The sport of hang gliding looks and feels a bit dangerous, but it is actually a very safe sport that even the most confirmed couch potato can enjoy. You don’t need to be an accomplished athlete in order to be able to enjoy the unique sensation of swooping through the air that only hang gliding can bring. As long as you are competent enough to be able to make safe decisions while you are in the air and to respond to any surprises with grace and poise, you can enjoy this kind of gravity defying adventure.
On a first trip off of the ground, a new glider will probably not be able to sail for more than a hundred feet or so, but an experienced glider can stay in the air for several hours at a stretch. In order to keep their energy up for these long journeys so that they can respond effectively to wind and speed changes, very accomplished hang gliders usually follow a regimen of strength training and light aerobics to get in shape before a flight. However, a person of average fitness can learn to hang glide quite easily. A common rule of thumb is that if you can jog, and if you can balance a fifty pound weight on your shoulders, you are probably ready to take to the skies. Although it is physically possible for any person of any size to master the sport of hang gliding, learning the ropes can be difficult for very small or very large people due to the availability of gear.
The majority of hang gliding schools rent out equipment to beginners, but a person who is less than five feet tall or weighs over two hundred and fifty pounds may have trouble finding a rental harness that fits them correctly. Sometimes, a person of very large girth or of much smaller than average height will have to invest in their own set of equipment before they have even been able to leave the ground. This fact deters some people from hang gliding, especially as a full set of gliding gear can cost quite a bit. Hang gliding in general is not the least expensive of sports. A newcomer to hang gliding will need to budget for approximately ten lessons before they can achieve the rank of Novice. This is the lowest level that a flyer should be at before attempting unsupervised solo flights. The price of this many lessons is usually roughly a thousand dollars. Most gliders continue their training in order to improve their technique so that they can achieve higher altitudes, complete more graceful landings, and take longer flights. The cost of taking enough courses to become a competent glider together with buying even a fairly well used set of secondhand gliding equipment usually adds up to at least two thousand dollars. However, many hang gliding enthusiasts feel that it is impossible to put a price on the feeling that soaring through the skies brings.