Welcome To The Exciting World Of Hang Gliding

MOUNTAIN WINGS HANG GLIDING CENTER would like to welcome you to the exciting sport of Hang Gliding ...the most exhilarating form of recreational flying known to man. We would like to take a moment to answer some of the more common questions, as well as to preview the flight course that you will be taking.

The first questions we usually hear pertain to safety. As with any adventure sport, the possibility of injury exists in hang gliding, but is not likely. A safety minded pilot who uses good judgment, will probably never have a problem. Mountain Wings stresses a safety-oriented program. As one would expect, weather conditions are extremely important when it comes to hang gliding, and although it can be frustrating when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, be assured that you will fly only when it is safe to do so.

As far as equipment goes, all hang gliders manufactured must pass strict certification requirements pertaining to strength, air-worthiness, handling and stability. In addition, all of our school equipment is thoroughly inspected on a regular basis to ensure it is in good condition. The U.S. Safety Counsel says Hang Gliding is one of the safest forms of outdoor recreation activities available.

Flight duration ranges from a few seconds, for the beginner pilot on the training hill, to many hours once you have reached the novice level. An average high altitude flight in good soaring conditions can be several hours in length. The duration record for this area of 11 hours, 20 minutes, was set by a novice rated pilot. The altitude gain record for Ellenville is 13,800 ft and the straight line distance record is now 201 miles. The U.S. distance record is just short of 500 miles in one flight.

Now, about your lesson, your instructor is certified by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and are highly qualified to teach you to fly safely.

The first part of your introductory lesson is the ground school, during which you will watch a short informational video tape and then get fitted with your harness and helmet. Then, it's out to the training area for the "hands-on" part of your instruction. You will learn to assemble the training gliders and to evaluate the conditions for the day. You’ll hook into our stationary simulator where you begin to understand how the hang glider speeds up, slows down, and turns. Most of all, the simulator lets you practice responding to commands that your instructor will be giving you.

Next, you will start handling the glider itself. By balancing the glider on your shoulders and running with it, you create airspeed and actually get the glider flying as it lifts off your shoulders.

You learn to launch and land the glider while still on flat ground. Be sure to listen to your instructor and ask as many questions as you like. You can expect the ground school to take 1/2 hour to two hours depending on size of class and conditions. The remainder of the day is flying time.

The fun is now about to start. You have mastered the ground work and are ready to move to the training hill. The key here is to remain relaxed and remember what you have learned. You will be flying solo and will have to carefully and quickly respond to directions from your instructor.

Flights will start about 10 feet up the training hill and you will slowly work your way up the hill, taking longer and higher flights as your skills improve. The glider will fly best when you relax and let the glider do what it was designed to do: FLY. This will become easier as the lesson progresses and you are able to become airborne for a longer period of time. Be patient with the winds and fly only when the conditions are good and after the instructor tells you it is safe. Some days, weather conditions don’t cooperate and flying can't take place at all. On these days, wind checks, (similar to rain checks) are available and you can return to do the flying part of your course when conditions allow.

There is an old saying that goes like this: THERE ARE OLD PILOTS AND THERE ARE BOLD PILOTS, BUT THERE ARE NO OLD BOLD PILOTS. Be patient, remember, SAFETY and GOOD JUDGEMENT are the primary factors here. Once you have completed the first day of instruction, (the hardest day) you will have a good idea of what HANG GLIDING is all about.

What's next?

Mountain Wings offers two complete training programs, the Intro day lesson and the Eagle package that help you advance to the Novice level. If you have already signed up for either of the programs, you are off to a great start. As you approach the Novice level rating, you will be preparing to do some higher altitude flying. At this point, you should start thinking about buying your own equipment. Your instructor can guide you and provide literature to help you select the right Hang Glider for your needs. MOUNTAIN WINGS carries both new and used equipment and are dealers for virtually every product available for Hang Gliding. Demo gliders are available for those serious qualified students who are interested in test-flying prior to making a purchase.

Being a Hang Glider pilot requires that you have your own equipment. One of the advantages of having your own glider early on in your training is that you will be familiarizing yourself with the glider and harness in which you will be doing your higher altitude flights. Students with their own equipment always advance more quickly.

We offer glider storage for those who wish to protect their gliders from the wear and tear of road travel, and save space in their homes.

The governing body for Hang Gliding is the UNITED STATES HANG GLIDING and Paragliding ASSOCIATION. (USHPA) This is the organization that keeps our sport from becoming directly regulated by the F.A.A., making Hang Gliding the most accessible form of recreational flight available. A USHPA membership provides you with liability insurance, a monthly issue of Hang Gliding magazine and the eligibility to become a rated pilot.

HANG 1 - Beginner
HANG 2 - Novice
HANG 3 - Intermediate
HANG 4 - Advanced

If you have any other questions, now or in the future, feel free to ask any of our professional staff. We want to help you in any way we can. Our goal, in addition to delighting you with the gift of flight, is to promote the growth of our sport by producing proficient, safe pilots through effective personal learning experiences.

You will soon learn that Hang Gliding is more than just flying –it’s a lot of fun people and a lot of good times. Some recommended reading materials for those of you who wish to continue in Hang Gliding include:




Mountain Wings, Inc.

77 Hang Glider Road Ellenville, NY 12428

Mtnwings@verizon.net | (845) 647-3377

* Our grounds are available for students to camp at no charge, bring your tent!

* We teach six days a week and during weekday classes you can buy rides up the hill for only $1.00 a trip.

* Saturday nights always end with a BBQ and bon fire, bring your meat and we will grill it up for you.

Head instructor, Greg Black is an advanced rated instructor, Greg also carries a Master rating, and has been flying hang gliders since 1975, Greg spent three years working for a hang glider manufacture in California designing, building and test flying the top rated hang gliders in the world.

Thank you ~ Greg Black