Years of experience in teaching and gearing up genuine hang glider pilots has convinced me that eliminating gear variables is a major factor in successful hang gliding programs. Used equipment, bought without the instructor's input and control, often has signicant problems that must be dealt with after the fact. Dents in tubing, mismatched harness mains and hang loops, loosey goosey fittings, lack of avionic feedback and wrong performance characteristics all make you less confident of your skills or even causes accidents Also, your instructor is not familiar of all the used equipment variations, making it tougher for them to orient you to it and may not even support you in its use. Good schools provide free orientations, custom fitting sessions, clinics to empower you with your modern and safe personal gear as you incrementally purchase it. The equipment is an extension of your body and skill development. You should be schooled in your equipment by the tenth lesson. Its amazing how long one can delay later advanced training for the lack of piece of equipment or wrong interaction with inappropriate gear.
Purchasing appropriate equipment in Step One of the program from your instructor/school is a major factor in your success because all the above problems are dealt with at the onset. This makes your future (Step Four) training efficient and known - a comforting factor for you and your instructor. Also, human nature and business as it is, you will naturally get the extra mile from your instructor (and encourage him not to seek employment elsewhere!) when you support the intention, focus and purpose (your skills and appearance of competence) of the program. You get what you pay for is true in hang gliding as in any other service. The impression you make on the advanced flying community is an important factor in their willingness to help you past the official istructional phase.The following equipment packages and extra incentives are meant to make it easy for you to get "dressed for the ball".
- Charly Insider Full Face Helmet, Professionally Modified Yaseu Vertex 150 FM Radio, Professionally installed, Headset and Fingerswitch. Instructional advantage: Free HAM radio clinic included. Seamless two way communication with instructors and mentors.
- Tracer or Tracer plus harness with Quantum or LARA parachute. Instructional advantage: Free parachute clinic included. Complex harness prone practice without using inferior knee hangar harnesses and safety insurance for high alitude flight.
- Falcon 3 or Malibu or Freedom with 5 inch Finstalwalder Wheels. Instructional advantage: Flight test for your trim point, future service and repairs, and free rental transition glider to advanced model (later!)
- Flytec 6005 or 6015 Variometer OR Digifly Variometer and airspeed indicator. Instructional advantage: Weather clinic for determining when its soarable. Perceptual cues to tell when it actually soarable or not.
- Car Rack. Instructional advantage:High flight instruction at various sites, site guide manuals and advanced experiences mentors assigned.
Lets make hang gliding instruction simplier and easier on both the student and instructor by going with known variables.