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## Why Hang Gliding Turned to Paragliding at Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines Gliderport, perched on the rugged bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean north of San Diego, California, has a long and storied history as a hub for hang gliding. In the early days of the sport, Torrey Pines was one of the few places in the United States where hang gliders could legally fly. The site’s consistent winds and ample landing area made it an ideal location for hang gliding enthusiasts.

However, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, hang gliding began to give way to paragliding at Torrey Pines. There were several factors that contributed to this shift, including:

### The Rise of Paragliding

Paragliding was first developed in the mid-1980s, and it quickly gained popularity as a more accessible and user-friendly alternative to hang gliding. Paragliders are much easier to launch and land than hang gliders, and they can be flown in a wider range of wind conditions. This made paragliding a more appealing option for recreational pilots and beginners.

### The Safety Advantages of Paragliding

Paragliders are also considered to be safer than hang gliders. Hang gliders are rigid aircraft that can be difficult to control in strong winds. Paragliders, on the other hand, are flexible aircraft that can collapse in strong winds, reducing the risk of serious injury.

### The Growing Popularity of Tandem Paragliding

Tandem paragliding, where two people fly in a single paraglider, became increasingly popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This made it possible for people who had never flown before to experience the thrill of paragliding. Tandem paragliding also helped to promote the sport and attract new pilots.

### The Decline of Hang Gliding

As paragliding became more popular, hang gliding began to decline. This was due in part to the fact that hang gliders were more expensive and more difficult to fly than paragliders. Hang gliding also became less popular as a competitive sport, as paragliding offered more opportunities for recreation and adventure.

Today, Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of the most popular paragliding sites in the United States. Hang gliding is still flown at Torrey Pines, but it is no longer as common as paragliding. The shift from hang gliding to paragliding at Torrey Pines is a reflection of the growing popularity of paragliding and the safety and accessibility advantages that it offers.

## Conclusion

The shift from hang gliding to paragliding at Torrey Pines is a reflection of the changing trends in the sport of aviation. Paragliding has become more popular than hang gliding because it is easier to learn, safer to fly, and more accessible to recreational pilots. As a result, paragliding has become the dominant form of aviation at Torrey Pines Gliderport.

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