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After my second or third day on the training hills, I started thinking about which glider I was going to buy for my first wing. I read everything anyone said on this site, and talked to three different instructors. My instructors said that I was flying well enough to get a double surface glider, but I ultimately chose a single surface glider.

There were a number of factors that influenced my decision, but the biggest one was my life situation. I'm 50, married with two children, own a suburban house and have a job that keeps me out of the house for 11 hours a day, five days a week. Between work, family, and house, I'll be lucky to get more than 15 or 18 flying days a year. I'm also not particularly athletic, and it took me a little longer than average to learn to fly a hang glider. There's a lot to learn after you get your H2 rating, and because of the time between flying days, my skills will be improving in a "two steps forward, one step back" progression. Considering all that, I thought the best glider for me would be the one which would give me the most confidence, so I bought a new Wills Wing Falcon 3.

I have a lot of new skills to pick up over the next few years, including learning to aerotow at some point in the near future. I will be able to do my first aerotow solo flights on my Falcon, whereas if I'd bought a double surface glider, I'd be using the school's Falcon. Also, as a new pilot, I'll be making lots of short flights, Since I'll be doing mostly mountain launching, it will mean lots of setting up and breaking down, and a single surface glider is the quickest to assemble and disassemble.

What finally sealed the deal for me was talking to one of the instructors. He told me that if I asked the pilots on the launch, that they'd tell me not to buy too little glider, but that he didn't agree. He also said that since he didn't own a personal glider, that instead he would use one of the shop's gliders, and that more often than not, he'd get a Falcon, because it was quick to set up and gave him everything he needed for the kind of flying he was doing these days. He said if he were setting up for a cross country, that he'd pick a double surface glider, but for local flying, the Falcon was usually his choice.

Yes, a single surface glider doesn't have the wind penetration of a double surfaced glider, so I will have to make more conservative decisions than would a pilot of a double surface. I'm willing to do that in return for the ease of setup, flying, and landing.