Our hang gliders and paragliders are not just aircraft; they are time machines. With them we can experience, at least in part, the thrill those early pioneers must have felt as they explored the unknown. They take us into a world driven not by the laws of man, but by the laws of nature. We hold this privilege in trust for future generations, even as we enjoy the legacy of those who came before.
Hang gliding and paragliding have a rich and distinguished history spanning more than 120 years of personal flight. The early pioneers of hang gliding, starting with Otto Lilienthal, were key to the development of heavier-than-air aviation. It was they who first investigated and quantified the aerodynamics of lifting surfaces. It was they who developed an understanding of the air and risked life, limb, reputation and fortune in order to help make the dream of human flight a reality.
Later, in the 40s, 50s and 60s, people like John Dickenson (who built the first modern-age hang-glider), Dave Barish (whose canopy he and other flew as a sport machine) and Domina Jalbert (who built the first cell parachute) did make the dream a reality. Their story and many others are told in a CIVL book - And The World Could Fly… - advertised elsewhere in our web-site.
Today we have access to portable aircraft capable of lifting us thousands of feet, to soar for hours and travel for hundreds of miles across country. We can experience the freedom of bird-like flight in ways that surpass even the wildest dreams of those early pioneers. Indeed, we can experience our world in ways that people throughout recorded history – no matter how rich or how privileged – could barely imagine. All of this is attainable to us for the price of a used car !