The basic equipment you need for hang gliding consists of a hang glider, a helmet, and a harness. Hang gliding equipment can be somewhat costly but fortunately, there are ways in which you could save some money if you’re within a budget such as buying secondhand equipment.
What Equipment Do You Need for Hang Gliding?
The fundamental equipment you will need for hang gliding is composed of a glider, a helmet, and a harness. There are also other safety and tracking equipment that you will need which includes a GPS, radio, altimeter, variometer, goggles, reserve parachute, flying suit, and some boots. Below is a more detailed explanation of the importance of having this equipment.
Basic Hang Gliding Equipment
- Hang glider: This is the most basic equipment that you will need if you want to go hang gliding. Aluminum alloy, carbon-fiber, and flexible sail fabrics are the most common materials used in making hang gliders. Top-of-the-line hang gliders can be costly especially if you’re buying a brand new one, but it is definitely worth investing in if you plan to go on frequent hang gliding trips up in the sky.
- Helmet: Always make sure that you have a very sturdy helmet on when you go hang gliding. This will greatly help in keeping your head safe in the event that your chute collapses or any other kind of accident that might happen.
- Harness: There are different kinds of harnesses, but it is always a good idea to have a solid yet flexible harness when you go on a hang gliding trip. This will enable you, the pilot, to move without restraint as the harness holds you in a prone position.
- Boots: It is ideal to wear an extra light, flexible and, comfortable pair of boots to avoid them from weighing you down when you’re soaring in the sky. Hang gliding boots should have a grip strong enough to prevent you from slipping and sliding when you take-off or land the hand glider.
- Flying suit: A flying suit keeps your body warm and it is usually worn on top of your ordinary clothing. They are designed to be comfortable and easy to wear since they are loose-fitting and easily zipped. It is certainly worth it to invest in one before going flying in the sky.
- Goggles: Some pilots wear goggles as it hugely helps them protect their eyes and reduce glare during the flight. These goggles are comparable to goggles used in skiing.
- Reserve parachute: Pilots typically carry a second deployable parachute with them especially if they are going on high-altitude flights. This parachute is of great help in case an accident occurs.
Hang Gliding Tracking Equipment
- GPS: A GPS (Global Position System) device helps the pilot a lot in tracing a flight path as they monitor their flight technique. This tracking device is also of great help to the people guiding them from the ground since it enables them to look at the progress of a pilot in the sky.
- Radio: Hang gliding pilots typically use radios to communicate with other pilots flying in the sky or with other individuals assisting them from below. Microphones are usually attached to the helmet of the pilot which enables them to be in touch with one another effectively and quickly.
- Altimeter: Some pilots bring this very helpful navigation instrument to help them keep track of their altitude when they are high up in the clouds.
- Variometer: A variometer is an instrument that uses sound signals such as beeps and/or visual displays to keep an eye on the pilot’s climb or sink rate. It is a highly responsive vertical speed indicator.
What Do You Wear for Hang Gliding?
Regardless of the season, if you want to go hang gliding during summer or winter, it is still highly suggested to wear several layers of clothing because it can be very windy and piercing cold up there especially in much higher altitudes. Some hang gliding pilots also bring a change of clothes to wear (t-shirt, shorts, etc.) after completing the fun activity.
Wear clothes that you feel most comfortable in and do not limit your movement. Keep in mind that layering is key in dressing appropriately for hang gliding to help you regulate your temperature in the cold.
Here’s a list of what to wear on your hang gliding adventure:
- Jacket or windbreaker
- Sweatpants or track pants or yoga pants
- A pair of closed-toe shoes
- Flying suit
- Flying gloves
- Thick socks
Is Hang Gliding Expensive?
It requires less equipment and gear compared to other extreme sports but it is still certainly not a cheap sport. The hang glider alone ranges from $5000 to $6000 and this does not include the fees you need to pay to acquire proper training. In addition to paying for a hang gliding school, you also need to purchase additional essential equipment needed for the sport.
You need to have certifications to operate a hang glider. In most instances, you will not need to pay additional fees to gain these certifications because most hang gliding schools give you a certificate once you complete the training course. However, some countries require you to have a license while some do not.
How Expensive Is Hang Gliding?
Hang gliding can be very expensive since there are quite a few things that you must pay for to own and operate a hang glider. The price range widely varies depending on where you live and if you plan on buying brand new equipment.
It will surely be more expensive if you purchase brand new equipment. Thankfully, you have the option to buy secondhand equipment if you would like to stick to your budget and save some money. With that said, below is a list of the estimated cost of brand new equipment to give you an idea of how expensive hang gliding is:
- Basic training – $3500 to $6000
- Training glider – $2500 to $4000
- Glider – $5000 to $6000
- Harness – $600 to $900
- Parachute – $600 to $850
- Helmet – $100 to $300
- Flying Instruments – $500 to $800
- Maintenance – $600 to $700
How Long Does a Hang Glider Last?
There are hang gliders that have 500 hours of airtime while some have much more such as 1200 hours of airtime. A hang glider that is frequently used will deteriorate and lose airtime way faster than one that is used every once in a while. Additionally, your hang glider will also last much longer if it is well taken care of.
The materials used in making a hang glider and how often you take it to the skies are two big factors that greatly affect your hang glider’s durability. Gliders made from dacron usually last longer are usually more long-lasting than gliders made of mylar. There are many types of hang gliders to choose from and each type has different use hours.