I’ve had a life long dream of flying. I want to float on the air waves (air currents?) like a bird
Not in an airplane. They’re loud and scary and its taken me years not to puke every time I travel in one.
Skydiving is not an option as:
- See above air travel problem and;
- NO WAY I would have the
stupiditycourage to step out of a plane into thin air.
Parasailing is a possibility, but after my husband told the story of a friend of his on a Mexican vacation, who broke his leg on take off and they continued to fly him around with the injured leg swinging in the breeze, I think not.
Hang gliding. That’s my ticket to soaring through the air along with my feathered friends.
Two years ago, on a trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, it took me a week to screw up the courage to call and make an appointment. By that time, there were no spaces available.
This year’s trip to the Outer Banks included my daredevil nephew, Josh, who – upon hearing my dream – promptly called the local kite company and booked the two of us for the very next day.
Husband, in an attempt to get me to change my mind, repeated the parasailing story, adding more graphic detail about the broken leg and it’s position as it flapped away in the air.
“Bah!” I said. “That was in Mexico!” We went there once on our honeymoon and rented a car and (as our local friends had counseled) requested one with seat belts. The door-less jeep was delivered to the wide flat drive in front of our hotel. We inspected it, located the seat belts, whereupon the uniformed employees handed us a large rock and disappeared. We got in the car, pulled the buckles toward each other and felt the straps hang loosely in the air. Yes, the seat belts came with the car, they just weren’t actually attached to the car. And the large rock? That, we discovered at our first stop as the parked jeep slowly rolled toward the ocean, was the parking brake.
But, I digress.
In the United States of America, where I was planning to hang glide, companies do things with safety in mind, as they know they will be sued otherwise.
In the United States, you pull off the highway toward a sparkling new building. You then follow the hand written signs, through the freshly paved parking lot to a corn field, where you find a hung-over woman, with her shirt on inside/out, sitting at a folding table outside a dilapidated RV.
The woman informs you that in order to participate in a tandem hang gliding flight you have to have a hang gliding license. But, no worries, the test consists of eight yes/no questions on a tattered piece of paper. One of which is “Are you aware that the FAA does not certify hang gliders for tandem flights?”
In America, a barefoot young man puts you on a ragged golf cart and careens around corn stalks to take you to the
meadow airfield where more barefoot men stand around saying “dude” a lot.
Barefoot Hang Gliding Dude lies down, face first, into a hammock suspended from the A-frame poles of the glider. Then, Golf Cart Dude straps you into another hammock that dangles over the top of Hang Gliding Dude. He points out to you two fabric handles attached to the sides of the lower hammock. “Dude, use these if you feel like you need to hang on. And, Dude, whatever you do, don’t grab any of the poles holding the kite together.”
Airplane Dude, with his grey hair in a pony tail, shouts “Dudes! I’m ready!” and climbs into his ultralight plane. A long black shoestring is attached from the back of his plane to the cross bar on the hang glider.
Hang Gliding Dude, swaying in his hammock, says, “Hang on, dude” and before you know it, you are bumping along, through a narrow patch of grass, in the middle of the a corn field, suspended by a couple of nylon straps, wrapped around a few aluminum pipes, covered in a scrap of nylon fabric.