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Hang-gliding in Rio de Janeiro

Hang gliding is the most highly recommended extreme sport in Brazil. Hang gliding (Asa delta in Portuguese) has been a major hobby in Brazil ever since 1974 when Stephan Segonzac took off from the top of Rio de Janeiro's Corcovado Mountain. Since then it has spread to 11 states and there are now more than 2,500 pilots in the country. In Rio de Janeiro there are flights every day of every month of the year overlooking Sugar loaf , Corcovado , Copacabana , Ipanema , Lagoa and more.

Learning to hang glide is more a metal challenge than physical. Anyone from 7 to their mid 70¡¦s can hang glide in Rio. One merely needs to run down an 8 meter ramp to begin. An experienced hang glider will be right with you as you lift off, so there is no need to worry. There are plenty of different hang gliding services, most costing around $80US including transportation.

There is no place better to hang glide than the scenic beaches of Rio de Janeiro with its views of the city and rain forest. You may even be allowed to tie your camera to the front of the hang glider so that you may take pictures of yourself flying against the beautiful backdrop of Rio. The flight may be expensive (although it can be cheaper on weekdays), but you will never have another opportunity like this and it must be experienced.

Paragliding may also be a worthy activity to look into. However there is a rivalry between hang gliders and Para gliders in Rio. Both consider the other an inferior sport. Paragliding puts you in front of the pilot and is more easily affected by wind, so it may give you more of a rush, but perhaps you prefer the safety of a hang glider (Even though neither is dangerous). The choice is yours. Either sport will give you an unforgettable experience.
 Read this article to understand the possible risks.      
Commercial Hang-Gliding in Rio - No Licensing

Hang gliding Rio de Janeiro
Even though it has been a big tourist attraction and growing hobby for many cariocas for the past 23 years, commercial hang-gliding is not allowed by law. There is more: there is no one to fiscalize the activity. According to the Department of Civil Aviation (DAC), those who choose to do it are held responsible, although there are certain restrictions (there is no hang-gliding in areas where there are commercial planes). The practice itself is not monitored, thus security is non-existant.

The fiscalization of international hang-gliding norms is supposed to be the responsibility of the Brazilian Free-Flight Association (ABVL), but there is no control over who flies. In any case the pilots pay the association a fee of R$ 5 for each commercial flight they make. DAC has the ability to annul the hang-glider’s certification, but not take away the aircraft, which is usually not registered.

Recklessness or mechanical failure are the two main hypotheses for the cause of the hang-gliding accident that resulted in the death of an instructor and a tourist from Manaus last week. Witnesses claim that the wing of Edvaldo Souza da Silva, or Valtinho, closed in mid-air before crashing into the side of a rock, which raises suspicion of the equipment presenting problems in full flight. Casimiro Klonowski, manufacturer of hang-gliders, said that Valtinho was using old equipment that showed over-usage:

“He ordered a new hang-glider from me because he wanted to change his own that was already quite old. He couldn’t pay for it, so he was flying with the old one.”

According to another hang-glider, Ronaldo Mazza, Valtinho’s hang-glider, a Falcon model, already had more than three years of use:

“I change my hang-glider every year. But he used his for too long.”

Some have said that Valtinho’s equipment had already presented problems in inspections, which wasn’t confirmed by the president of the association, Bruno Menescal:

“He passed the inspection made by our technicians, but he did not have any problems with the hang-glider.”

“Tandem flight is safer than riding a helicopter or driving a car. It’s hard to say what had happened. But one thing is certain: the north-northwest wind was dangerous. I cancelled several tandem flights that day,” said hang-glider Glauco Cavalcanti in defense of the activity.

The winds that come in this direction hit Pedra da Gávea from behind—the side farthest from the ocean. When they arrive on the coast side, they spin out of control, making the most experienced hang-gliders hold on for dear life.


Reprinted by kind permission of


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