For competitive purposes, there are three classes of hang glider. Class 1 The flexible wing hang glider, having flight controlled by a wing whose shape changes by virtue of the shifted weight of the pilot. This is not a paraglider. Class 5 The rigid wing hang glider, having flight controlled by spoilers, typically on top of the wing.In both flexible and rigid wings the pilot hangs below the wing without any additional fairing. Class 2 (designated by the FAI as Sub Class O 2) where the pilot is integrated into the wing by means of a fairing. These offer the best performance and are the most expensive.
In addition to typical launch configurations, a hang glider may be so constructed for alternative launching modes other than being foot launched; one practical avenue for this is for people who physically cannot foot launch.