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Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:44 pm

This topic was started on the Oz Report by "The Oz Report" and can be found here: http://ozreport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44009

It starts out with a discussion about "Male's wages haven't risen since 1973" and tries to connect economic factors with the poor (or negative) growth in hang gliding.

Manuelruizpascual replied:

The major factor preventing growth in HG is Paragliding.


I tend to agree with that being a major factor. Angelo agreed as well:

I have to agree. I doubt getting training and a Falcon is any more expensive than the equivalent in paragliding, yet the ratings in every month of the magazine averages about 4 to 1 in favor of PG. Young folks seem to perceive anything that isn't the newest as bad, are they going for PG because they perceive HG as not the latest and hippest? PGs are easier to land, but much harder to launch and still don't have the performance of HGs.


Of course, "Bille Fly" couldn't resist putting his spin on the matter:

The reason people are gravitating to the PG is obvious ; the PG is safer .
Just look at the stats for number of recent deaths , and you see that more people died this year
on a HG , than the PG .

Bring it ON !!!

Bille


Eventually, Mark Forbes chimed in:

Mgforbes wrote:
The interesting thing that I see is that we have significantly more inquiries about learning to fly hang gliders than we do for paragliding. I think the relative availability of instruction is a big factor here, and that's related to the lack of profitability that HG instructors have. PG equipment has a quicker turnover and lifespan, compared to HG gear, so there's more profit in equipment sales. PG is easier to learn initially, so students are flying solo sooner and buying their own (new) gear. The instructor doesn't spend as much time getting a student up to P2, so they can handle more of them.

Another factor is that ground handling a paraglider is *fun*. You can practice on flat ground, improve your skills and play around with the wing. Ground handling a hang glider is not fun. Instructors can work with several new students at a time while they develop their skills. Once you have ground handling nailed down, the flying part is fairly easy.

The result of these and many other factors is that there are more paragliding instructors available to teach than there are hang gliding instructors, and they're more efficient at turning out new pilots. Here in Oregon we have a couple dozen PG instructors and two active HG instructors; is there any wonder that there are more PG pilots being taught? One HG instructor is working at it full time and just getting by, the other one has a 'real job' and teaches on the weekends when he can. I can think of a half-dozen of the PG folks who are teaching full time and making a living at it.

If we could find a way to make HG instruction profitable, so that it could support an instructor teaching full time, we'd have a lot more instructors, students and new pilots. There are a few isolated cases where HG instructors are making a living, but none of them are getting rich at it. The ones that do best have a mix of new students and aerotow tandems which help to keep the bills paid.

MGF


The topic continued for a bit, and then Mark Forbes replied again:

Mgforbes wrote:
There's no reason why you guys can't continue to mentor new prospects just as you always have. The only problem you have is that in order for those new guys to get a rating, they're going to need to show their skills to an instructor and pass the written test. Call it "graduation" or something, have an instructor come out and do a day of evaluations and ratings!

We unfortunately had to eliminate the special observer appointment for legal and insurance reasons. It wasn't about USHPA trying to push a "FBO" model. We tried to find a way to keep it but the complications were too great. If we could have, we would have.

MGF


A few more posts were added and then I posted this:

Bob Hawk wrote:
Read Mark Forbes responses again. Read them critically. Mark Forbes has been one of the 4 members of USHPA's Executive Committee for as long as I can remember. Read his comments and ask yourself where's the part where he says "Here's how we're going to turn this around …"

It's not there. It's not there because USHPA isn't dedicated to hang gliding. If USHPA were USHGA and if paragliding were in another organization, USHGA would be strategizing on how to save the sport of hang gliding. They'd be desperately competing to grow the sport rather than shrugging their Mark Forbes shoulders with excuses.

Torrey Pines has been the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to the decline of hang gliding. Look at how USHPA has handled that situation and you'll see the future of hang gliding. The Torrey Hawks have worked tirelessly for years to grow hang gliding at that site, and USHPA has stabbed us in the back at every turn - every single turn.

When it comes to insurance, the insurance industry depends on USHPA to fix problems before they become claims. USHPA (and Mark Forbes himself) knew about the problems at Torrey for years and did nothing to fix them because they didn't want to rock their PG buddy's apple cart. Instead of fixing the problems, they shot the messenger. How sustainable is that strategy Mark?

Mark Forbes blames the insurance company for the loss of Special Observers. Some day he'll blame the insurance company for the loss of hang gliding altogether. That's the future of hang gliding protected by USHPA. Hang gliding deserves better than being a second class citizen in the national association that's supposed to be there to protect it.

Davis, this needed to be said.


Guess who's post was deleted? Yup. If you look at that topic you won't find my post at all. It's gone - vanished - as if it had never been said.

There was no discussion about it. There was no negotiation about a "nicer" way to make the point. It was just ... gone ... as if it never existed.
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby SamKellner » Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:36 am

Hawks,

Wow, I missed the post on ozforum by BobK on this topic. Glad I can come here and see it.

There is one small detail I disagree on.

BobK
they didn't want to rock their PG buddy's apple cart


Change: buddy's apple cart

to, buddy'$ gravy train

:lol:
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Rick Masters » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:44 pm

Image
    We can point fingers all day (and with some validity) but the sad truth as to why hang gliding is losing participation is that
the majority of today's generation of people who want to fly are are stupid and lazy.
    Look at this.
American adults get a D in science; 22% confuse astronomy and astrology.
http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-science-quiz-americans-pew-20150909-story.html

    These people don't even recognize the importance of science, anymore. To them, an uninformed opinion is just as or even more relevant than one based on scientific evidence. It's unbelievable. It's shameful. The fact that this could even happen in our country is a much more important subject than anything to do with hang gliding!
    I seriously doubt one in 50 soaring parachutists could explain how a hang glider can take greater advantage of the Bernoulli Effect than their pathetic, fickle, low-performing parachutes or why an airframe is even important.

Image

    I have had hang glider pilots come to me, years later, and thank me for saving their lives by teaching them cross-country skills for surviving the Big Air. These were men who had gown to be real pilots and I was humbled and grateful for their words.
    But what today's lazy and stupid wanna-be pilots want is only instant gratification.
    They want to fly now. That's all. That is the most important thing to them. They don't care about the details. It is unbelievable.
     They don't even care about the deaths!

Mythology of the Airframe -- A Plague of Paragliders (archived May 21, 2012, incomplete)
Image
https://web.archive.org/web/20120502132604/http://www.cometclones.com/

    They don't want to listen to or consider why it may be a bad idea to encounter normal atmospheric turbulence while hanging onto laundry. It's way too complicated for their tiny, stupid, lazy brains.
    To squeeze out these uncomfortable thoughts, they join together to demonize any critics. The more experienced - or in my opinion, only lucky - unite in preventing their fellow soaring parachutists from hearing the truth. Even hang glider pilots - and much worse, even their forum principals and "moderators" who have swallowed the Kool Aid, a bizarre, invalid and incomprehensible form of political correctness in relation to parachutes - join with soaring parachutists in their agenda to spread lies and stifle dissent.
    To them, the honest critics are the problem, not the deadly laundry they imagine as aircraft.
    They don't get it when a mutant organization that stands to make a lot of money off their folly says, "Follow me. Right this way."
    There have always been people like this. This type of pilot was a plague to the new sport of hang gliding during the first 15 years.
    They didn't understand or care to understand the new principals of micro-meteorology we free-flight hang glider were discovering. As soon as ultralights came along, they disappeared from hang gliding.
    They were motorcyclists on powered hang gliders and they killed themselves in droves.
    Then along came paragliding and now it has it sucked off the same types. This was a good thing for hang gliding. We don't need nor really even want them in hang gliding.
    Yes, the few who want to excel - those who finally figured out that they made a mistake by at first choosing parachutes over real aircraft - should be welcomed into the sport.
    But the rest of them can go on to the "reward" of a paraglider's limp or burial. It's not our fault. We get to watch. That's all. They're never going to listen or understand. They don't get it. There's nothing we can do.
    Yet, there is a severe consequence for hang gliding when it is represented by a parachuting organization.
    We lose. In exchange for nothing, we share all the ugly baggage that comes with paragliding: collapse, cravats, spiral dives.
    Why would we do that?
    Worse, while we struggle, we have turncoats who lie about the safety of paragliding. This causes potential hang glider pilots to turn away from our sport:

The reason people are gravitating to the PG is obvious ; the PG is safer .     Just look at the stats for number of recent deaths , and you see that more people died this year on a HG , than the PG . Bring it ON !!!

    I can provide you with over 160 global paraglider fatalities over the past 18 months. Neither sport is safe but hang glider pilots kill themselves with pilot error while paraglider pilots die when their paragliders kill them by losing their airfoil shape and going out of control to impact. We hang glider pilots, in the past, with the help of a national organization that cared about us, addressed pilot error and produced several years of ZERO hang gliding fatalities.
    Those days are over. We no longer have a national organization dedicated to hang gliding.
    Meanwhile, paragliding deaths are clearly random. "Expert" or novice, it doesn't seem to make any difference. There is nothing that can be done - and certainly not by hang glider pilots. Since 2000, there have never been fewer deaths globally in paragliding than 50! That was the lowest to date - going all the way back to 2000.
    Today, the U.S. association mixes in both hang gliding and paragliding fatalities and reports them as free-flight fatalities. None of you hang glider pilots can ever hope to make a difference - no matter what you do in terms of safety and skill - because paragliding dominates free-flight fatalities.
    Paragliding is a slaughter regardless what some clueless idiots who ignore international news might say.
    This is why it is so important for hang glider pilots to form a national hang gliding organization in the Untied States NOW.
    We should not beat ourselves up over the dwindling numbers of hang gliding participants.
    Paragliding is like alcoholism.
But that doesn't make it better or offer an excuse for endemic collapse in turbulence.
    Despite all the valid arguments we can make, we need to forget about paragliding.
    Hang gliding is our sport.
    All we need is a national organization that supports hang gliding and it will grow.
    Forget paragliding. Let them forge their own path without us.

    If only fifty hang glider pilots will demonstrate the courage of BobK, it will happen.
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Frank Colver » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:22 pm

That the Bernoulli Effect was creating lift was discredited a long time ago. That came from a non-scientific paper. It is the downward deflection of the airstream that provides the upward force we call lift. That is why a perfectly symmetrical airfoil, a single surface airfoil, or even a flat plane can be used to lift an airplane. The purpose of the curved airfoil is to be able to use higher angles of attack before separation and stall. Otto Lilienthal made this clear to the world. The higher angles allowed before stall, by curving the airfoil, create a greater downward deflected flow angle thereby creating a greater upward force.

Bernoulli principle should not be used in explaining the lifting forces of airfoils! :thumbdown: It just continues the myth in the public mind.

Frank Colver

I apologize for jumping on this but the perpetuation of this "Bernoulli Effect making lift the lift we use" myth is one of my pet peeves. It can push my buttons everytime, :roll:
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:21 pm

Well .......

  ... there's a lot going on with a wing.

If you search for "pressure profile wing", you'll find some interesting pictures that look like this:

pressure_profile_on_wing_veldist2.gif
pressure_profile_on_wing_veldist2.gif (7.25 KiB) Viewed 2984 times


In my youth I worked at a wind tunnel, and many of our models were rigged with tiny little tubes connected to holes in the wing surface so we could measure pressure profiles across the wing. They tended to look like that picture.

Now if you think about what the wing actually FEELS, it feels pressure. Yes it's deflecting the air downward and that's certainly another way of looking at the situation. But higher pressure on one side and lower pressure on the other will exert a force regardless of where the air ends up going after it leaves the picture. Is the wing lifting because it's pushing air (and mass) downward, or is the wing lifting because of a pressure differential that produces downwash as a byproduct?

I think the reality is that all of these explanations are just "mental cartoons" that we use to explain the individual decisions of trillions of molecules flowing over a surface. Each "mental cartoon" serves a purpose, and some are better than others. There was a time when people postulated that a chariot pulled the sun across the sky every day. That's pretty silly by today's standards, but it produced a useful mental picture that worked pretty well without having to explain gravity ... or do any math.

What matters from a practical standpoint is whether an explanation provides enough functionality to get the job done. Scientists and engineers make approximations all the time (like assuming that gravity is uniform when it's not). If the errors are small enough, the savings in computational complexity are a good bargain.

I'm not trying to argue the case in either direction (see my related post on "paper or plastic?" and "Ginger or Mary Ann?"). I'm just trying to open up a little wiggle room for acceptance of alternate perspectives.    :thumbup:
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Rick Masters » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:50 pm

"Bernoulli Effect making lift the lift we use" myth is one of my pet peeves.

So tell us about the Euler Equations and see how big your audience is when you're done.
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Bill Cummings » Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:19 am

"So tell us about the Euler Equations and see how big your audience is when you're done."
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
=============================================
I'm stuck with only my Dell at the moment and it will not allow me on to the OZ Report.
So this thread is nice.
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:08 am

billcummings wrote:I'm stuck with only my Dell at the moment and it will not allow me on to the OZ Report.
So this thread is nice.

Great. Here's a new slogan for us:

    "U.S. Hawks ... Something to do when Oz is down."

:srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl: :srofl:

The Bernoulli discussion would make a great topic of its own and be highly educational. But I doubt it has much bearing on the lack of growth in hang gliding.     ;)
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Rick Masters » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:35 am

The Bernoulli discussion would make a great topic of its own and be highly educational. But I doubt it has much bearing on the lack of growth in hang gliding.

It could be that when people realized the Bournelli Effect was no longer valid, they gave up on hang gliding and took up paragliding because nobody thought parachutes utilized the Bournelli Effect anyway. :wtf:

Image
Para-people laughing at the Bernoulli Effect.
Last edited by Rick Masters on Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why there isn't any growth in hang gliding

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:41 am

Good pont Rick.      :srofl:

Whether a wing flies by Bernoulli or Euler or Newton, we can all agree that a collapsed canopy will fly by none of them. That's one of many reasons for people to prefer hang gliding.

Rick Masters wrote:    Hang gliding is our sport.

    All we need is a national organization that supports hang gliding and it will grow.

    Forget paragliding. Let them forge their own path without us.

    If only fifty hang glider pilots will demonstrate the courage of BobK, it will happen.


Thanks for the kind words Rick, and I believe you are right. I don't know if we've got 50 yet, but with yourself and Frank and Joe and Bill and Sam and Steve and Harry and many more ... we're on our way.

I do believe that a national association truly dedicated to hang gliding can turn around the sport's decline, and that each of you are part of making that happen.
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