.

.

All things hang gliding. This is the main forum. New users, introduce yourself.

Moderators: sg, mods

#405955
Hello every one! I am from pakistan. I have a very keen interest in making hang gliders.Beside my own, study I spend a lot of time in studying hang gliders and other small altra light aeroplanes. Now a days my this interest led my to a new Idea of making my own hang glider factory . I know that this is not an easy job, but with the help of this forum I want know That is it possible? And If want to start with a small factory then how much will initially cost ? how Much and what types of skilled workers would I need . ? Will I need an aeronautical Engineer for this purpose?








#405956
Check this out, about the guy who runs WillsWing:


I think the high performance gliders all have a long history of little design tweaks and build techniques to make them what they are. It wouldn't be possible to start a new factory and start putting out T2Cs or RXs. If you had a good design and building skills, you might have luck producing something like a Falcon and building up from there over some years.

It was a long time ago but I worked at a HG factory once. My experience was that it was a metal machining shop with some sewing machines. Are you good with metal machining and industrial sewing? They also built non-HG stuff to pay the bills.

Keep in mind that if you put out a bad product, you will be putting people's lives in danger. Kind of a downer, but that's a fact of hanggliding. Good luck, fly safe! /jd
#405959
waltspoint wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:02 pm
Check this out, about the guy who runs WillsWing:


I think the high performance gliders all have a long history of little design tweaks and build techniques to make them what they are. It wouldn't be possible to start a new factory and start putting out T2Cs or RXs. If you had a good design and building skills, you might have luck producing something like a Falcon and building up from there over some years.

It was a long time ago but I worked at a HG factory once. My experience was that it was a metal machining shop with some sewing machines. Are you good with metal machining and industrial sewing? They also built non-HG stuff to pay the bills.

Keep in mind that if you put out a bad product, you will be putting people's lives in danger. Kind of a downer, but that's a fact of hanggliding. Good luck, fly safe! /jd

Thank you for the kind information! Yes obviously that is a tough and time consuming job. Actually it is not only to build a hang glider but to build a safe,good controllable one. As you said that you have some experience in a factory,so could you tell me that how much time one require to be a good hang glider designer. Also can I get an opportunity to work in such type of factory anywhere. I think that If I work in such type of factory for about one year or a little bit more, Then I can start my own factory.
#405963
faiq386 wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:09 am
TjW wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:09 pm
Do you fly hang gliders?
No I did not.
Not to be negative, but if you have never flown hang gliders, why would you want to go through all the risk to build them as a business? The seemingly simplistic form of hang gliders as viewed by the typical layman can fool one into believing that a hang glider could be simply and cheaply constructed for profit. Don't be fooled, as there is much technology and high-precision built into every single glider. As with everything of human flight, each craft has to be extremely well-designed with much prior experience and forethought. These are not merely units slapped together with some simple metal tubing, some fabric stitched together, some wire rope and a few fastenings. Nope.

If you are not motivated by the love and long-time experience of flying, you will not persevere through the very rough beginning years of a hang glider business. There are far better, more lucrative businesses you could foster other than anything associated with free-flight. Do your homework. Look at the demographics. Right off the bat, a businessman would look to something else. Only a die-hard, gung-ho, experienced pilot would think he/she could make a hard and barely-decent living within a hang gliding associated business.
It has been said many times that if you want to become a millionaire in a hang gliding business, you had better start out with many millions of dollars.

The best piece of advice is to first join the community of pilots by becoming a hang glider pilot and build your flying skills for many years. Then you may begin to intimately understand some of the concepts of HG design. Being employed by a hang glider manufacturer would be a second goal. Much aerodynamic and structural study is also required, as well as good business acumen. However, with enough business knowledge and understanding the barriers to market entry, you'd likely look into other industries to make your fortune.
#405970
waltspoint wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:22 pm
What's the flying scene like in Pakistan? I know there are some awesome mountain ranges there. Is there a flying community? Established launches and XC routes? Paragliders? I'm curious as Pakistan is like, well, the other side of the world for me.
Yes Here are a very awesome mountains valleys in pakistan and also are some flying communities.But I don't Think that here are XC routes in pakistan.
#405973
DMarley wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:38 am
faiq386 wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:09 am
TjW wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:09 pm
Do you fly hang gliders?
No I did not.
Not to be negative, but if you have never flown hang gliders, why would you want to go through all the risk to build them as a business? The seemingly simplistic form of hang gliders as viewed by the typical layman can fool one into believing that a hang glider could be simply and cheaply constructed for profit. Don't be fooled, as there is much technology and high-precision built into every single glider. As with everything of human flight, each craft has to be extremely well-designed with much prior experience and forethought. These are not merely units slapped together with some simple metal tubing, some fabric stitched together, some wire rope and a few fastenings. Nope.

If you are not motivated by the love and long-time experience of flying, you will not persevere through the very rough beginning years of a hang glider business. There are far better, more lucrative businesses you could foster other than anything associated with free-flight. Do your homework. Look at the demographics. Right off the bat, a businessman would look to something else. Only a die-hard, gung-ho, experienced pilot would think he/she could make a hard and barely-decent living within a hang gliding associated business.
It has been said many times that if you want to become a millionaire in a hang gliding business, you had better start out with many millions of dollars.

The best piece of advice is to first join the community of pilots by becoming a hang glider pilot and build your flying skills for many years. Then you may begin to intimately understand some of the concepts of HG design. Being employed by a hang glider manufacturer would be a second goal. Much aerodynamic and structural study is also required, as well as good business acumen. However, with enough business knowledge and understanding the barriers to market entry, you'd likely look into other industries to make your fortune.
Can you explain me in an easy way the two sentence, 1) Only a die-hard, gung-ho, experienced pilot would think he/she could make a hard and barely-decent living within a hang gliding associated business.
2 ) However, with enough business knowledge and understanding the barriers to market entry, you'd likely look into other industries to make your fortune .
And could you tell me that how much flying experience one require to become a good pilot and thereafter a good designer?
which country is best for this purpose, I mean where this industry is at peak,so that at first stage I can work as pilot and then to join an HG industry?
#405974
faiq386 wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:06 am
DMarley wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:38 am
faiq386 wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:09 am
TjW wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:09 pm
Do you fly hang gliders?
No I did not.
Not to be negative, but if you have never flown hang gliders, why would you want to go through all the risk to build them as a business? The seemingly simplistic form of hang gliders as viewed by the typical layman can fool one into believing that a hang glider could be simply and cheaply constructed for profit. Don't be fooled, as there is much technology and high-precision built into every single glider. As with everything of human flight, each craft has to be extremely well-designed with much prior experience and forethought. These are not merely units slapped together with some simple metal tubing, some fabric stitched together, some wire rope and a few fastenings. Nope.

If you are not motivated by the love and long-time experience of flying, you will not persevere through the very rough beginning years of a hang glider business. There are far better, more lucrative businesses you could foster other than anything associated with free-flight. Do your homework. Look at the demographics. Right off the bat, a businessman would look to something else. Only a die-hard, gung-ho, experienced pilot would think he/she could make a hard and barely-decent living within a hang gliding associated business.
It has been said many times that if you want to become a millionaire in a hang gliding business, you had better start out with many millions of dollars.

The best piece of advice is to first join the community of pilots by becoming a hang glider pilot and build your flying skills for many years. Then you may begin to intimately understand some of the concepts of HG design. Being employed by a hang glider manufacturer would be a second goal. Much aerodynamic and structural study is also required, as well as good business acumen. However, with enough business knowledge and understanding the barriers to market entry, you'd likely look into other industries to make your fortune.
Can you explain me in an easy way the two sentence, 1) Only a die-hard, gung-ho, experienced pilot would think he/she could make a hard and barely-decent living within a hang gliding associated business.
2 ) However, with enough business knowledge and understanding the barriers to market entry, you'd likely look into other industries to make your fortune .
And could you tell me that how much flying experience one require to become a good pilot and thereafter a good designer?
which country is best for this purpose, I mean where this industry is at peak,so that at first stage I can work as pilot and then to join an HG industry?
I won't say that you have to be a great pilot to build hang gliders. But you have to have enough interest to learn something about them.
You can learn to fly in as little as ten to fourteen days, weather permitting and assuming you already have a good idea of flying from other piloting or model airplanes, or possibly just a good solid grounding in theory. Most people have other things they're doing, so it takes longer. You can be reasonably competent in a year or so, if you fly often.

Which countries do you think might have hang glider factories?
Do you have any idea who your competitors in the hang gliding market might be?
Do you know what kinds of gliders they sell? Do you know their prices?
Is there something different about the product you would build?
Price can be a factor, but I guarantee you it's not the only factor.
Do you have a group of people in mind that you would sell to?

None of these questions really have anything specific to hang gliding in them.
These are just questions any businessman would know the answers to before considering starting a business.

I think the thing that is striking most of the people replying here is that you don't seem to have much knowledge about, or interest in, hang gliding itself.
#405975
Here's some various thoughts about my experience, dating from the late 1970's. There were maybe 10 people employed at the shop. About half were pilots, who were working there because we loved hang gliding, not because we expected to earn much money. I've forgotten exactly, but I think we completed one or two gliders a day, as we had a popular design at the time. Every glider had to be test flown. We'd take them out to the cliff, set them up, trust our lives to the results of our craftsmanship and see if they worked. Then we would adjust them for straight flight and best handling & performance before shipping them. While this was going on, we would think about and talk about what aspects of the design worked well, and what could be improved. So the shop functioned due to having a group of pilots working there.

I wasn't involved in the business side of things but I can give you a few ideas of the challenges. Hang glider factories sell into local flying communities. You need a few local sites, good weather conditions, active fliers, and a thriving flying scene. Hang gliders don't sell themselves. There need to be flying schools, people promoting the sport, a population with enough money & time & adventurous spirit to choose to be involved in flying. You also need to be in an area where 'fringe' activities like hang gliding are tolerated. Here in California, the problem is that all the land belongs to somebody who is worried they will be blamed if an HG crashes on their land. So many good potential flying sites don't let us fly, and at the ones we do get to use we often need expensive insurance. You might have similar issues in your area, people being protective of their farm or whatever.

One problem making a living off of hang gliding is that everyone thinks it should be cheap, and expects to be given a special discount deal when they buy gear. An even bigger problem is that interest in hang gliding is falling, so fewer new pilots are coming into the sport needing gear.
#405982
I would say it is possible to setup a factory in Pakistan but there will be challenges. Pakistan has a lot of things going for it. There are is plentiful skilled labor and the production cost would be lower than any of the current factories. From a business standpoint you could probably be profitable making harnesses.

The best harnesses are made to order from the pilots measurements. As others have mentioned hang gliding is a limited market so you may want to make products for paragliding, sailing, climbing, parachuting, etc. The barrier to entry is quite low, not much more than a high quality sewing machine. The best way to get started would be to apprentice for a large shop like Moyes, Icaro, Woody Valley, or Aeros.

Pakistan would be a great place to fly. The mountains are beautiful and fields for landing are available. Once you learn to fly you may be able to teach others and start a hang gliding movement. It's not easy but I say follow your dream and do what you love doing.
#405983
I'm sure his motivation is the cost of glider compared with pakistan's local economy. It's an interesting question actually, what would the absolute minimum cost glider look like, is there something cheaper than Dacron that would work well enough? Could we add some weight and not use aircraft grade aluminium? Just how cheap could a basic floater be made for? A minimal kit hangglider could be relevant for initial hill lessons or in other parts of the world to build up an initial flying community.

The others are right though, regardless, your first step is learning to fly one and probably a year of flying at least after that. Get a used single surface glider from somewhere, then once you have some experience, you could work on building your own version.
#406094
kukailimoku2 wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:45 pm
"If you want to make a small fortune in hang gliding...start with a large one."

- JMB
In case you were wondering, "JMB" is Jean-Michel Bernasconi, who founded Pacific Windcraft, which was later acquired by Airwave and became Pacific Airwave. I was one of the first two people hired by JMB (kukailimoku2 came along a bit later), so I was able to see the start-up process from a unique viewpoint.

When Jean-Michel started Pacific Windcraft, he'd already been a dealer rep for Bill Bennett and Flight Designs, and was a trained aeronautical engineer. So he already had a long list and a personal acquaintance with anybody who was anybody in the North American hang gliding world. He also had designed the first double-surface glider that a beginner could easily transition to. Finally, after he left Flight Designs, he hired away an experienced airframe fabricator and a guy who had been the sail loft foreman for both Flight Designs and Electra Flyer, which was at one point one of the biggest manufacturers in the country, if not the world. That foreman gave him a very detailed list, with costs, of everything needed to equip a sail loft, along with a plan for creating an efficient sail loft within an absolute minimum of space. He also had the skills to make patterns and produce prototype sails for evaluation.

JMB and his initial staff were all proficient pilots, not only with conventional gliders put with prototypes, which was an essential part of testing new gliders and determining what was right with them and what was wrong. Kukailimoku2 was also a gifted pilot, able to give valuable input during the design process. as well as flight-testing gliders in production.

In short, JMB had started his company not only with a bit of borrowed money but with a classic glider design, an experienced crew, and a ready network of dealers to promote and sell the product. And even with those advantages, the company came close to failing in its first years due to periodic economic downturns.

Unless you can come out of the gate with similar credentials, and be prepared to lose money at first, I'm afraid that your chances of starting a successful hang glider factory are exceedingly slim.
#406099
Faiq386,

I would guess that you are faced with large taxes and import fees in your country. These fees can make it very expensive to bring in complete and finished gliders for yourself and friends. If that cost is your motivation, then building complete hang gliders there would be a very complex solution to that problem. Aside from the technical knowledge needed for success there, any mistakes could have very serious results. The advice here from Jlatorre may not be what you wish to hear, but I can promise you, he is very trustworthy. As an alternative, I suggest that you investigate the real tax rates that you would pay to import good complete gliders. "Gently used" sports equipment may get lower import rates than all-new equipment. "Your own factory" may not be a realistic answer for you there. Foreign sellers (businesses) may have established supply channels there which could cost less than one man shipping one glider. Some countries may get better tax rates than others, for the same equipment. I suggest that you investigate the real obstacles that you face, and perhaps find better options for yourself.

Jlatorre,

A good while back, Jean-Michel Bernasconi came to visit here in Utah, and he was an impressive guy. He would (very quietly) ask some of the most interesting flying questions, and man, the evening discussion was then launched. I had been expecting him to tell us what was what, but he spent a lot of the time listening. I was flying a Fledgling and a big Raven back then; he was very interested in the Fledgling, so I actually had something to contribute there.

I also wanted to say thanks again for that great Airwave sail which you built for me, 'way back then. It served me very well. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be flying with exactly the sail colors I wanted, and knowing it was made by one of the best people in the business. I did not retire that hang glider until I started finding tiny stress cracks in the airframe, around the bolt holes. We have some strong lift around here, at times. 8)
#406110
red wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:02 pm


A good while back, Jean-Michel Bernasconi came to visit here in Utah, and he was an impressive guy. He would (very quietly) ask some of the most interesting flying questions, and man, the evening discussion was then launched. I had been expecting him to tell us what was what, but he spent a lot of the time listening.

I think that this was a key part of his work both as a designer and a dealer representative. The best sales reps ask you what you want before they tell you what they've got. They know that their success depends on giving the customers what they need, and finding niches that their competitors aren't exploiting.

I also wanted to say thanks again for that great Airwave sail which you built for me, 'way back then. It served me very well. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be flying with exactly the sail colors I wanted, and knowing it was made by one of the best people in the business.

Aw, shucks. You are too kind ... or has that high altitude finally enfeebling your brain and affecting your judgment? I do remember making that sail ... I think it was a Magic 4 (cross-country model?). I believe it was one of the first built on a pattern I made when we re-designed the glider so that normal human beings could build it. The British method was to literally build the airframe inside the sail, feeding in the tools though small ports in the sail. (They hired assemblers with very small hands, Graham Deegan told me.) The American method was to build the airframe first and then slip the sail onto it, making it not only easier to assemble but to strip the sail off the frame to inspect it for damage. A little bit of hang gliding trivia for y'all.

Nice video. Wolfie gets some great footage with th[…]

Cool! Thanks for sharing those pictures and storie[…]

My Weekend Flys pt2

Day 2 of my last weekend. An inquisitive brown sna[…]

Since you guys resurrected this thread I guess I'l[…]