Hang gliding Information

Hang gliding is an air sport in which a pilot flies a light and unmotorized foot-launchable aircraft called a hang glider . Most modern hang gliders are made of an aluminium alloy or composite-framed fabric wing. The pilot is ensconced in a harness suspended from the airframe, and exercises control by shifting body weight in opposition to a control frame, but other devices, including modern aircraft flight control systems, may be used. In the sport's early days, pilots were restricted to gliding down small hills on low-performance hang gliders. However, modern technology gives pilots the ability to soar for hours, gain thousands of feet of altitude in thermal updrafts, perform aerobatics, and glide cross-country for hundreds of miles. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and national airspace governing organizations control some aspects of hang gliding.

Most early glider designs did not ensure safe flight; the problem was that early flight pioneers did not understand the underlying principles that made a bird's wing work.

Starting in the 1880s technical and scientific advancements were made that led to the first truly practical gliders. Otto Lilienthal of Germany duplicated some of his contemporaries' work and greatly expanded on it from 1874. He rigorously documented his work, strongly influencing later designers; for this reason, Lilienthal is one of the best known and most influential early aviation pioneers. His type of aircraft is now known as a hang glider.

Wikipedia, Hang gliding, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hang_gliding (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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