Flight with a hangglider. Soaring flight is the goal for most pilots. Flights with no lifting air known as sled runs is possible from hills or mountains. Soaring flights may last for many hours depending on the meterological conditions and the pilots skill and stamina.
Safety have improved radically since the start of hang-gliding in the 1970's, and it is now quite safe compared to other similar activites like paragliding, sailplanes, base jumping and skydiving.
There are hang-gliding schools in most areas, people who try to learn by themselves usually end up dead or badly hurt.
Hang-gliding competitions involve flying a task that consists of a route around a number of turnpoints. The route is normally from 50km to over 250km depending on the terrain and weather. Pilots find thermals generated by the suns heating of the ground and climb by flying inside these. When the pilots reach the cloud base altitude they glide on to find a new thermal. The pilot who completes the course with the fastest time win. The pilots fly with a GPS receiver that record a tracklog to prove correct rounding of the turnpoints and start/goal time.
The normal cross country competition is quite boring to watch as a spectator, as pilots become a dot in the sky and disappear for hours until they come fast and low into goal hundreds of km away. Another more spectacular competition format is speedgliding, which is the hang-gliding equivalent to downhill skiing. The pilots have to pass through gates flying down a mountain at speeds over 140 km/h and altitudes of only a few meters. Red Bull is a major sponsor in this sport.
Flying a hangglider can be an andredalin pumping expirience like in speedgliding, or calm and beautiful when thermalling up with a bird of prey over the mountains.