Imagine soaring like a hawk thousands of feet above the ground. Although the air is somewhat chilly, the view is tremendous and the solitude is relaxing. You search for updrafts of air to keep you aloft so that you can enjoy this feeling for hours. This is the experience of hang gliding.


Photo courtesy Ramy Yanetz
Hang glider Ramy Yanetz over Rio de Janiero

The hang glider's wing, called a delta wing or Rogallo wing, is an outgrowth of NASA engineer Francis Rogallo's research on kites and parachutes in the 1960s. Rogallo had proposed the wing as a method of returning spacecraft to Earth. The delta-wing parachute was lightweight, durable and highly maneuverable. Later, John Dickenson, Bill Moyes, Bill Bennett and Richard Miller developed the Rogallo wing into the modern hang glider and launched an immensely popular sport shared by millions of people worldwide.

In this article, we will examine the sport of hang gliding. We'll show you the details of the aircraft, the equipment involved, how to fly it and how to become a certified hang glider.