Why We Do It This Way
Our program does not sell snake oil in terms of the effort nor hide the true costs of a real program. This is a total training program that does not have volume of students in the context of an artificial training environment to fulfill a "paper rating". We use natural dunes, hills, mountains, tows, airport environments to create a total pilot. Sometimes a lesson is messy, because we are dealing with real conditions. Also, we are providing much more personal attention on the whole than a large school. But we are organized and have real infrastructure expenses. So we must have total support to pay for the total practical training, personal attention, and instructional infrastructure. Thus, personal equipment purchase, which enhances the instructional environment, and will be used for for the major part of a hang gliding career, is integral to the success of the program because it subsidizes the lessons but it also enhances the learning for you.
We wean off the school equipment as we integrate one new, more complicated and higher performing piece at at time. Hang gliding is similar to scuba diving in the equipment being an extension of your body and in the intimate study of an alien sometimes hostile environment, but more like martial arts in the complexity of the motor skills and spatial awareness. Wow! That's quite a skill-set to learn. Thus, the delivery of your more advanced equipment is used as an opportunity to provide a clinic in its use, and gets you to the Fourth Step when we are tweaking and adjusting the final details in your own equipment as we learn strategic mountain flying. Thus, the helmet radio headset in the First Lesson Step allows for communication between instructor and student from hundreds of feet away thereby minimizing the trial and error aspect of learning. It also allows the student to study the USHPA FCC authorization quiz and later study for the HAM radio license. Also, it will needed to get flying tips (not structured instruction) from expert non-instructor pilots while flying with them in the mountains. These same pilots only like to associate with good bets - not accidents waiting to happen. How you present yourself in your equipment choices and credentials is very imporant to you getting further assistance. Remember, accidents happen when there too many new variables at a time whether they be skills, equipment procedures, weather challenges. Keeping you at one new factor at a time, and juggling between whats new for differing students takes enormous amounts of time, effort, coordination and expense.
The same story goes for the harness and parachute purchase for the third step. We cannot orient you in your new complex harness unless you own the particular variety you desire with approval from your instructor. So, we use it to enhance the instruction by allowing to practice in an electronic simulator and then fly it actual conditions. The parachute arrival is also an excuse for packing and throwing clinic. So, all these new procedures must integrated with what you already learned without complications. Your new glider is much higher performing as well, will need to be adjusted for your weight, so that it lands in the way you are familiar.
If another school claims they can teach you in a shorter peroid of time, with less money, you are simply learning how to fly the school's particular ideal or artificial conditions...not getting a practical outdoor education in nature's complexity, or are being short changed with the quality of instruction needed for actual competence. You will have signifcant gaps in your training or be specialized in one kind of flying thus needing extra lessons on your return to your local environment. You could be supporting a "diploma mill" or an "english speaker thinking they are an english teacher". Fortunately, Oregon Hang Gliding School has almost every environment integrated in the curriculum - beach dunes, coastal cliffs, inland hills, mountains, tow park. OHGS has a real comprehensive training product as long as you support it