Deutscher Gleitschirm- und Drachenflugverband e.V.


Hanggliding and Paragliding

Flying for everyone

The two relatively new kinds of flying, namely hanggliding and paragliding, enjoy great popularity. It is estimated that about 30,ooo pilots actively participate in the sport. The appeal of these types of sport is due to the realisation of the ancient human dream of flying, the sport's technical simplicity , the mobility of the flight equipment and the sport's independence from airfields.


Photo: Heinz Zwissig

Francis Rogallo's brilliant invention (USA 1948) only actually consisted of connecting 3 poles through a fan-shaped sail and spreading these apart with a fourth horizontal pole.This so called "Rogallo Glider" was the forefather to all subsequent hang-gliders, as they are officially known and which took off in their manned form for the first time in the sixties.Today they are built from aluminium poles, stainless steel lines and synthetic sails. This type of hang-glider weighs between 20 and 40 kilos and provides a sail area of between 13 and 17 square metres. The cost of a more modern piece of equipment is between 5,ooo and 8,ooo German Marks.

The hangglider is steered by a steering frame which shifts the centre of gravity.The pilot is attached in a horizontal position to the so-called harness gear under the expanse of the sail. In this aerodynamically favourable position, a modern day piece of equipment can demonstrate a gliding performance of 1:12, that is , the hang-glider can cover 12 kilometres at a 1000m difference in altitude.


Photo: Martin Scheel

In 1974 the American Dan Pointer published a text book about "parasailing". In 1978 two French men became known for their flight attempts in which they used huge expanses of sails and experimented with running starts. Since 1987 paragliding in Germany has been approved by the Ministry of Transport. Today's paragliders are elliptical wings of 20 to 30 square metres whose chambers are filled by accumulated compresed air and stiffen up in flight. The pilot is connected to the paraglider by the rigging lines which run down the undersurface of the sail and by the harness gear. The paraglider is usually steered by steering lines to the right and to the left , which brake on one side. Simultaneous operation of the steering lines decreases flight speed. The gliding perfomance of modern day paragliders is 1:7.


Photo: Heinz Zwissig

As with other kinds of air sports, a hangglider or paraglider pilot in Germany must have a state approved aviation licence. This document, initially limited, however after suitable further training, then unlimited, is issued by the German Hang-gliding Association (DHV). The minimum age is 16 with parental consent or 15 as an exceptional case. General fitness is necessary but a medical fit to fly certificate is not stipulated. Building on this general qualification, there exists the possibility of attaining specific authorizations, for example for tow starts and passenger flights.The unlimited aviation licence allows the pilot to complete rural, long distance flights.

Both the theoretical and the practical training take place in specially authorized aviation schools of which there are about 200 at the moment in Germany.The three training levels (training for beginners, training for a limited licence and finally training for an unlimited licence) take up an average of 1-2 weeks per training level and conclude with an examination.

The training costs amount to about 1,000 Euro. The trainee pilot should take particular care to only register with an authorized aviation school. Such schools are only operated by trained flying teachers who have gained their teaching qualification by completing a difficult instructor's training course and who have to freshen up their knowledge and expertise in regular vocational training courses.

Take off and landing sites

Foto: Rainer Scheltdorf

Take off and landing in Germany take place on airfields which have been authorized by the German Hang-gliding Association. Initially the regional centre for hang-gliding and paragliding was the area around the Alps. However, as a result of the improved flight performance of equipment, further centres have developed in German low mountain ranges and, since towing winches have been in operation, there are more in the lowlands.


Photo: Andrea Rexer

As with any kind of air sports, safety is of primary importance. Especially as hang-gliding and paragliding are new types of sport and were liberally controlled, self discipline and compliance with safety regulations are paramount. The centrepiece of safety is an authorized aircraft with a certificate of quality, suitable personal equipment and pilot training completed in accordance with the rules. Due to potential emergencies, the rules stipulate that rescue equipment consisting of an especially authorized parachute must be taken along.

If then, after all this, the general safety principles such as flight preparation, operation limits, alternative rules, airspace etc. have been observed, nothing should prevent a safe flight.

The German Association DHV

Photo: Oliver Barthelmes

Hanggliding and paragliding can be pursued either individually or as a member of the club. Anyone not wishing to be a member of the club can become a direct member of the German Hanggliding Association DHV.

The German Hanggliding Association, as a specialist association, offers its members a comprehensive service: third party liability insurance, which is compulsory for all pilots and various other insurances; packer courses; regular delivery of the members magazine DHV-Infos comprising important information. What's more, the honorary members and the full-time DHV employees are always on hand to advise and help members, whether it's a question of site admittance, legal issues, difficulties with insurance companies or equipment problems. Anyone interested in competitive flying can participate in national and international competitions.

Information is distributed by:

Deutscher Hängegleiterverband e.V. / DHV e.V.
Am Hoffeld 4
83703 Gmund am Tegernsee

Telefon 08022/96 75-0
E-Mail: info@dhvmail.de

Have a good flight !