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Choosing the right hang glider can be the single biggest influence on having the experience of a lifetime. Here’s how to choose a hang glider.
Whether you’re an experienced pilot or you’re just starting to get into gliding, choosing the right hang glider is absolutely essential. Having the wrong glider can turn something amazing into something scary and stressful. What do you need to think about when you’re choosing the perfect hang glider?
Choosing the right hang glider will make your flying experience much better. Some of the main things to keep in mind include the price of the glider, how often you’re going to glide, hang glider geometry (single vs double surface), performance vs fun, bar pressure, and delivery time.
When it comes to hang gliding, you want to make sure that you have the right equipment. This is a sport that can be dangerous if the wrong equipment is used. In this article, we will discuss how to choose a hang glider. We will cover everything from prices and performance to how much you're going to glide. So, whether you're a beginner or an experienced pilot, read on for the information you need to select the perfect hang glider!
At Flight Notch, the most important thing to us is creating high-quality content that answers all of the questions you have about this exciting industry. To do so, we combine our own knowledge and experience with the opinions of other enthusiasts and pilots so that we can give you the full picture. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll know exactly how to choose the perfect hang glider.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Hang Glider
Hang gliding is a great sport and can be done by people of all ages. But to make it as safe, cost effective, and enjoyable as possible, you want to do everything in your power to find the right glider. To do so, you'll need to look at several factors including price, performance vs fun, glide bar pressure, geometry of the hang glider (single surface versus double surface), and more.
While that might seem like a lot of stuff to keep in mind just to get your hands on a hang glider, just think about how it’s the only thing keeping you afloat when you’re soaring above the ground. You want to be comfortable, have the ability to reliably control the glider, and feel safe during your flight. So it’s worth it to sit down and make sure you find the right one!
Here's everything to keep in mind while you look for the perfect hang glider.
Hang Glider Prices
Price is always an important consideration when you’re buying anything. You don't want to break the bank, but you also want a hang glider that will last and perform well. Additionally, you don’t want to just buy the cheaper glider that you find for sale used on a marketplace site. When you’re buying something like a hang glider, you really don’t want to skimp too much!
There are many different types of hang gliders on the market and they range in price from $1,000 to around $10,000+. The ones on the higher end are typically performance-oriented gliders that are designed for faster speeds, better acrobatics, and more advanced control. New gliders for beginners will usually be in the $4,000 - $5,000 range. And decent quality used gliders can be found for around $1,000 to $3,000 in most places.
It's important to find one that fits your budget, but make sure you get what you pay for. If it’s your first glider, I recommend either buying new or taking someone with you to pick up the used one that really knows what they’re talking about so you don’t get hosed on anything!
How Much You’re Going To Glide
It is also important to consider how much you're actually going to glide. If you only plan to fly a few times a year, then it may not be worth spending much money on your first hang glider. Someone that just wants to go on a few leisurely, relaxing flights every once in a while doesn't need to look for the fanciest glider on the market, since much of it will be unnecessary.
On the other hand, if you're really serious about hang gliding and plan on participating every couple of weeks or more, then you might want something a bit higher-quality. High performance hang gliders with all of the bells and whistles might be worth the extra cost in this case, since you don’t want to get something cheap that’s going to wear out after just one or two seasons.
For the typical hobbyist hang gliding enthusiast, a good glider can last upwards of twenty years if it’s well-maintained. But that’s for a high-quality glider that isn’t used every single day. So if you opt for a cheaper glider and go gliding every two days, you can expect it to wear out on you much quicker than expected!
Hang Glider Geometry: Single Surface Or Double Surface?
Geometry of your hang glider is also important. For all intents and purposes, there are two types – single surface and double surface. Single-surface gliders have only one airfoil section while double surfaces use two sections joined together at an angle.
For a beginner pilot, it might be best to start off with something more basic like a single surface because they’re easier to learn with. It’s ideal for you to learn how things work while flying before moving onto harder designs like double surface planes. The geometry of the glider will affect how it turns, climbs and dives so make sure you know what type you're getting before purchasing one.
Bottom line — single-surface gliders are better for inexperienced pilots, but double surface gliders typically have more performance capabilities.
Performance Versus Fun
Performance vs fun is another thing to consider when choosing a hang glider. Are you looking for something that performs really well (as in high-speed, tight turns, etc), or do you just want something that's going to be enjoyable and relaxing?
This one goes kind of hand-in-hand with how often you’re going to glide, but here we’re focusing much more on what you’re actually hoping to get out of the glider. If you want something that’s just designed for relaxation and leisurely gliding, great! But if you want to zip through the air at higher speeds with a more advanced glider, then go in that direction!
Both of these ends of the spectrum — as well as everything in between — can be a lot of fun. Just make sure you get the right glider!
Glide Bar Pressure
You also want to consider glide bar pressure. Glide bars are the various rods and bars that make up the control scheme of the glider. Everything from the rods that connect from your feet to the main control bars of the hang glider. Glide bar pressure is how much force needs to be applied on the bar in order for you to steer and control the glider.
Some people prefer a light touch, meaning a glider with lower glide bar pressure. These gliders are more sensitive to user input, and are ideal for people with more gliding experience since every little adjustment has a much larger effect on the glider as a whole and how it’s going to respond.
On the other hand, a glider with higher necessary glide bar pressure is more resistant to user input. This is typically better for beginner pilots since the glider will naturally want to stay in the air on its own, so it is a bit more resistant to what the pilot wants to do. That doesn’t mean, however, that this makes the glider harder to steer! It just takes a bit more force.
How Long It Takes To Get The Glider
You should also consider how long it takes to get the hang glider. Is it in stock and ready to be shipped, or does the manufacturer have to start from scratch?
If you're looking for something more custom-made with specific features such as a certain type of material used on your hang glider (such as thermal coated cloth to help with soaring), then you're going to have to wait longer for it to be made and could pay a higher price.
So if you’re thinking about getting a hang glider for an upcoming trip or to take advantage of summer weather, then the lead time on getting the glider is worth taking into account.
What Are The Best Hang Gliders?
While I would certainly love to go on for days about the best hang gliders on the market, that’s a topic for a separate article entirely! In fact, we have a couple of articles dedicated to this very idea on the site. For brevity’s sake, the best hang glider brands are typically going to be Wills Wing, North Wing, and A-I-R USA, to name a few of our favorites.
So depending on what type of glider you’re looking for and what you want to get out of it, check out those articles on the site and get the best glider for you today!
How Important Is It To Have The Right Hang Glider?
When looking for a new hang glider, there are many things to consider. Some of the most important factors include safety, comfort, and fun — as well, of course, everything else in this guide!
You want to find a model that is both safe and comfortable so that you can enjoy your flights without worrying about anything else. Additionally, you want a model that is fun to fly so that you can enjoy the experience. But once you get the perfect glider, it will fit like a glove and you’ll be ready to take to the skies. So get out there and find the right glider for you!