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A Simple Progression for Teaching Hang Gliding

This is a 5-min video FOR INSTRUCTORS that breaks an intro lesson
into it's most basic parts, and stresses that teaching needs to be a progression
of smaller steps, guided in accordance with the fundamentals of instruction.

We can not teach someone to launch if they struggle with picking up the glider,
and we can't put them in the air until we've taught them how to land first.

The end goal is creating that 'Eureka' moment and hooking the student on hang
gliding... and we do this by ensuring their first flights are a hugely positive
and fun experience.

Regarding the technical content of this lesson, I understand different schools
might follow a slightly different progression depending on the syllabus or
training facilities available to them (such as teaching wheel landings to start
out). This video is an example of A PROGRESSION, not "THE" progression (this is
what has worked best for the Voights). The key is the WAY it's taught-
progression, clear & simple cues, and with an emphasis on the things that bring
people back. We as a whole can't afford to lose any potential pilots!

At face value this video provides new instructors with an excellent 'canned'
intro lesson. Going deeper for more experienced instructors, the video stresses
and demonstrates a lot of the complexities of instruction, be it an intro hang
gliding lesson or anything else- taking something complex and delivering it in
simple and straightforward, piece by piece steps.

I made this video to highlight a couple things in particular. The biggest and
most important to me is we need to be teaching people how to land BEFORE putting
them in the air. That might sound funny, but look at any school. ANY one.
They’re either having students fly until the ground comes up and calling it
wheel landing, or they’re trying to have students put together a launch, control
straight ahead flight, and figure out the whole flare (flare and run) thing,
simultaneously. It’s disgustingly wrong.

I brought that 5 minute video to the USHPA Board, and wanted to give it to them
for free, to be shown in all instructor certification training clinics. After
some discussion it was decided the idea was great, but not everyone loved THIS
specific progression. I tried repeatedly to explain the video is meant to
endorse teaching using A progression, and I/it made no claim that was THE
progression to be used. Deaf ears. Instead, a budget is approved to do a
re-write and produce mostly the same thing for USHPA. Which we did (with MUCH
interference from the office staff!). Have you seen it? Where did it go ?!?!
That *would* be an excellent example of something the Executive Director should
know (and should have followed through with).

I believe ADAMANTLY that the failings of the sport to thrive are almost entirely
due to poor instruction techniques and practices. Everyone is teaching the way
they were taught, and it’s such a busy scramble there’s no opportunity to
reevaluate a better way. There were TWO new pilot deaths that shook me to my
core, and the only good to come of them was what it opened my eyes to (how poor
instruction is, how much students struggle, and why so many don’t stick with
it). But even with all the views on YT… the right people don’t want to hear it.
They don’t see the problems I see, and so they’re unmotivated to change. I
understand, but I hate it. I moved on, I’m done teaching, and very done trying
to help USHPA. Hang gliding isn’t even that big a part of my life anymore… I
sold my T2, and just have one glider now, a Falcon. Saturday was my second
flying day in 2019…

I want to point out that I do not blame or fault instructors in any way. The
deficits originate at the top. Almost every instructor I know is a thoughtful,
caring, intelligent, best-intentioned person. It’s just that these qualities do
not automatically make for a great teacher, never mind someone that can
completely tear down and reassemble teaching methodology. I was very fortunate
to have the experiences and exposure I did, and it put me in a very unique
place… so when a new pilot died in an accident, while under direct instructor
supervision, being towed by another instructor, and at least two other “USHPA
CERTIFIED” instructors were there… and not one of them saw it coming (or even
the potential?). That was the moment I realized that- if ALL these instructors,
whom I know well, missed the warning signs (signs I saw) then the failing was
not their own, but that of the system that trained and certified them.

Instructors are ill equipped to teach. Students are then underprivileged in
their learning. Failure is imminent, and only the MOST stubborn, head-strong,
dedicated, or persistent will make it through to becoming a pilot.

Think about it; if a rational cautious person gets scared being allowed to
launch and get flying and feels out-of-control returning to the ground… they
don’t come back. A student that’s more ok with the unknown outcome of how he’ll
return to standing stationary on the ground- ya know, the ill figure it out when
I get there type- they’re more comfortable and more likely to continue training.
Think about that… and think about our accident statistics. Considering the
greatest determinant of aviation safety is mentality and decision making…

Again, I am not knocking instructors. They just don’t know. I didn’t know,
despite getting a generational head-start in teaching…
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