred to as one of the more relaxing extreme sports, with a bigger focus on enjoying the flight and taking in the amazing views rather than solely on an adrenaline rush.
In essence, hang gliding is like flying underneath a big kite. Most hang gliders consist of a rigid aluminum frame with a fabric wing that’s stretched tightly over the frame. Due to its shape and lightweight construction, hang gliders generate their own lift (just like the wings of an airplane) and soar into the air.
The biggest difference between hang gliding and other types of aviation, is that hang gliders do not have a motor or any other source of thrust. Instead, the gliders rely on wind, air movement, and their design to get you into the air and stay up there. While airborne, there is nothing else like hang gliding. It takes my breath away every time I’m up in the air doing what I love.
As you might have guessed, there is much more to hang gliding than this. So spend some time looking around the site and read some of our other articles that explain more about how hang gliding works in detail.
Is Hang Gliding Hard For Beginners?
This might be a bit of a cop-out, but yes and no. Hang gliding can be hard for beginners, but it's not impossible by any means. It takes a lot of skill and practice to be able to stay in the air for an extended period of time. However, with enough patience and dedication, anyone can learn how to hang glide.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Attend hang gliding school and/or take lessons from a certified hang gliding instructor. Everything will be much easier if you’re learning from someone with experience.
- Get comfortable with flying in low winds before trying anything else. This will help you build your confidence and increase your chances of staying in the air longer.
- Practice landing on different types of terrain. You'll need to be skilled at landing safely if you want to avoid crashing.
- Stay focussed and keep a cool head. One mistake can be disastrous in this sport, so make sure you're always aware of your surroundings and what you're doing.
While these tips and tricks are good to keep in mind, I strongly recommend you check out some of the other articles here on the site. We go into much greater detail about how hang gliding works and how you can get started with the sport in some of the other articles. So feel free to browse around and learn everything you can about hang gliding!
What Makes A Hang Glider Good For New Pilots?
So now that we know a bit about how to get started, let's talk about what makes a good hang glider for beginners. In general, there are three factors to consider: design, ease of control, and price. I won’t get too detailed about this here since we have other articles that tackle this information, but here’s some brief information about each factor.
Hang gliders can be designed specifically for beginners by flying slower, being more stable, and more. If you’re just getting started, you don’t need any of the high-performance design features that some gliders have. One of the biggest ones is single surface vs double surface design. A single surface design is much easier to fly and should undoubtedly be what you look for in your first glider.
Ease of Control
Just as it sounds, you want your first hang glider to be as easy to control as possible. This goes hand-in-hand with design, of course, but there are some things you want to look for. As mentioned above, a single surface glider is much easier to control than a double surface glider, at least for beginner pilots.
Additionally, many new pilots find that gliders with curved tips are easier to fly than those with winglets, but this can be a bit subjective. You also want to make sure you get the right glider for your weight, since much of the control while hang gliding comes from shifting your body weight around as needed.
Lastly, you should always consider the price when you’re shopping for a hang glider. Thankfully, beginner hang gliders are usually significantly more affordable than their high performance counterparts, but they can still easily cost thousands of dollars. Most new gliders will run you anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000+.
If you’re just getting into the sport, you might be better off buying a used glider instead of a new one, just to make sure you really want to invest the time and money necessary into the sport. Depending on the condition and where you’re located, you can usually find a used hang glider in decent condition for around $1,500 to $3,000.
What Are The Best Hang Gliders For Beginners?
Now that you know a bit more about hang gliding in general, some tips for beginners, and you have an idea of what to look for in your first hang glider, let’s get into the fun stuff. Here are the five best hang gliders for beginners.
Wills Wing Falcon 4
The Wills Wing Falcon 4 will be at the top of just about any article like this that ranks the best hang gliders for beginners. It's made in the USA, and it's one of the best-priced models on the market for this level of quality. Wills Wing is one of the biggest names in the industry and the company’s Falcon series has been a staple for new pilots since its introduction in 1994.
The Falcon 4 is the newest member of the lineup and it’s without a doubt the best one yet. The updated design in this model employs a new sail panel layout with a newly configured sail cut, both of which greatly improved stability at high speeds and while being towed. This is one of the three big factors mentioned above, since beginner pilots want a glider that’s naturally stable.
As far as hang gliders go, the Falcon 4 is priced right for one that's as technologically advanced as this one and that’s this easy to fly. You can pick one up today for just over $4,400.
Moyes Malibu 2
The Moyes Malibu 2 hang glider is one of the best options for beginner pilots and should be at the top of your list. It has a long history, so it's been tested over time and proven to be an excellent model. The Malibu 2 was actually designed specifically for new pilots or those with just a few flights under their belt. But due to how well it performed, it quickly gained popularity among the entire hang gliding community, regardless of skill level.
With the updated design of the Malibu 2, the planform of the trailing edge enables the wing to redistribute the load while nearing stall speed, preventing premature stalling. This helps to significantly increase control during takeoff and landing, which are inarguably the two most difficult parts of any type of flying, including hang gliding.
It’s slightly more expensive than some of the other gliders on this list, but it’s right up there at the top of my personal favorites. As far as beginner hang gliders go, the Malibu 2 is the only one that I would consider over the Wills Wing Falcon 4, all things considered.
North Wing Pulse
The North Wing Pulse hang glider is an excellent choice for first-time pilots, and has been for many years. The company had actually discontinued the Pulse lineup for a few years to focus on other projects, but popular demand brought it back into production. And for good reason — it’s one of the best hang gliders on the market in general, but especially for beginners.
The Pulse from North Wing is HGMA certified, so new pilots can enter the exciting world of hang gliding with the confidence that they’ll be doing so safely. Even though the Pulse is technically a double surface glider (which is usually a no-no for beginners), it performs so well that it’s always listed as one of the easiest gliders to fly on the market.
The Pulse is priced right around average for similar gliders, setting you back just about $4,700 to buy one brand new.
North Wing Horizon
The North Wing Horizon is a great hang glider for beginners. It's made in the USA by one of the biggest names in the industry, and it’s also well-priced compared to many other comparable models at under $4,600. Thanks to its lightweight design and durable materials, the Horizon is easy to handle and can withstand high winds without any problems.
Similar to the Pulse from above, the North Wing Horizon is also a double surface glider, even though we typically recommend single surface gliders for new pilots. But North Wing has done an excellent job at producing double surface gliders that are incredibly easy to fly, making it a great option even for brand new pilots.
This is done through the innovative tail design and elliptical tips made of fiberglass, which work together to give you consistent feedback the entire time you’re flying. This enables you to make minute adjustments as needed and fly through the air with little to no issues whatsoever.
Wills Wing Alpha
I’m a huge fan of the Wills Wing Falcon 4 discussed above, but the Alpha is another great hang glider for beginners produced by Wills Wing. This is the newest model produced by Wills Wing, and it was designed specifically with new pilots in mind. And with a price of just over $3,800, it’s among the most affordable hang gliders on the market.
To make the Alpha ideal for new pilots, the engineers at Wills Wing designed it with a much lower aspect ratio than other gliders. This means it has a shorter wingspan with more surface area, which makes it fly slower than other gliders while simultaneously being much easier to control. In fact, it was designed with hang gliding schools and new pilots in mind to act as an introductory glider for beginners.
But don’t let that deter you from buying one as your everyday glider. The Alpha’s low speed and ease of use is ideal for the everyday hang gliding pilot that just wants to get up in the air and enjoy the views.