Sky Masters School of Gliding
Hang Gliding in Arizona
Arizona Hang Gliding:
As long as man has walked the face of this earth, he has dreamed of flying like a bird. Soaring flight has always been the ultimate symbol of freedom, but for thousands of years has been only a coveted fantasy never to be realized.
We are very fortunate to be living in a day and age where, for the first time since time began, mankind is able to glide through the skies completely unfettered. It is no wonder that the sport of hang gliding has captured the interest of so many.
Welcome to the sport of hang gliding as taught by the oldest and most trusted hang gliding school in Arizona: Sky Masters School of Hang Gliding.
Tandem Introduction to the Sky:
For those that would first like to see if they are going to be comfortable enough in the sky to make a true commitment to learning this incredible sport, a tandem introductory flight is the best place to start. You and your instructor will be towed by an ultralight to anywhere from 2,000 to 5,280 feet, one mile high. There you will release the tow line and realize free flight. The instructor will handle the more technical aspects of the launch, tow and landing. Ideally, you will be pilot in command for as much of the flight down as your over stimulated nervous system will allow.
At this point you are going to be in one of two states of mind. You are either going to be thinking, “Man, what a kick that was and now I’m off to my next, unrelated adventure.” With that we say, Thank you for sharing the air and an exciting time of your life with us.” Or, you are thinking, “I am Arizona’s newest and some day greatest Air Junky!” Our job then is to help you select the appropriate training package.
Aerotow Flight Instruction:
Aerotow is a technique by which a hang glider is towed to altitude by a powerful ultralight aircraft. The hang glider pilot eventually releases the tow line and glides down leisurely or radically or looks for thermal lift which will carry the pilot higher and farther.
Through multiple tandem aerotows in the AT1 program, you will eventually gain the expertise that enables you to be “Pilot in Command” during the entire flight including launching and landing. When you consistently demonstrate the ability to launch smoothly, keep a straight line on the tug and hit your spot on landing, you will earn the right to aerotow solo under radio supervision in the AT2 program or sign up for a foot launch class. After multiple solo flights demonstrating safe, consistent piloting skills and good judgment, you will receive your aerotow sign-off, which gives you the right to come out and tow unsupervised.
Foot Launch Instruction:
Now that you have learned to fly like a bird, it is time you learn to launch like one. Bet you never saw an eagle towing a hawk into the sky. To develop the skills necessary to safely hurl your newly bewinged body from a windy cliff face 4,000 feet above the valley floor, you must first survive a foot launch ground school. In an open field you will learn and practice your ground handling and launch technique on flat ground where you are not faced with the distraction of becoming airborne. If you actually do take flight, it is because are giving a very good run, probably enjoying a bit of a headwind and are listening and responding well to the instructions given over your radio. The wing may in fact pick you up a few feet at which time you will pull in the control bar and hit the ground running again. This is an exercise we call “moon walking” which will instill in you a dozen or so reflexes we need to observe before you are considered eligible for flight training in the mountains.