Wings Over Wasatch
Hang Gliding in Utah
Wings Over Wasatch is the premiere full-service hang gliding business proudly serving the greater Salt Lake City area, in Utah.
Hang Gliding in a Nutshell
There are several ways to get airborne in a hang glider, but the most common is to foot-launch from a hill or mountain. Once in the air, hang gliders are able to stay up for hours by finding columns of rising air (thermals), or by flying along the ridge of a mountain (ridge lift).
Hang gliders are controlled by weight shift, meaning that the pilot shifts his or her weight to steer the glider. If you would like to turn to the right, you simply shift your weight to the right and the glider will turn. Speed is also controlled by weight shift- if you pull your weight forward you lower the nose of the glider and it flies faster. Through these simple controls, we are able to easily take to the sky and soar for hours… there’s nothing like it!
When it comes time to land a hang glider, you push out and shift your weight back, raising the nose of the glider until it stalls (stops flying) and stops your forward progress putting you gently on your feet.
History, Part I: In the Beginning
The first hang glider was actually developed by a NASA engineer named Francis Rogallo. As news spread about the invention of this “Rogallo Wing”, people all over the world began building their own gliders out of readily available resources- bamboo and plastic sheeting were commonly used. With absolutely no instruction, people were taking these home-made hang gliders and flying them from hills and even off of cliffs!
The learning curve was quite steep, and as you might guess, many people were hurt or even killed during this time. Because of this, hang gliding became known as a dangerous, high-risk, extreme sport…
History, Part II: Modern Hang Gliders
Hang gliders have come a long way since those early days. Modern hang gliders are built to exacting specifications, as well as tested and certified for strength and stability (safety). What does this mean? It means that hang gliding has never been safer or easier, and there is no better time to get into the sport!
As well as advances in hang gliding equipment, the instruction has evolved over time as well. Today there is a standard curriculum that is taught by certified instructors.
The combination of modern gliders and instruction have made hang gliding so safe and accessible, ANYONE can do it!
Take I-15 to exit 288. Turn East off of the exit ramp. Stay straight on Highland Drive until you see a Chevron station and turn RIGHT at the light onto Traverse Ridge Road. Take the third RIGHT onto Manilla Drive and follow that uphill to a stop sign. Turn right at the stop sign onto Steep Mountain Road. Follow this all the way to the end and you will be at the North Side flight park.
Take I-15 to exit 288. Turn East off of the exit ramp. At the light, turn RIGHT onto Minuteman Drive/Frontage Road (there is a brown highway sign for the South Side on the right at this intersection). Just after the road bends sharply to the left, turn LEFT onto a dirt road. This takes you into the park.
Lessons meet at the bottom of the hill, you will see cars parked there. However if you would like to see people soaring, you can stay on the dirt road and it will bring you right to the top. There are also restroom facilities at the top.
Point of the Mountain in Draper, Utah:
Most of our instruction is done at “The Point”, in Draper, Utah. The Point of the Mountain is a very well-known flying site because of it’s epic and reliable soaring conditions.
There are, however, a good number of “mountain” sites within an hours drive of the Point, and once you have the skills required to fly these sites, we offer “mountain tours” and instruction at them as well.
In the mornings there are Southerly winds, so we fly at the “South Side” of the flight park. The South Side is, simply put, the ideal training facility. There are usually light winds at the bottom of the hill, making it easy to learn the basic skills. As you work your way up the hill, though, there tends to be more wind, and once you are at the top of the hill the wind is usually strong enough that the hill is soarable all morning long!
The South Side is also known for it’s unusually SMOOTH air in the early mornings… conditions typically only found at coastal sites overlooking the ocean!
In the evenings there are typically Northerly winds, so we fly at the “North Side” flight park. While the South Side is the ideal training site, the North Side is the ideal site to take the next step when graduating from the South Side!
The North Side is a ridge-lift site, and when conditions are ideal it is easy to get 1500-2000 feet above launch! Skilled pilots frequently get higher than that!
The North Side is also known for it’s smooth “wonder winds” that often until sunset, allowing for long, relaxing flights without having to work too hard to find lift.
Lessons are by appointment, and available almost every day!
Call (801) 599-2555 today and schedule your lesson to get some air!
Introductory lessons start with a “ground school”, which includes a brief explanation of the aerodynamics involved in making a hang glider fly. Then your instructor will go over the various parts of a hang glider and their purpose. Once you understand all of the equipment and have a basic idea of how to use it, it’s time to started with the hands on learning to launch, fly, and land!
The most effective, and also the safest, way to teach hang gliding, or any other sport, is to start small and work your way up. In hang gliding, that is literally the progression you will follow- you will start out running with the glider on flat ground and getting a feel for it. Then we will move to the bottom of the hill and you will be able to just barely get into the air. When you’re comfortable with that, your instructor will move you up the hill a little, and you will get a slightly higher, longer flight.
By the end of a first day lesson, you will have a basic understanding of how to launch, fly, and land a hang glider and you will have done it about 5 times from the bottom of the hill!
All instruction following the intro lesson builds upon the basic skills you learned the first day. As you gain experience, we will cover deeper topics like reading the weather and evaluating flying conditions.
Typically it takes around 5-8 lessons before you are flying from the top of the hill, but everyone learns at a different rate, so it can vary. We have never had a student that we couldn’t teach to hang glide!
Tandem flights are instructional flights where you fly with an instructor in a special glider designed for two people.
We strongly recommend that people interested in learning to hang glide take an introductory lesson BEFORE taking a tandem flight with an instructor. Having the experience of launching, flying, and landing the glider yourself allows you to learn a lot more about what your instructor is doing throughout the flight.
Schedule your lesson, call (801) 599-2555 today!
Lessons start at 7 or 8 AM and usually run until around 11 AM.
Lessons are by appointment, and are available almost every day!
Tandems are by appointment, and are available most days
Schedule your lesson, call today! (801) 599-2555
Wings Over Wasatch sells and services only the finest products available on the market today. We stand by everything we sell, as do the manufacturers of these products. If you are ever unhappy with a product purchased from us, we will not stop until you are beyond satisfied!
Customer Service is #1:
In this business, everyone has different needs. It is our mission to taylor our services to each individual’s specific needs. Advanced instruction, for example: we don’t place you in one of our existing programs, we build a program around your specific needs! While most of the products we sell are made by other manufacturers and available through other dealers, we hope you’ll do business with us because our customer service is second to none.
We are confident in our products as they are the best on the market, and they sell themselves. We will never push you to buy anything!
We will give you honest and straight forward advice regarding any purchases you may be considering, even if it means buying a product elsewhere. It is our goal to make every buying experience an enjoyable one.
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