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Here we will try to give you some impartial advice on what is available and what to look out for.


Types of glider

The glider you will start on is a 3rd. generation - slow and forgiving with a low top speed (~30mph) and a glide angle of ~ 6:1. During your CP course you must move on to a glider with more performance - either a 4th gen. or more usually a 5th. Gen. These have more stiffness and defined camber in their sails due to pre-formed battens, 30 - 60% double surface and in the case of the 5th gen. a sail cut which means the sail is smaller than the airframe so leading to a drum tight wing. This results in a higher top speed (40-60 mph+) improved glide angle (8-12:1) but require more skill in flight and more crucially a good landing technique!


Other essential equipment

Besides a glider you will also require a harness and helmet. You will start on a semiprone harness that allows your legs to dangle. Once you start to measure your airtime in the 10's of minutes you will want a more comfortable harness such as a pod type, which encloses your body for its entire length thus providing comfort, warmth and streamlining. Lastly you need a helmet - any good quality helmet is ok - but do remember that it is important that your ears are unencumbered to allow you to hear the airflow - a vital piece of information to help you be aware of your airspeed. At the school whilst training you will be using ones approved for hang gliding.


The rest

Most pilots fly with an emergency parachute and it would be wise to consider one as part of your package. Gliders don't just fail in the air (they are tested to stand 6G+) but a mid-air collision is always a, remote, possibility.
A vario is useful, especially when you start thrmalling and cross-country flight and again most pilots fly with one combined with an altimeter you have a good picture of height gain / loss and absolute altitude. Other toys you might consider - compass, GPS, radio camera etc.