The Whitewater Hang Gliding Club

Learning To Hang Glide


Hang gliding is perhaps the simplest form of flight available today. You do not need complicated instruments or extensive classroom time to enjoy the experience of soaring flight. The mechanics of operating a glider are very simple and straightforward, but you do need an instructional framework that safely gets you from beginner student to solo pilot.

Originally, hang gliding was a sport of beach and dune flying. Using only the power of one's legs, the pilot would run down the hill to launch the glider. As the sport spread around the world, enterprising pilots developed other methods of launching to allow flying where there were limited opportunities for foot launching. In our region, where there are few tall hills, aero-towing (towing with specially designed ultralights) and ground-based winches (the scooter tow is a type of ground based winch) have been used for many years to get gliders airborne.

At Twin Oaks we have found that a combination of aero and scooter towing is the safest and most cost effective way to teach our sport. Although there is much overlap between the two methods, each has strengths and weaknesses that are complimented by the other, with the end result being safe, well-rounded, happy solo pilots. If you choose to decide to learn hang gliding, here is an outline of what you can expect:




The instructor flies with you, either beside or above you (depending on harness type). As you progress, the instructor will allow you to do more of the flying on each flight until you are able to do it all!

You will learn:

  • The basics of flying: pitch, roll, yaw.
  • How to tow behind the ultralight (tug).
  • Proper landing setup from altitude.
  • Good decision making and flight planning.
  • Safety checks and emergency procedures.


You fly in the glider by yourself, low to the ground at first and progress higher and higher as your instructor sees you master each needed skill along the way.

You will learn:

  • Setting up and packing up the glider.
  • Preflighting the equipment.
  • Handling the glider on the ground.
  • Low altitude flying, staying focused and relaxed.
  • Rounding out and landing on your feet.

The cost for lessons will typically be around $2500 or so with a combination of scooter tow and aero-tow lessons as needed. Your instructor will help decide which method is needed at any particular time. Each student's experience (and therefore cost) will be different depending on several factors: how often they can come out, their own particular abilities, and, of course, how the weather co-operates.

This is a very basic over-view of the training process. Our national organization (USHPA) has a rating system in place. To fly solo behind the tug at our facility you will need a H2 rating with an Aero-tow special skill sign off and this is what we tailor your training towards. There are many other ratings and skills available that you may need as you travel to other sites which you'll learn about as you progress in the sport.


From all of us at the Whitewater Hang Gliding Club: WELCOME!