Hang glider pilots appreciate a bit of a slope and an upslope breeze to assist the run that brings the glider to flying speed; how much slope and breeze is needed depends on the pilot’s running ability and the performance requirements of the glider. Beginner gliders are easy to launch – even flat-slope, no-wind launches are possible – while high-performance (advanced) wings demand better conditions and stronger skills. It’s also possible to get airborne by towing behind an ultralight aircraft, or from a truck or stationary winch.
Before launching, the pilot will make certain that there’s a reasonable landing zone within glide, “reasonable” meaning relatively flat, free from obstructions such as trees and fences and powerlines, and large enough to accommodate the skill level of the pilot and the performance level of the glider (high performance gliders tend to glide a long ways and require a longer field; beginner gliders are not likely to over-glide a reasonable-sized LZ).
Posted in: General Hang Gliding FAQs