How can I get into powered hang gliding?
To fly a powered hang glider in South Africa, one needs to be the holder of an hang gliding license with a power assisted launch Sign Off Endorsement. Your hang gliding license is issued by RAASA in conjunction with the South African Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (SAHPA). RAASA is the authorized organization delegated by the South Africa Civil Aviation Authority to look after recreational aviation in the country.
Powered hang gliding is considered a conversion only - since the pilot is already a qualified pilot in either hang gliding, paragliding or WCM. If you start from scratch you will need to first complete your hang gliding license training before one can enroll to do the power assisted launch training.
Trike pilots will find flying the supine power assisted launch method very easy to fly and very little is needed to complete the conversion. These pilots will be trained using this specific launch method - they have a choice to convert to the other forms of launch methods later on if they so wish. (They are not allowed to participate in hill foot launch hang gliding - for obvious safety reasons. All other pilots must first attain their hang gliding license and thereafter can enroll for the power assisted hang gliding training.
To recap: 1st Hang gliding training for hang gliding license which will take 8 to 12 days. Prices for this course varies from R13000 to R15000. It is the most intensive and requires the most time.
2nd. Enroll in the power assisted launch method training. This will take an additional 6 to 10 days. With good weather and good pilot ability, from scratch it can all be done within two weeks... Costs for power assisted launch method training start from R6500. Prices are all dependent upon the school and methods of instruction used.
For existing WCM pilots. Enroll in a supine style power assisted launch method course with a suitably qualified hang gliding instructor. You will need to pass all the hang gliding theory exams and complete the practical flight sessions. This should be a minimum of 3 hours flying with multiple launches, soaring and a XC flight with an out landing.
Remember, power assisted launch methods are all for soaring flight and you will need specific training for that purpose. Switching the on-board propulsion system off and flying without power is standard practice!