Teaching Hang Gliding: Spreading My Passion

Another goal crossed off of my list for 2014! As of last Wednesday I am now a certified USHPA Instructor thanks to Rob McKenzie of High Adventure Hang Gliding and Paragliding. It is truly an honor to receive my instructor rating from him as he is a model for instructing and has been for decades.

The evaluation also provided an opportunity for me to try for the first time the Condor 330. What a great glider to learn on! With very little wind this day it allowed a first day student to get a good taste of flight and the slow speeds give enough time to react and associate actions with reactions. Of course flaring that big bird reminded me just how nice a higher performance glider rotates for landing.

Photo by Jeff Bohler

To top it off, after the evaluation I had time for an enjoyable two hour plus flight from Marshall launch followed by a great landing near the spot—oh my would I have been embarrassed to be the new instructor who whacked. With good thermals to about 7,000 feet and lift extending well into the valley I was able to explore the mountains and start branching out from merely flying near Marshall and Crestline. With a fellow pilot we headed south a few miles and returned. With the lift in the valley I then passed Andy Jackson Airpark and headed northwest a mile or two.

Of course, now that I am an instructor I have many details to consider. First and foremost, San Diego needs a decent training hill. Once I can locate that, then I’ll need training gliders and equipment. The great thing is I already seem to have a few interested students. Yesterday I gave my first lesson using a friend’s glider at a community park. Neither the glider nor the park were ideal, however, for a first lesson I think we all had fun and learned a lot, and I gained valuable experience teaching. Even better, the exposure at the park connected me with a potential future student, maybe a driver, and allowed the opportunity for community relations. A successful first day.

Packing up after a successful (and fun!) 2 days

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