Hanggliding has developed into a practical and relatively safe sport, using simple yet sophisticated aircraft built of aluminium, carbon-fibre and high-tech sail fabrics.

The pilots, suspended by a special harness, launch the glider by running to accelerate it to flying speed and control the glider by weight shifting in relation to the A frame.

Flying a hangglider is a little more demanding than flying a paraglider and not quite as easy to learn, however a hangglider is capable of flying at higher speeds, has a higher gliding performance and can be flown in stronger winds.


The aim of gliding is to stay airborne in lifting currents of air, ridge soaring or thermaling and for many pilots this includes cross country(XC) flights.

The Irish hanggliding record for distance is currently held by Geoff McMahon and stands at 130km. Geoffs flight was achieved using only the natural power of the atmosphere and his intimate knowledge of both his glider and how localised effects affect flying conditions.

To read Geoffs account of his flight click here


Licensing Requirements

Hanggliders are exempt from any pilot licensing requirements when operated internally in Ireland, i.e. used for recreational pleasure flying and not used for hire or reward i.e. commercial tandem flight or commercial aerial photography. Read Our Sites page and contact the IPPHA Sites Officer for advice.

The fact that there is no licence requirements does not give us the freedom to do what we like. We are all bound by Irish Airlaw in just the same way road users are by the Road Traffic Act. We would emphasise that both the IPPHA and the Irish Aviation Authority strongly recommend that no one should fly or attempt to fly these aircraft without receiving a full course of approved training. Failure to receive such training may result in serious injury or loss of life, as well as damage to aircraft and property.