The foremost question in a hang gliders mind is how to avoid hang glider crashes. Hang gliding can be an incredible experience if you take the proper precautions. Current statistics on hang glider crashes are hard to find due to the variations on the types of hang gliders and that most accidents are not reported. In 2007 The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association reported 4 fatalities, 3 injured tandem passengers and 21 injured pilots. Their accident statistics report an average of 4 fatalities per year since 1993.Keep these tips in mind whether you are a beginner or an expert and you’ll have better chance of avoiding hang gliding crashes.
- Take lessons. Find a reputable school and enroll in hang gliding classes. The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association is a great place to find a list of schools, teachers and mentors. Taking lessons will help you understand the unique balance of science, knowledge, judgment and luck that makes for a skilled hang glider.
- Check the weather for the area you will be flying in. This seems to be a silly suggestion but weather changes like the wind. Most accidents happen due to wind shifts, unexpected storms and clouds. Invest in a weather radio and stay up to the minute on reports before take off.
- Check your equipment. Make sure that every piece of equipment you use is in excellent working order before you take off. Harness’ that are frayed, bent poles, small tears in a wing can become a hazardous situation in the air. Those few minutes used to check equipment could help you avoid a hang glider crash.
- Check for ground and sky clearance before take off. The tow most common places that hang gliders crash are on take off and landing. Obstacles in the take off path can cause you to stumble injuring yourself and your glider. Look skyward to make sure there are no branches, wires or rocks in your flight path.
- Practice landing. Landing accidents are the second most common injury reported. Learning to hang glide is all about practice. Only through personal experience can you achieve the skills needed to successfully avoid hang glider crashes.
- Choose flights at your skill level. Don’t be a show off. Keep safety in mind at all times and be honest about your skill level. If you want to try a higher or longer flight ask your teacher or mentor if they think you are ready.
- Check your attitude at the door. Have respect for the sport. Taking a chance on a flight that you haven’t been trained for will certainly lead to having a hang glider crash. Being overly complacent can be an issue as well, keep safety forefront at all times not matter what your skill level is.
- Learn from the mistakes your mistakes and those of others. Most hang glider enthusiasts will be happy to share their knowledge with you mistakes and all. Making mistakes is how you accumulate knowledge and skills, which will make you a better hang glider.
Hang gliding is a dangerous sport but most accidents can be prevented with attention to details and safety. If you’ve always wanted to try hang gliding but were afraid of a crash consider the tips above and go for it.