Here are some pictures of the LMFP training hills and the 1340'
mountain launch. The descriptions are mainly for people who aren't familiar with
hang gliding but may bring back fond memories for more advanced pilots.
Click on any image to see a larger version.
|Students actually start out on flat ground. When they get the feel of the glider, they go part way up the bunny hill - seen here in the distant background. Eventually, they launch from the top of the bunny hill. This Hang I student is actually flying off of the Big Hill.|
|Students learn good slope launch, straight flight and flared landing techniques on LMFP's bunny hill. When they can demonstrate the required skills they graduate from here to the Big Hill.|
|LMFP's Big Hill is the 160' training hill where Hang I students
primarily learn to execute 45 and 90 degree turns. |
Note: Students can now also take tandem training flights with instructors.
|Part of every student's training is to know, love, and care for their glider. It is, after all, what keeps you safely in the air! You need to know how to set it up, take it down, and check for anything that might keep it from flying exactly as you want.|
|The instructors are always there to lend a helping hand. They watch you like a hawk and doublecheck your glider. I think some of them have eyes in the back of their heads because very little seems to escape their scrutiny.|
|Here, one of the students is setting up a Raven on the training hill setup area. The raven may be an older glider, but they are stable and forgiving of student errors.|
|All them straps and things are kinda confusing. It's not uncommon (although somewhat embarassing) for someone to try to put the training harness on upside down. (I know)|
|Part of training on the big hill is spent 'Hang Waiting' for just the right wind conditions: Calm!|
|After graduating from the Big Hill, passing a written exam and attending a Mountain Launch class, new Hang II pilots are cleared for their first mountain flight. Here, "Thor" (One of LMFP's Master Rated instructors) is giving me my final instructions before I launch.|
|I just launched in "Novice Pilot" conditions. There was perhaps a 1-3 mph headwind, and the landing field was calm as well. On these first flights it is enough to try to remember to do what the instructor has taught you to do. You don't need any extra distractions ... like bumpy winds.|
|On my fourth mountain flight I discovered the meaning of PIO (Pilot Induced Oscillation)- a euphemism for uncontrolled ever-steepening left/right turns. If you look closely, you can see that the wing is warped, (I'm in the middle of a fast, steep, left turn) and I'm not centered in the glider.|
|Once I remembered my instructor's advice to "Push Out...Slow down" everything was fine. The weather looks bad, but the wind was really nice and steady. The lift band extended out from the mountain for almost a mile. You'll notice now I'm centered.|
|Here's a series of pictures showing how they used to take passengers for a ride. Tandem Launching from the mountain. First the instructor had to set up the glider while the passenger watched. The pilot then did a pre-flight check of the glider.|
|The passenger and tandem pilot (Mike in this case) put on their harnesses. The harnesses were then attached to the glider's hang straps with a caribiner.|
|The passenger was given instructions on what to do and then the pilot did a hang-check to make certain that everything (and everyone) was hooked up properly.|
|Then, the pilot, passenger, and frequently a three-man wire crew walked to the edge of the launch ramp. The wire crew helps steady the glider in stronger winds. The pilot gave the crew instructions and the crew provided verbal feedback on the wind/wing conditions.|
|When the pilot decided that conditions were right, they launched!|
|And they're on their way! That first time launching from the mountain is a thrill never to be forgotten!|
|Now, passengers no longer have to wait for the tandem pilot to set up the glider because they launch from the landing zone - towed by an ultralight like this one. I hope to have some tandem towing pictures soon.|