CHGPA: A Pre-Flight CheckList For Hang Gliding

There's no way that a single checklist can take into account all the complexities presented by varying harness designs, unusual site considerations, ballistically-deployed 'chutes, or a given pilot's specific physical needs. But even so, CHGPA still believes that a "standard checklist" is worth promoting, particularly to Hang-I and new Hang-II pilots.

This page presents one such pre-flight checklist, drawn from several club discussions about checklists and how to reduce the risk of hook-in failure. We think it addresses better than 90% of common pre-flight needs. The list is first presented in a verbose format, in which the actions for each step are described. This is followed by an abbreviated list-oriented format, with a link to a printer-friendly version of the abbreviated checklist. You might want to print a copy and place it on a bar-mitt or downtube.

If you have a suggestion for a substantial change (other than the order of the checklist items, and not-including unusual checklist needs specific to a particular harness/site/etc), then we'd like to hear from you! But remember that the intended audience for this checklist consists of Hang I & II pilots, people who haven't yet developed their own routine. We expect that they will customize this list as they gain experience (just as your own checklist might include items not presented here).

Mark Cavanaugh
February, 2001


Before you are in position to run a checklist, we will assume that you've performed the following tasks:

Most (if not all) of the sites in the CHGPA area allow most pilots to utilize the "Aussie method" of attaching one's harness to the glider as part of glider assembly. We highly recommend using this method if your harness design and other factors permit.

When ready to fly you simply climb into your harness and then move to the launch area. Since you're already hooked in, you can segue right into the checklist with your wirecrew.

HG Pre-Flight CheckList : Description

Hang Check
With someone at either the nose wires or the keel to handle your glider's pitch, "prone-out" so that you are hanging in your harness. Turn and look over your shoulder at your carabiner and confirm that you are hooked in to both your secondary and primary hang loops. Confirm that the gate of your 'biner is closed, and that that gate is screwed shut. If possible, touch the primary, the secondary, and the gate as you say "Primary, secondary, gate closed and locked."
Bar Height
Turn back so you are hanging in your harness normally, kick your feet back into the harness boot, and confirm that your height above the control bar is normal.
Leg Loops
Reach down and hook a finger around each leg loop to confirm that your legs are through them. Say "Leg loop one, leg loop two." as you tug each leg loop in turn.
Buckles and Zipper
If applicable, reach over to your harness clips or buckles and confirm that they are closed, and touch your harness zipper to confirm that it is fully closed. Say "Clip one, clip two, zipper closed." as you touch and look at each item.
Harness Mains
Hang normally from your harness and ask your wire crew if the harness lines appear to be straight. If possible, try to confirm this yourself by looking over a shoulder.
Now stand up to perform the remaining steps:
Look down at your parachute and make sure that the chute pins on the deployment handle pass through the loops which allow the chute to be pulled, and that the handle is freely accessible. Say "Chute pins are in, handle is free" as you perform this check.
Pull Cords
If you have a pod harness with pull-cords that open and close the pod zipper, look to each side and verify that they are properly stowed, so that they cannot interfere with your launch. Say "Pull cord one stowed, pull cord two stowed."
Look down at your feet to make sure the laces of your boots or shoes are tied. It would be pretty embarrassing to blow a launch by tripping on a lace!
Hook a finger under the chinstrap of your helmut and give it a tug. Say "Chinstrap buckled." as you confirm that the strap is buckled.
Grasp both sides of your goggles and give them a pull, making sure that they are secure and centered.

HG Pre-Flight CheckList : Abbreviated

Go to the printer-friendly version if you want to print the abbreviated checklist.

Prone-Out: Stand-Up:

Educational Resources for Hang Gliding