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ISSUE 10 - March 2008
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By Mark Vaughn, Contributing Editor

I started my flying career in 1978 as a General Aviation pilot but in 1987 discovered the sport of hang gliding and never looked back. Over the past 20 years I've flown 16 models of hang gliders and logged well over 1,2OO hours silently passing over the world below.

The challenges of the sport are many but some of the most amazing times have been when thermaling to cloud base, along with gaggles of turkey vultures or a lone eagle in his quest for a meal. Without question, the experience of sharing flight with soaring birds is foreign to most every other form of aviation.

Add to this, on a good day the skillful hang glider pilot can also fly hundreds of miles cross country while not even knowing where he'll land. The current record, believe it or not, is over 400 miles.

But when the sun goes down, gravity wins the war. It is then we are faced with the decision of where to land. Often it's a farmers field with onlookers watching in amazement... especially when they learn from where you took off.

Hang Gliding

Without question, hang gliding has been the most enjoyable form of aviation I've ever been part of. To have missed this sport would have meant to have never lived the dream of flight.

Anyone interested in trying the sport is invited to visit the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association website to get more info on the school nearest you.

Trust me when I tell you this. Lessons are a requirement to learn this sport and here is why: In an Airplane you pull back on your stick or yoke to flare, but on a HangGlider you push out. Control input reversal is a problem for some pilots. You can potentially fly yourself into the ground.

Hang gliding... an amazing sport, an amazing craft. Thank you God for Francis Rogollo.
Email Mark Vaughn

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