Hang gliders

There are three broad categories of hang glider:

  • Flex wing - training and intermediate
  • Flex wing - advanced
  • Rigid wing.

It's important to fly the glider which is most appropriate for your level of ability and also the type of flying you want to do. Higher performance gliders are harder to fly which can knock your confidence and be dangerous. For just experiencing the fun of flying an intermediate glider is every bit as good as an advanced one. An intermediate level glider can be a lot of fun and a confident pilot flying an intermediate glider will usually beat a nervous pilot flying an advanced glider anyway.

It's important to get advice before buying your first glider, either from your instructor or by contacting us here. Buying from ebay is rarely a good idea, you might see one very cheaply there but it's unlikely to be airworthy. Hang gliders can last a long time. Depending on how much they're used and how well they're looked after then 20 year old or even older gliders may well still be airworthy but it's important to get it checked out. Repairs and parts for old gliders, especially those no longer in production, are generally costly. So bear in mind that if you buy a glider very cheaply (less than £500) you will almost always need to spend more than that to bring it into airworthy condition and even then it's unlikely to be as good as a more modern glider. A decent, airworthy (although possibly scruffy) not-too-old (less than 20 years) glider will probably set you back somewhere around £1,000 with better condition, newer 2nd hand ones . New, beginners gliders start from just under £4,000 with intermediate level ones starting from just under £5,000 and going up depending on specification. A new full-on racing glider with all the options is likely to be over £10k and a rigid wing glider over £20k.

Flex wing - Training

A flexwing glider is made from a frame of (usually aluminium) tubes covered by a sail. Although the shape of the glider is partially defined by the frame and the battens inserted into the sail it also billows and takes its shape in the air, hence the name. Turning is done purely by weightshift (although this also causes some twisting and changing of shape of the sail).

Flex wing - Advanced

Mostly topless.

Rigid wing

Mostly carbon.