Having already experienced and loved sky diving, I was interested to try hang gliding to see how they compare. And what better place to try out this unique flying experience than at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, especially in August!
There are two ways a novice can hang glide. One is to take a lesson and then strap on a small pair of wings and jump off the dunes; the other is to fly tandem with a trained pilot at heights from 2,000 ft. up to one mile over the earth, no experience necessary.
Can you guess which one I choose? Yeah, baby! Take me up, up, and away!
At Kitty Hawk Kites, I met my pilot, Jonathon Bland, and knew this was going to be memorable. His extensive experience, exuberant personality and great story-telling ability were just perfect. And his long, dark blonde dreadlocks only added to his intriguing backstory.
To start the tandem glide, Jonathon and another engineer helped me into the “boot” so that we would be safely harnessed into the glider together. Most modern hang gliders are made of an aluminum alloy or composite frame covered with synthetic sailcloth to form a wing.
The non-motorized glider we were using was specially designed with a larger wing area so we could obtain more lift. The take-off/landing gear was designed in the style of a tricycle to simplify take offs and make landings more smooth.
“Hi everybody! My name is Jonathon and this is Patti. We’re about to go on a wonderful adventure in the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina and fly around like a bird in a hang glider!” Jonathon said looking into one of the two the GoPro video cameras strapped onto the glider for different perspectives. “How are you feeling there, Patti?” Jonathon inquired as he looked up to my tandem position.