If you enjoy hang gliding but would like to go faster and higher, the next best thing would be to fly a powered one. It gives you all the perks of flying a typical hang glider, but it is also powered by a motor which makes it safer and undoubtedly faster.
Do Hang Gliders Have Engines?
While regular hang gliders are often made minimally with just cloth wings and structures, there are hang gliders that are powered with a motor.
Regular hang gliders are acted by three forces (lift, drag, and weight) to help them fly while powered hang gliders have those three factors and an added bonus of an engine that generates thrust.
How Fast Does a Powered Hang Glider Go?
The speed at which a powered hang glider fly depends on several factors including the surface of the wings and the power of the engine.
The rule of thumb is, the wing is faster if the extent of the double surface of the wing is larger. Generally, a wing with a 30 percent double surface can fly as fast as 50 to 60 kilometers per hour (kmph). On the other hand, if you have wings with about 70 to 80 percent double surface, your cruise speed can go as high as 70 to 80 kmph.
People assume that the engine of hang gliders acts the same as that of a car and gaining speed means pushing on the accelerator. However, in the case of the powered hang glider, if you pump additional power on your engine, it will only increase your height and not your speed.
Are Powered Hang Gliders Safe?
It’s been said that powered hang gliders are safer than regular traditional hang gliders. For one, you can just launch from any flat surface while you would need to take off from a slope when you are using a traditional hang glider.
Aside from that, powered hang gliders offer more freedom while you are flying since there is an added factor of the motor that keeps you flying and not just the air currents.
Whether you are using regular hang gliders or powered ones, the nature of the sport has always been high-risk. In this sport, you are always as safe as you want yourself to be. Hang gliding can be extremely dangerous if pursued carelessly.
Do You Need a License to Fly a Powered Hang Glider?
The answer depends on where you are in the world and where you want to fly your powered hang glider in.
For instance, in the United States, it is not required to get a license to operate a hang glider. The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA), the body overseeing that aviation sports are being managed safely, do tie-ups with flying clubs to ensure that there is liability insurance coverage for members.
In some countries, like India, powered hang gliders are meant to be flown by licensed pilots only.
To be sure that you are following the law with regard to securing a license or a permit, it is highly suggested to talk to the local authority just so everything is covered legally.
How Much Does a Motorized Hang Glider Cost?
A complete set of brand-new motorized hang glider with the inclusion of a helmet, harness, and reserve parachute can cost you around 5,000 to 6,000 dollars. There are cheaper options like off-brand or secondhand set, but if your life depends on it, it’s better to splurge a little to make sure that the quality is great.
It is also recommended to replace your gear if you have been using it actively for 8 to 10 years as it would have been subjected to the damages caused by ultraviolet light.