Hang-gliding, ever heard of it? Like some kind of lifelike paper aeroplane, hovering high above the ground for hours. It gives an ultimate form of freedom and is the secret to positive energy. At least, if we are to believe Wim de Gier. We spoke to Wim about getting energy from hundreds of metres up and his best experience as a hang-glider pilot.
In the spring of 2006, Wim decided to respond to the request to give hang-gliding a try. "By now 14 years ago, a friend suggested that I go along. I was used to heights through my experience as a parachutist, but I didn't expect this. It was so amazing and I was immediately in love!".
After this first flight, Wim immediately decided to do a course (B1). He is now chairman of the KNVVL (hang-gliding department) and is working hard to make hang-gliding bigger in the Netherlands!
Can anyone just hang-glide?
Yes, anyone from the age of 16 can learn hang-gliding. After just a short year of flying, you can fly at high altitudes.
It is possible to do a duo flight with an experienced pilot. During this duo flight, you will experience how easy it is to fly a delta wing. It is also an experience you will never forget. Of course, flying by yourself gives even more satisfaction. Truly anyone can learn to hang-glide.
What makes hang-gliding so interesting?
The total freedom is what makes it so fun, being very much in the here and now like a bird. I like hang-gliding as much as skydiving, it's just a completely different experience. Skydiving is very fast and hugely adrenaline-inducing. Hang-gliding is much more relaxing and you can enjoy it for a very long time (sometimes hours in the air). You get so much positive energy from it!
"Hang-gliding is safe. Even NASA has helped make hang-gliding a safe sport! The equipment (the wings) are worked out in every detail so that anyone can fly it safely. Because of the tube construction under the wing, you are protected."
From Global Program Manager to hang-gliding pilot
"Hang-gliding is currently a hobby, I work as a Global Program Manager. As a result, I visit many different countries like Brazil and Australia." Making an insanely beautiful flight over Rio de Janeiro and landing on a snow-white beach afterwards is one of the many special hang-gliding experiences Wim has had. Yet his best flight was a lot closer to home. "My best flight was in France, over Lake Annecy. At 3km altitude, I flew over high rocks, a mountain ridge and a lake, the flight lasted almost 2 hours! The most beautiful view I have ever seen." You can read many stories, films and photos on his website.
Anyone can learn to hang-glide
It is very safe and gives you an insane sense of freedom. A fear of heights certainly does not have to get in the way of learning this exceptionally beautiful sport. Did you know that it is also very easy to learn and practice in the Netherlands? Check out LeerNuDeltavliegen.nl
We spoke to: Wim de Gier, Owner of Leer Nu Deltavliegen