Pictured above: Learning on how to put on a training harness
The scooter tow system is specifically designed for absolute beginners. We call it the low and slow method for a good reason, your first flights are 1 to 2 feet off the ground with your feet touching the ground more often than not. The scooter operator keeps a close eye on your flight and at the first sign of going off course the power is reduced and you gently come to a stop and try again after a few pointers from your instructor. The hardest part is learning to relax, trusting the glider and focusing on a target at the end of the runway.
As close to country club treatment as you can get. Fly, ride and repeat...
After 3-4 tows on average a student will do less "touch and go" and more flying, but at a low altitude of 2-3 feet or less. Since you don't have a hill to climb after every flight you don't have to worry about losing energy since we even bring you and the glider back to the starting point.
Pictured above: Instructor Rich Cizauskas prepares a student for a flight on a Wills Wing Falcon.
We use our curriculum to measure your progress and typically students can earn their Hang 1 rating in 3-5 lessons and a Hang 2 rating in an additional 5 -10 lessons. Of course every student learns at their own pace and the more time between lessons can slow down a student's progress considerably.
Ratings according to the USHPA
Hang-1 Beginner Pilot
This rating identifies a student who has demonstrated the basic ability to fly in a straight line. The beginner pilot is not yet ready to go out flying independently, but can take off, fly straight and land. She also understands the basics of glider setup and breakdown.
Hang-2 Novice Pilot
A novice has learned about turns, maneuvering and how to estimate where he’ll land. She has flown from higher ground under supervision and demonstrated confident handling of the glider in flight, as well as operation in stronger winds. He’s had some training about meteorology, air movement, clouds and other environmental factors, and the legal “rules of the road” that govern our flying. She may be approved to go out and fly with more experienced local pilots at easier sites, but has not yet gained the level of experience needed to operate independently.
Instructor Mark Furst of Fort Atkinson giving a discovery flight tandem
While the scooter tow method teaches you the basics of how to hold a glider, how to foot launch, how to make directional and speed adjustments and finally how to land we share the same training facility with the Whitewater Hang Gliding Club that operates the tandem aero tow operation that takes your training to a whole another level, 2,000 feet to be exact. This instant gratification builds on what you learned but now you have some real altitude to play with and an instructor with you that handles the take offs and landings at first.