you're interested in getting a first time experience of Hang Gliding,
then a tandem flight with an instructor is usually the easiest way to go to get
the complete flying experience and have an idea if the sport might be right for you.
with the private property issues here in Hawaii and property owners
fear of legal repurcusssions, there is currently no one in Hawaii State
that is currently offering Tandem Flights that I'm aware of.
We do have a few Hang Gliding pilots here on the
Big Island and hopefully something will change in the future to make
tandem flights available as tourism.
In the meantime I am still an Advanced Instructor/Tandem
Instructor and now teaching in my part time Hang Gliding school in the
Las Vegas area where the open desert offers much more in the way of
open lands for flying and vehicle access. Lessons or tandems can
be scheduled in advance. Students doing multi-day instruction are
welcome to stay in my 5 bedroom Henderson home and we fly everyday that
the winds are not too high.
My Hang Gliding background:
1980 when much of the equipment available was not nearly as
safe as it is today. In the 1990s I was working as an Instructor/Tandem
and ran a full time Hang Gliding School in So Cal. Later in the
1990s I was competing for distance (around the western US) and
nationally ranked as a Cross Country competition
pilot. I've rode the thermals up to the legal limit or 18,000' in my
glider. It's one thing to read the numbers in thousands of feet
ascending on your instrument but when one can see the curvature of the
earth from a Hang Glider.... I think you become mentally changed
(hopefully not for the worse) and you know that there was a reason why
you carry the 0xygen system on certain days.
In 2009 I again went back to compete in the US Nationals in southern
Idaho after missing the National Comps for a number of years. It seems that I still
remember how to compete since I managed to take 3rd in the Open Class.
Anyway, the kayak/watersport sales
now seem to be paying the bills so I'm attempting to devote more of my
time to Hang Gliding and instruction in the Vegas area.
On the Big Island, you may have already seen me flying my Falcon 3 (with mosquito powered harness)
up and down our coasts. Often our inland flying sites don't allow
people to witness our sport up close. One great thing I'm finding about
the mosquito (besides allowing many more launching sites (including right out of my
yard) is that I can get our sport in front of far more potential pilots
as I cruise the coasts.
Gliders listed to the left get
higher in price (as performance goes up) and ability required to safely
fly the higher performing gliders goes up as well. The Mosquito harness can be used with any hang glider but requires intermediate level flying skills to be flown safely.
For me, I've been continously
involved in the sport for over 30 years and have yet to sustain any
injury. That's not to imply that there aren't dangers associated with
all types of aviation. Just that being a bit akamai (smart), developing
good skills and a solid knowledge base will give you better odds of
successful, enjoyable flying career than the average thrill seeker
luck in finding your wings. Fly high, fly far and join me on a mainland
cross country Hang Gliding expedition in the future....
Kelly Harrison USHPA #53375