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How to get your H2, H3, & H4 in Southern California

Southern California has 4 sites/areas to train:

  • Santa Barbara
  • Sylmar
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego

This section of the guide will assume that you will do most, if not all, of your training and flying toward hour Hang 4 at one of the sites above, while occasionally flying the others.

Site by Site

Santa Barbara


This guide assumes training is done with Joe Greblo of Windsports at the Sylmar Flight Park

Hang 2 Requirements

  1. 9 days at the beach hill.
  2. 4 Tandem Lessons.
  3. 8 Radio "solo" Lessons from 3500' Kagel.
  4. 10 Supervised Flights.

Major Hang 3 Requirements

Sylmar Has been judged a difficult place to learn, and as such the observers there have made a local Hang 3 requirement addition:

  1. 40 mountain solos.
    1. Beach training hill cannot help you here. Otherwise the 90 flight requirement would be meet quite easily.
  2. 20 Hours of flight time.
    1. Official USHPA requirement is 10.

San Bernardino

This guide assumes training is done with Rob McKenzie of High Adventure at the Andy Jackson Flight Park

Major Hang 2 Requirements

Getting to Hang 2 with Rob is pretty simple, as all the instruction and flying opportunities you need are easily available at the site with him. The strategy for this is simple: train with Rob until you are flying off-radio solos, then get three or so landings on your feet and that will likely be the point where Rob will be comfortable signing you off for your hang 2. It all hinges on his judgment of your skills, but it is pretty simple in terms of strategy.

Major Hang 3 Requirements

Logged Requirements

  1. Must have logged a minimum of 30 flying days.
    1. Easily done at Crestline / Marshall
  2. Must have logged a total of at least 90 flights.
    1. Easily done at Crestline / Marshall / Training hill
  3. Must have logged a minimum of ten hours of solo airtime.
    1. Easily done at Crestline / Marshall
      1. Note: while training in the summer, you cannot fly before 5 PM until you have ten hours, so it takes a bit more doing. The best time to be working on this requirement is in the spring, when you can hammer out some time in ridge lift without it being too turbulent.

Demonstrated Skills and Knowledge

  1. Demonstrates three consecutive landings within 50' of a target.
    1. Easily done at Andy Jackson, replete with grass targets to hit (or in this case only miss by 25').
      1. Rob requires one approach to be a right-hand approach, which can be tricky in the prevailing winds.
  2. Must pass USHPA Hang Gliding Intermediate written exam.

Major Hang 4 Requirements

Logged Requirements

  1. 250 flights.
    1. By far the hardest requirement to meet under this site strategy.
      1. Rob's gator training hill lessons will net you up to 60 or 80 flights pretty easily, but, at a rate of one or two flights a day, getting to a Hang 4 can take years.
      2. Alternate ways to get flights:
        1. Travel to Fort Funston for a couple of weekends and do the equivalent of touch and goes.
        2. Travel to Morningside, NH, and take cart rides up their 250' and 450' hills.
        3. Travel to Wallaby Ranch or a similar flight parks and aerotow.
        4. Travel to a site that does winch towing.
        5. Top land Marshall and relaunch multiple times.
          1. This particular strategy would require a Falcon and a set of brass ones.
        6. Torrey is not an option at this time.
  2. Must have made five flights at each of five different sites in Intermediate level conditions, of which at least 3 were inland.
    1. This requirement is not difficult in Southern California, with all these sites to fly at. The closest are Kagel, Elsinore, Santa Barbara (difficult) and the inland San Diego sites. Big Sur and Dunlap make for fun trips.
  3. Must have logged a minimum of at least eighty flying days.
    1. This will likely be done by the time you've finished the number of flights requirement.
  4. Must have at least one, 1-hour flight.
    1. Easily done by now.
  5. Must have at least one 30-minute flight in thermal lift without sustaining ridge lift.
    1. Easily done by now.
  6. Must have logged 75 hours total air time with no more than 25 of these hours to be tandem. Of these 75 hours, twenty-five must be in thermal lift, with no more than 10 of these 25 hours to be tandem.
    1. Easily done by now. All summer, thermals can be found at Crestline and Marshall and you can fly until your arms are tired and your glider experiences beer suck.

Demonstrated Skills and Knowledge

  1. Demonstrates three consecutive landings within 25' of a target.
    1. There are grass targets to hit for this (though they'll have to be marked soon with the expansion of the grass).
    2. One must be a right hand approach.
  2. Must pass USHPA Hang Gliding Advanced written exam.
    1. Recommend studying with others for this, both to help pass the test and ensure knowledge of the subject.

San Diego