Earning Your Hang 1 at Kitty Hawk Kites


If you’re ready to take adventure to a whole new level, then it’s time to earn your first hang gliding certification at Kitty Hawk Kites. If you’re looking to achieve your childhood dream of flight with a healthy dose of challenge and confidence-building, you’re guaranteed to find it on the sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. If you want to learn a new sport while situated in one of the United States’ most beautiful beach locales, this is your place.

Earning your Hang 1 certification

Earning your Hang 1 certification at Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding School is the best way to add a sense of adventure to your OBX vacation. You’ll still have plenty of time to lounge on the beach and hang out with friends and family, but in your free time you’ll be walking to the dunes… and then running right off of them, tasting flight for the first time!

On paper earning a Hang 1 seems straightforward. Safely launch and land into the wind, fly in a straight line and pass a written test. Know how to assemble and break down your glider. Demonstrate safe decision-making. Understand how different conditions like wind direction and velocity can impact your flights. Easy enough, right?

Not quite. Earning your Hang 1 takes work. It can be tiring and frustrating at times, but exhilarating and joyful at most others. If you’re willing to show up and work hard, you’ll be a pilot in no time. Along the way you’ll get to learn from fantastic instructors and meet other students who want the same thing you do – to fly without constraints. You just have to take the leap!

Hang Gliding Certification with Kitty Hawk Kites

Completing your Hang 1 depends on a variety of conditions. How is the weather? If the wind is blowing too hard or if it’s storming during the week, it’ll take a little more time to get certified. Earning your Hang 1 is also heavily dependent on your personal skill and how well you pick it up. Some people are naturals and they’re certified in just a few days. Others (and I’m one of them) take a week or more. On average, a student at Kitty Hawk can expect to earn a Hang 1 in 7-10 days in average conditions. Having a time constraint isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re short on time, it’ll help motivate you to get the material down and execute confident flights. Your instructors will work with you to create a training plan that balances your schedule with weather conditions.

Out on the dunes, your focus will be on launching and landing the glider. You’ll start with hands-on assistance from your instructor, but will progress to launching, flying and landing the glider all by yourself by the end of the week. This part of training is by far the most satisfying. Not only will you be having the time of your life, but the happiness you’ll feel watching yourself improve throughout the week is icing on the cake!

Carry the hang glider

One of the more difficult challenges of the week will be learning how to carry the glider. After flying down the dune, you’ll need to walk it back up. Kitty Hawk trains students on gliders called Eaglets which weigh about 55 pounds. You’ll learn how to angle the nose of the glider into the wind in a way that inflates the wing and helps to assist your walk up the dune. It takes a few tries to get used to it, but your instructor will be there every step of the way… and they’ll be right there if you need a little extra help.

Set up and break down the hang glider

Being able to correctly set up, preflight and break down your glider is another crucial component of earning your Hang 1. The key for this one is simply to practice. The more you repeat the process, the easier and faster it’ll go. Understanding how and why a glider comes together and double-checking every step of the way isn’t just part of the test – knowing the functionality of every glider part will help you feel safer and more knowledgeable in the sky. It’s useful to show up a little early for your lessons so you can really get the hang of it without time constraints.

Hang 1 written test

After you’ve mastered assembling your wing, assessing conditions, and safely launching, flying and landing into the wind, then it’s time for your Hang 1 finale: the written test. This is sometimes the most stressful part of the entire experience for students, but there’s nothing to worry about. At the start of your lessons, you’ll be given a training manual that details exactly what you need to know for the multiple-choice test. If you keep up with your reading and ask lots of questions, you’ll have no trouble passing the test. Kitty Hawk Kites instructor Wolf is adamant about this element; he says students who ask more questions and are deeply engaged with the material tend to have a higher success rate.

Once all these requirements are met, you will receive your Hang 1 certification through the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and will be well on your way on the grandest adventure of your life. With your certification, you’ll be able to rent an Eaglet at will and fly on the dunes whenever conditions are appropriate.


Becoming a certified hang glider pilot will be an incredibly memorable experience and hopefully a significant stepping stone on your path in free flight. Training plans are extremely flexible and can be altered to fit every student’s personal needs. At Kitty Hawk Kites, the instructors want to see you succeed with a huge smile on your face, so that’s what they’re aiming for every single time.

Good luck and see you in the skies. We can’t wait to join you on this adventure!

Hang Gliding with Kitty Hawk Kites

Soaring into Her Future … Literally!

Talk about soaring into the next phase of your life … literally! Imani Davis of Hampton, VA, did just that last Sunday in Manteo. Celebrating her recent high school graduation, Imani enjoyed her very first parasail flight … in her cap and gown! Wow … can you think of a better way to commemorate many years of hard work and dedication in school?! Congrats, Imani … you deserve it! Just another way that Kitty hawk Kites is Teaching The World To Fly#KHKExperience

Parasailing in Manteo: High School graduation celebration (5/15/16)

Competition Fills OBX Fall Schedule

Handmade kite flying at the 2014 Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition.

Handmade kite flying at the 2014 Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition.

Summer on the Outer Banks is winding down, but there are still a lot of reasons to visit. More and more, it seems, fall is becoming a second season all it’s own with some great events that are really worth checking out.

The autumn—especially September—seems to have become the time for competition on the Outer Banks. Kitty Hawk Kites is sponsoring three competitions—with our 30th Annual Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition the granddaddy of them all. Just about the only Outer Banks competition that has been around longer is our springtime Hang Gliding Spectacular.

Here are some upcoming competitions that seem to cover almost every sport on the Outer Banks.



Sep 6, 2015

Kitty Hawk Kites, Manteo

A family-friendly competition—free to the public. Whether you’re paddling for the first time or you’re already a pro, this is a great activity for all!



Sep 12, 2015 – Sep 13, 2015

Outer Banks Event Site, Nags Head

OBSKC is a regional kite competition bringing some of the nation’s best kite fliers to the Outer Banks. Two days of kite flying fun for the whole family. Saturday Kitty Hawk Kites and friends will host demos and a FREE family fun fly day. Enjoy massive display kites flying high, and participate in stunt and power kite lessons given by pros.



Sep 19, 2015

This is a kayak and SUP fishing tournament. All fish caught must be caught from your watercraft, no wading. Registration is online or at mandatory captains meeting September 19th at 6p.m. at Kitty Hawk Surf Co. in Nags Head.

This is a photo catch and release style tournament. Click here for rules and regulations. Competitors are allowed to launch at first light Saturday morning. All photos must be received by 5pm on Saturday in order to be eligible for judging. All pictures must show the fish length from upper lip to end of unpinched tail.



Sept. 20-26

Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head

Highlighting the best of East Coast amateur surfers, skim boarders and body borders, the ESAs are a must-see event. Don’t let the “amateur” label prejudice your view. The level of competition is outstanding and the water skills excellent.



Sept. 21-26

Hatteras Island

An annual part of the AWS pro circuit, the competition is intense and spectacular.

Virginia Dare Turns 428 Years Old Today

The first child born to English parents in the New World, Ananias and Eleanor Dare had to of been thrilled on August 18th, 1587, when Virginia Dare came into their lives. Since the late 1930s, Virginia Dare’s birthday has been remembered and celebrated annually on Roanoke Island – especially in the town of Manteo.

croatoan-the-lost-colonyYou can’t talk about Virginia Dare’s life for long without mentioning the famed The Lost Colony. She was born into the short-lived Roanoke Colony, which was a British settlement on you guessed it, Roanoke Island.

The ultimate fate of Virginia Dare is unknown to this day – although there are many theories – and the mystery of the Lost Colony remains a well, mystery!

The fact of her birth is known because the governor of the settlement, Virginia Dare’s grandfather, John White, returned to England in 1587 to seek fresh supplies. When White eventually returned three years later, Virginia and the other colonists were gone.

In the 428 years since her birth, Virginia Dare has become a prominent figure in American myth and folklore, representing different things to different people. A 2000 article in the Piedmont Triad, North Carolina News and Record noted that for many Americans, particularly Southerners, she symbolizes innocence and purity, “new beginnings, promise, and hope” as well as “adventure and bravery” in a new land.

You can learn more about Virginia Dare and The Lost Colony by securing tickets to the outdoor drama which has been held during the summer in Manteo, NC each year since the 1930s. You can purchase tickets on The Lost Colony’s website, or on our website.