The modern sport of hang gliding was born more than 30 years ago of a generation of young men and women whose passion for flight often overwhelmed any reasonable concern for their own safety. The lessons of personal soaring flight in light-weight wings were extracted from an unforgiving nature at a price that was often painful, and sometimes fatal.
Nature has not grown more forgiving in those 30 years, and all the potential for danger is still inherent in this, or in any form of flight. The difference today is that we now understand the requirements for safe flight in hang gliders and paragliders as well and in as much detail as those requirements are understood in other forms of aviation. Thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of the founding members of our sport, we now know what it takes to be safe. All that remains is for each individual pilot to choose safety, and to act consistently on that choice.
Safety is indeed a choice, and one that each pilot is given the opportunity to make. As a pilot, your safety is determined by the quality of the decisions you make. It is not determined by your skill, or your experience, or your knowledge, but by how well you understand the limitations those three things place on you, and by how well, and how consistently you conduct your flying so as to stay comfortably within those limitations.
When you first begin to fly, your instructor will make most of those critical decisions for you, and in so doing, assume the primary responsibility for your safety. (Of course, at the same time, you should be sure that you feel comfortable with what you’re doing – and, if you don’t, talk it through with your instructor until you do.) As you progress, you’ll learn how to make decisions for yourself, such as, Do I fly today? Can I handle these wind conditions? etc. Ultimately your goal is to develop a complete, and very accurate understanding of exactly what you are capable of as a pilot, and then to never make a decision that puts you into a situation that you can’t handle.
We’re here to help, by providing you with a wide range of safety-related information. On this web site are technical bulletins regarding glider maintenance and safety and airworthiness advisories, articles on safety, on flying techniques, and how to choose the right equipment, etc.