Wisconsin Hang Gliding L.L.C.
Hang Gliding in Wisconsin
Gutzmer’s Twin Oaks Airport
Whitewater, Wisconsin 53190
[Call Rik] (269) 993-7721
Discovery Tandem Flights:
Discover “dynamic free flight soaring” by taking a discovery tandem with one of our certified tandem instructors. Allow yourself to be towed up with an instructor on a tandem hang glider with our Dragonfly aerotow plane. You can just go along for the ride and take in the free flight experience.
Because the discovery flight was meant to be a training flight you will be asked if you want to take control with the help of your instructor. You will learn all the basics of controlling the glider on your first flight! If you decide to persue the sport of hang gliding the discovery tandem flight will count as your first lesson.
Pick a lesson package from below that suits your needs. Keep in mind any partial lesson package that you choose can be applied to the “Complete Lesson Package.” However, you will need to sign up for the the complete package within 6 months after completion of the partial lesson package to qualify.
Tandem Discovery Flight – View price list
This is our most popular choice for a first hang gliding experience.
You can purchase any of the pacakages below securely with credit card or through your paypal account.
Bunny Hill Class – View price list
In this class you will learn the basics of ground handling a glider and begin some ground runs and some short flights from out man made bunny hill at the airport. 2-4 hours
Intro Package – View price list
Includes one bunny hill class and one tandem lesson
Two Tandem Lessons – View price list
Complete Lesson Package – View price list
This package is our best deal. It includes 15 tandem lessons and 3 bunny hill classes. The object of this package is to bring students to a level or close to a level that they can do thier first solo. Depending on the students schedule and progress it may be necessary for additional tandems.
Rik is the owner operator of Wisconsin Hang Gliding L.L.C. He has been flying hang gliders for 3 decades. Rik currently holds, an advanced hang glider rating, tandem hang gliding instructor ratings, foot launch instructor and more. Not to mention Rik is a rated tug pilot which is a unique rating, essential to towing hang gliders aloft here in the midwest.
I have pretty much been fascinated with aviation since I was a toddler. I remember shopping with my parents, back when I was three years old, I took a hand full of small plastic airplane models and pocketed them. They were later found in my pants that evening. It was pretty hard to convince my parents that i just found them outside somewhere seeing we lived out in the country on a farm.
In my youth I had never passed up a chance to stop by an airport, remote control airplane base, etc. Most of my youth I lived just a couple of miles from a small grass airstrip that serviced local airplanes. There was also a river parallel to the grass strip that sea planes used to fly out of a few times a day on weekends. I used to spend countless hours waiting for the infrequent flight coming from there.
Across the road from where i lived was a huge public field that I used to fly those big diamond shape kites. My dad taught me how to make and fly them. Over time the kites I built just got bigger and bigger. Eventually the kite line was almost light rope.
Tail on the ground the kites were over my head by far when I stood them up. I used to get them so high. I remember using up to 800 feet of line one time! When the kites got that big I usually did not get them back. I was happy if I could get most of my line retrieved after a long afternoon flight. I enjoyed tying them to the fence when I went in for lunch. I would pretty much leave them there for the day and wait till they either broke or the wind died and they ended up in a tree at the edge of the river.
I swore I would start building kites large enough to take up a person someday.
But then one day as I was watching TV I saw hang gliding. That’s it!! That’s what I wanted to do. From there it was just a matter of time till I had the opportunity and the money to begin. I was 18 years old when I started and have been flying hang gliders ever since. Fortunately I grew up living in the mountains. At that time the mountains were the only places hang gliders were flown.
Eventually I did get my sport aircraft license and several years ago I also achieved my pilots license with instrument rating.
Rik has lived in Wisconsin for 13+ years. He still returns to the mountains at least once every year.
When Rik is not flying he has other hobbies such as snowboarding, skateboarding, long boarding, biking, cycling, running, water skiing, motor cycling and much more.
Thanks for reading!
A. How do you steer?
Hang gliders are controlled by shifting the pilot’s weight with respect to the glider. Pilots are suspended from a hang strap connected to the glider’s frame (hence the name “hang” glider). By moving forward and backward and side to side at the end of this hang strap, the pilot alters the center of gravity of the glider. This then causes the glider to pitch or roll in the direction of the pilot’s motion and thus allows both speed control and turning.
B. How high/far can a hang glider go?
This depends a lot on the conditions in which they are flown, but flights in excess of 300 miles in length and altitudes of well over 17,999 ft. MSL have been recorded. More typically, pilots in the summer in the western US will frequently achieve altitudes of 5,000 to 10,000 ft AGL and fly for over 100 miles.
C. How long do flights last?
Again this depends on conditions, but a high altitude flight is frequently several hours in duration. On good days, pilots don’t have to land until the sun goes down.
D.Where can gliders launch and land?
Pretty much any slope that is relatively free from obstructions, is steeper than about 6 to 1 and faces into the wind can be used to foot launch a hang glider. The pilot just runs down the slope and takes off when the air speed reaches 15 to 20 mph. Alternatively, towing by trucks, stationary winches and ultralight aircraft allows gliders to get into the air when no hills are available.
Where a hang glider can be landed depends somewhat on the skill of the pilot. An experienced pilot should be able to put a glider safely into any flat spot clear of obstructions bigger than about 50 by 200 ft. This area requirement can vary somewhat, though, depending on wind conditions and the surrounding terrain.
E. How safe are hang gliders?
As safe as the person flying them. Like any form of sport aviation, hang gliding can be dangerous if pursued carelessly. Gliders in the US are now certified for airworthiness by the Hang Glider Manufacturers Assn. (HGMA). Also, hang gliding instruction has been
standardized and students learn from certified instructors using a thorough gradual training program. Despite these advances, people still make judgment errors and aviation is not very forgiving of such. The majority of pilots fly their entire careers without sustaining a serious injury.
A. How much wind is necessary to launch/fly/land?
Hang gliders can be launched, flown and landed in winds from zero to about 30 mph safely. Generally, ideal winds for launching and landing are from 5 to 20 mph depending on the flying site. Wind speed is less important in flight since the pilot controls the air speed of the glider whatever the wind speed may be.
B. How do gliders gain altitude?
While there are many sources of upwardly moving air or “lift”, the most commonly used by hang gliders are ridge lift and thermal lift. Ridge lift occurs when horizontal wind hits an obstruction (like a ridge, for instance) and is deflected upward. Thermal lift occurs when terrain is heated by the sun and transfers this heat to the surrounding air – which then rises. Typically ridge lift exists in a “lift band” on the windward side of a ridge and pilots get up by flying back and forth through this band. Thermal lift on the other hand
usually starts at some local “trigger point” on the ground and
then rises as a column or bubble of air. To get up in a
thermal, pilots thus typical circle in this region of rising air.
C. What sort of temperatures are encountered in flight?
Hang gliders are flown in sub-zero conditions in the winter and in the hottest deserts in the summer. Since the air temperature typically falls by about 4 degrees (F) for every 1000 ft gain in elevation, however, high altitude hang glider flights are frequently cold. Pilots expecting to fly over about 12 – 14,000 ft in the summer will generally wear warm clothing to protect against exposure.
For more answers to common questions, please visit Wisconsin Hang Gliding’s website.
Hang Gliding – Jakub Zajaczkowski
Tommy Bartlett Show Air Glider Act
Wisconsin Hang Gliding LLC