Most of the typical questions not covered at the main web site are answered here.
Q. How safe is powered hang gliding?
A. We have a 100% safety record and the Apollo Trike has been tested for 6 G-forces positive and 3 G’s negative, that’s higher than most conventional airplanes. This is a FAA approved special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) tested to strict industry standards. It is maintained and inspected by FAA certified mechanics. We also only fly in fair weather with a backup ballistic parachute system making this safer than other aircraft.
Q. Is there an age or weight limit?
A. People from age 6 to 87 have experienced this uplifting adventure. The weight limit is 250 pounds. This is one of the limitations developed by the manfacturer and is therefore the legal limit by the FAA. Therefore, if you weigh more than 250 pounds, we can not take you up.
Q. What about the weather? How often do you cancel due to weather?
A. With aviation, weather is always a consideration. We utilize all NOA and FAA flight service information available. With this in mind, it is best to book your reservations in advance at the beginning of your vacation, so if we do have a bad weather day we can reschedule you while you are here. We will contact you on your mobile phone as soon as possible, usually the night before or in the morning if there are any changes due to inclement weather. It is usually the winds aloft (high altitude winds) over the mountain passes that make flying less comfortable because of the bumps that we want to avoid.
Q. How should I dress?
A. Because of the altitudes we will be flying at, it is recommended that you bring shoes and sox with no open toed shoes. Long pants and a light jacket or sweatshirt are advised if you get cold easily. We provide a flight suit which fits over your normal clothing. Generally, if you come dressed and comfortable for the temperature outside or driving over the mountain pass, the flight suit will keep you warm with the wind and altitude gain. We have heated gloves for the colder days. It is like riding a motorcycle high in the mountains.
Q. What happens if the engine quits?
A. The Apollo Trike is a powered hang glider designed for safely gliding to a landing area with or without power whether the engine quits or is shut down on purpose.
Q. Is the engine very loud?
A. The engine has a four blade prop turning slowly, an intake silencer and an exhaust silencer all designed for noise reduction. In addition to the aircraft noise reduction features, you will also be wearing an intercom noise canceling headset which reduces the sound of the engine and allows clear communication during your flight with the instructor.
Q. My wife and I want to go at the same time, can we?
A. Starting in 2012, you can go up with your wife, brother, sister, father, mother, kid, friend, etc… with our new ‘Fly Together” program. We have two trikes, two instructors and you can fly together at a safe distance. This is by special arrangement only so please book in advance to make sure you can do this if it is important to you. This is an awesome experience to fly together each with your own flight instructor and trike. We fly as close as possible depending on weather conditions.
Q. How does this compare to a Balloon ride?
A. A balloon ride is floating not flying. You are suspended in one place. It is like sitting on a park bench in one place that goes up and down, rather than going somewhere and seeing more areas which you can do in the powered hang glider. In a balloon ride you are packed in with a number of people and go up and down. In the powered hang glider you have your personal pilot/instructor and go where you want and as high as you want. You are in control with the powered hang glider, you can do the flying if you want. Although we generally fly early in the morning same as balloons, we fly much later in the day so you do not have to get up quite so early. We can fly all day in the higher winds but we attempt to be finished by 11:00 AM in the summer to provide a smoother and more enjoyable experience before the air “bumps” get uncomfortable.
Q. How does this compare with a sailplane ride or soaring?
A. The biggest difference is that in a sailplane, you are inside. In the powered hang glider you are outside. It is like the difference of being inside a car or outside like on a motorcycle. The visibility is much better in the powered hand glider because you can look down rather than just out the side of the sailplane. The sail plane is generally a “ride” rather than a lesson where you get to fly the powered hang glider if you want and have a FAA certified flight instructor at your side. Typically the sailplane flies in the smooth air where you tow up and glide right down, or in the bumpy air where you circle around in one place to gain altitude. In a sailplane you need to stay near the airport and high so you can safely glide back where a powered hang glider you can explore where ever you want, get low, skin the ground and climb back up. The sailplane is quieter with now engine, but the powered hang glider has high tech noise canceling headsets so it is more quiet than you would expect. For those who want the complete silence of the sailplane or the unpowered hang glider, the engine can be shut off in flight and restarted no problem.
Q. How does this compare with parasailing?
A. Parasailing is getting dragged behind a boat like water skiing, except you go a couple hundred feet into the air. Very little control. Parasailing can be done at almost any popular lake similar to water skiing where powered hang gliding can be done at few places in the world.
Q. How does it compare to a helicopter tour?
A. A helicopter tour is where you are inside like being inside a car or a tour bus. A powered hang glider you are outside like being on a motorcycle. The visibility in a powered hang glider is much better since you can see out both sides. Sometimes in a helicopter, you can be in the middle and not see very well out either side, or at least not be able to see out one side or the other. Another big difference is that in a helicopter, you cannot fly it yourself you want to. Helicopters are very difficult and tricky to fly so you can not try to control it yourself. The powered Hang Glider is easy to fly so you can fly it yourself if you want. It is the simplest and easiest aircraft to learn to fly and many people start flying it right after takeoff until final approach for landing.
Q. How does this compare with Skydiving?
A. Skydiving is very quick. You are packed into the airplane for the long climb, typically not able to see out, than you jump out, freefall, open the chute and glide back to the landing area. Skydiving is one of the most adrenalin pumping, thrilling and extreme sports there is. However, you do not see much and it is over quickly. Typically you are more focused on the falling and the anticipation of the parachute opening rather than looking around and enjoying the area.
If you have browsed through our web site and don’t see your question mentioned here, call us at 775.772.8232 or email us at Paul@HangGlidingTahoe.com