Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: hang-gliding from Dictionary of Sports and Games Terminology

(sport) a sport in which the participant glides from a height such as a clifftop hanging in a harness from a hang-glider, which he controls by shifting his body weight in opposition to the control frame

Summary Article: hang gliding
From Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

Sport of flying in unpowered aircraft that are light enough to be carried by the pilot. Takeoff is usually achieved by launching into the air from a cliff or hill. Hang gliders were developed by the pioneers of practical flight. In Germany, starting in 1891, Otto Lilienthal made several thousand flights before a fatal gliding accident in 1896. In the U.S. collaboration between Augustus Herring and Octave Chanute resulted in successful flights of a biplane hang glider in 1896. Modern hang gliding emerged toward the end of the 1960s. In the early 1960s enthusiasts in California were gliding down coastal dunes on homebuilt delta-shaped wings they had adapted from kite designs developed by Francis and Gertrude Rogallo. The Rogallos’ kites had attracted attention because of NASA’s interest in using them for spacecraft retrieval. By the early 1970s the sport had spread throughout the U.S. and into Europe. World championships in hang gliding have been held and records kept since 1975.

Event: hang gliding

Keywords: hang gliding

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Copyright 1994-2017 Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc

Related Articles

Full text Article hang-gliding
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

Unpowered flight in a hang-glider, consisting of a large bat-shaped cloth wing on a light metal framework from which the pilot hangs in a...

Full text Article gliding
Philip's Encyclopedia

Leisure activity involving flight in a glider. The unpowered glider is launched off the ground by a sling mechanism or towed by a small aircraft...

Full text Article paragliding
The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

A paraglider in the air. The sport of hang-gliding was pioneered in Germany in the 1890s by Otto Lilienthal, but only became popular in the 197

See more from Credo