I have some sort of obsession with wanting to fly. Like jump up in the air and start soaring like a bird! Hang gliding has always been on my flight-related to-do list, and today I finally got a little taste of it. As expected, this taste left me wanting more.
A few months back, a few friends and I found a sweet Groupon for a hang gliding lesson and planned our date well in advance. The time to fly was finally upon us!
Keep in mind this was a lesson, not a totally dare-devil flying-above-cliffs tandem ride..Maybe I’ll have to do that sometime, too 😉
When we got up to the hill we’d be learning on, and there was a surprising amount of wind in comparison to the pick-up gate a half a mile away. Cool.
Our first task was to, as a team, assemble the glider according to the verbal instructions from our instructor. It was a very strategic project. He explained it very well, and soon enough, my friends and I had put together the glider we’d be flying on. We all did a safety check, too. I think it was great to get that experience so we could really learn what it would be like if we were to take up the sport on our own some day.
After getting harnessed and geared up, it was learning time! We had to learn the proper running form and then practice a few times. Practice running you say? Yep. It’s different, and it makes sense! We ran maybe 50 feet total for practice. Thank goodness it was that little because I’m really bad at running..shhh.
For the rest of the day, we took turns learning how to lift the glider, snap ourselves on, run with it, walking landings, how to “hold” on, steer a little, and wheel it back up the hill (not as hard as you may think!). At first it was a little nerve wracking, but with good instructors like we had, they give you all the information you need to be successful. So listen to the experts!!
Remember! It was only a lesson, and we did it by ourselves. Each of us only got a maximum vertical distance of about 5-7 feet off the ground, but wow, it was an exhilarating 5-7 feet each time! A lot of the thrill was in the accomplishment. The “holy shit, I’m actually flying!” part and knowing that I was in charge of the glider.
I freakin love flying. I need to do this again!!
- Wear sunscreen! You’ll be out there a while. Even if it’s cool and windy, you’ll want sun protectant.
- Wear clothes you can move in and that you’re okay getting dirty.
- Bring a long sleeve or light jacket. It got cold. I got really cold waiting my turn in the wind!
- Wear comfortable shoes you can run in. They don’t have to be running shoes per se, but they need to stay on your feet when you’re up there.
- Bring water and snacks! Again, you’ll be out there for 4+ hours. You will get hungry and want to stay hydrated.
- Be ready to listen carefully and learn. As much fun as you’ll have, you’ll need to take it seriously
- TRUST THE GLIDER! Physics doesn’t lie! Some things may seem counterintuitive, but trust in your instructors..they’ve been doing this for a long time
- Tip your instructors! Don’t forget to bring a little bit of cash to show your appreciation for the patience they had with you 😉
- And have fun!!!