Decoding A Culture: Beginning Hang Gliders

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A behavioral study.

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  • 1. Hang Gliders Alexis Walden May 15, 2014

2. Executive Summary 1. Hang gliders rely on their body intelligence and ability to let their mind go in order to fly. 2. Hang gliding is a relationship between a person and a glider. 3. Hang gliders embrace danger and/or fear to experience a single moment of flying. 3. Project Overview Objective: To discover and communicate how beginning hang gliders identify and describe themselves and their behavior. Fieldsite/subculture: Fieldwork was conducted with students from Big Air Hang Gliding at Ed Levin County Park in Milpitas, CA. Methods: For this ethnographic study, I gathered qualitative data, with emic and etic taxonomies, through participant observation and in-depth interviews. 4. Quantitative data about Hang Gliding: 5. Informant Igor Krimer: Igor is a Software Engineer in San Mateo. With his schedule constantly changing, he tries to make time to travel as often as possible. In addition, he is willing and interested in trying new things. He believes it is important to experience adrenaline rushessomething more people should try to do. Its a great sense of living. I remember those moments so vividly. Learning new things is highly important to him. When he can, he likes to involve his friends. Igor plans on taking the remaining hang gliding courses to become licensed, mostly for the experience. 6. Insight #1: Hang gliders rely on their body intelligence and ability to let their mind go in order to fly. You wouldnt be successful if you were trying to calculate every angle or turn in your head. In the air, your brain gets in the way. There is an information overload that causes many students to do the opposite of what they are taught, which keeps them from advancing. This is the transitioning from brain to body intelligence. Dont think too much. That is how you learn to fly. 7. Insight #2: Hang gliding is a relationship between a person and a glider. Would you guys trust your life with this thing? I would. It knows how to fly better than you do. After the students landed (or crashed) they reflected on how the glider responded to them and if they shared enough control with it. Now its just about getting a feeling for the glider and trusting it before youre ready to take the big jumps. 8. Insight #3: Hang gliders embrace danger and/or fear to experience a single moment of flying. Its actually the fear of heights that got me interested in different kinds of flying. And, its like the feeling when you first start flying its terrifying and then once youre off the ground its like a totally relaxed feeling. The most common error among students is being afraid to let go of the glider when they are in the air. Each flight is a progression in confronting these fears. If a big gust picks-up its kind of scary cause you just all of a sudden end up going a direction you didnt want to be going, but other than that it is pretty relaxing, I think. Weve only been in the air for like 15 seconds so far. 9. Three brands that should be interested in my insights: A hang gliders ability to confront their fears and test their limits would pair well with Hennessys Never Stop. Never Settle. I see this offering creative potential for their current Whats Your Wild Rabbit? campaign. The need for hang gliders to let go while they are in the air, losing the control they have on the ground, reflects Red Bulls Gives You Wings. They have an interest with extreme sports and hang gliding often gets overlooked. With hang glidings reliance on human intelligence, Athos would be able to provide data through wearable technology to track and enhance the bodys motion. Since Athos is a start-up, this would help them broaden their growing market. 10. Link to the Insight Video: http://youtu.be/OKF45jiEdW0

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