During one of my surfing trips to Oregon, I drove by a big sign that said “Hang Gliding Lessons” in Pacific City. Learning to hang glide had been my dream since my childhood years. So on this 4-day trip, I decided that I would find time to call and book my first lesson.
The lesson started at 10 am at the instructor’s house. He had a small area where everyone sat around to watch the PowerPoint intro to the lesson. He showed us a quick history of hang gliding and very basic information on flight theory and aerodynamics. After that, we moved outside, to the corner of his street on the simulator where we practiced a few techniques, such as how to launch the hang glider. Next we helped set up the glider and moved to a small sloped hill at the beach. The conditions weren’t in our favor, we needed some wind to help with launching the hang glider. But there was almost no wind at all. The teacher suggested to wait around till the wind picked up or to come back the following day, but I was very eager to try to launch the hang glider! I thought that perhaps I could run super-fast and I wouldn’t have any problems taking off. To my surprise, I realised it’s not all about speed, good technique is important as well. And I was a clear example for everyone else of what not to do lol…
“Don’t be a Bull” said the teacher, referring to my wrong posture and eagerness to just go ahead and run as quick as possible. The next couple of tries weren’t very successful either. So we agreed to wait till next day to resume the lesson, hopefully the wind conditions would be more favorable for a beginner.
The next day, we arrived to resume our lesson around 4pm after a nice surf session. I was sore and tired, but I was really eager to give the hang glider another shot! This time, I knew my previous mistakes and what to work on, and the wind was actually more favorable, which was a good sign. I hooked myself in, picked up the glider, and was telling myself “I got this!”
I began to run slowly, accelerating with every step down the hill. Once I felt a good tug in my harness, I pushed the control bar and felt myself being lifted into the air. I glided down the hill and repeated the process several times that evening. Even though it wasn’t the craziest experience I have had, it was still very cool. After that day, I decided to slowly continue my training and get certified in flying hang gliders!
Here’s a few more pictures from the rest of our trip: