Anybody ever do any hang gliding?

I might be in Rio for a few days, and I hear hang gliding is popular there. I think the gist of it is that you get strapped to somebody who knows what they are doing, and then you run off a cliff.

Anybody ever do anything like that, or does this board trend too smart for such things?

I’d like to know if you get to do any piloting, or if you are just along for the ride. Also, how about safety, compared to sky diving or similar sport? I’m a bit reluctant, because not speaking Portuguese, I don’t think I’d be as good at spotting a dip shit pilot as I would be in the US. Any good tips to determine a pilot’s competence?

If anybody has done this in Brazil, do they have female guides? I wouldn’t mind being strapped to a Brazilian girl for a spell.

I’ve owned 2 hang gliders. Delta wing affairs. Didn’t care for it much. IMHO, too dangerous. Of course this was 18 years ago. Thrilling however.

Paragliding is a much better alternative.

It might be, but I don’t believe it’s less dangerous. Among other considerations is the fact that hang gliders can deal with winds and gusts that would be too much for most paragliders.
I’ve done both, but I can’t say I can offer much useful advice for judging pilot competence without watching him/her in action for a while.

NOt sure about your pilots question, but make sure they are licensed and you should be fine. In the US it’s called a Hang I, II or III and Instructor. Only instructors can fly tandom.

Hang gliding is remarkably safe, you have a parachute attached to your chest, you are tethered to the kite and when in a nice thermal don’t even need your hands totally. I was into it for a while when I lived in AZ which is by far the best hang gliding in the country IMHO.

As for the Brazilian girl strapping you to her chest for a tandom flight…I guess the visualization is enough to … be a positive thing :smiley:

I took a couple of beginning lessons in the 80s, before tandem jumps had started, and those were over sand dunes, not cliffs. IMHO the only thing not smart about that was not realizing beforehand I had to carry the glider back up the dunes myself. :slight_smile:

I flew hang gliders for five years from 1989 through 1994, and have over 300 hours of air time. My longest flight was over three hours in the Owens Valley of California, where I gained over a mile of altitude over my launch, topping out at 11,200 feet. I could have gone higher, but I was flying without oxygen, so 12,000 is about as high as you can go without risk of passing out.

Tandem flights are pretty safe, if you fly with a pilot with adequate tandem experience. If you contact a local hang gliding shop who gives flight training, you are likely to find an experienced tandem pilot. There are ratings systems that vary from country to country, and local pilots may or may not have an international rating. In the US, pilots must have an H4 rating or above to fly tandem. Talk to the pilot, ask him how many tandem flights he has done, how long he has been flying tandem. It likely he has done hundreds of tandem flights, with many hundreds of hour logged in the air.

On tandem flights, the pilot should allow you to take control and make basic turns, which are pretty easy to learn. Once you are in the air, the glider is very stable in smooth air, and is designed to fly straight and level if you release the control bar. My tandem pilot friends here usually take you up for 45 minutes to an hour, and record your flight on video. It is a blast, but be careful; that is how I got hooked and it is a pretty expensive sport to get addicted to.

If you want recommendations or further information about flying internationally, contact the USHPA (United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association). Here is a Buenos Aires outfit (offered without endorsement) that appears to be experienced in all aspects of hang gliding. Enjoy.