By Katherine Henley |Staff Writer|
“The freedom of flight is wonderful and every bit as great as it appears. Those who have flying dreams know what I mean,” said Rob McKenzie, the owner of High Adventures.
With school almost out and the weather heating up, it’s time to start making those unforgettable summer memories. High Adventures offers the opportunity to go on a foot-launched hang gliding or Para gliding flight, either tandem or solo.
Hang gliding, also known as delta plane, is an air sport where the pilot controls an un-motorized, light aircraft. Para gliding is when a canopy that looks like a parachute is used and the pilot sits in a harness. Both air sports are foot-launchable.
Being afraid of heights I thought that even watching the pilots in the air would make me queasy, but as I sat there Wednesday evening in a comfortable lawn chair back in the hills behind CSUSB, it was more serene than I could have ever imagined.
Even I would consider trying this sport.
“This is a perfect bucket list adventure or also for those wanting to begin the flying process,” according to High Adventures website flytandem.com.
The overall atmosphere promotes a laid back yet cautious feel.
“They [parachutes] are statistically almost never needed,” said McKenzie.
To ensure safety of all fliers, they are given proper training on the equipment they will be using, along with helmets and safety wheels. In addition to the proper instruction, each pilot carries a parachute.
“They best safety device however is the judgment of the pilot,” said McKenzie.
To hang glide can vary from $40 to $220 depending on experience and the type of lesson that you select. While Para gliding ranges from $40 to $240.
“The only major cost are in beginning of your flying career, when you purchase all the equipment needed to fly, mainly the hang glider or Para glider. After that the costs are fairly low,” said a hang gliding pilot.
Flights usually average from 25 to 30 minutes but vary from 15 to 50 minutes depending on the weather. High adventures monitor the weather carefully for the days they are going to fly.
“I have always noticed people flying behind school and I have wanted to try hang gliding. It seems more relaxed and safer than sky-diving. I just never knew where they landed. I had no idea about the air park behind school,” said surprised student Will Dyer.
Andy Jackson Airway Park is located off the side of the road behind CSUSB. A little sign that can be easily missed directs you to the park. From there, pilots are taken up to the launching point which is about a half hour up Highway 18. If you look closely you can see a little red flag on top of the mountain facing the horizon. Another mountain the pilots are known for launching off of is farther up the hill and cannot be seen from the ground, looking up.
This is not your average summer experience, it is adventurous and thrilling.
High Adventures offers a thrilling summer activity that everyone should try at least once. For more information visit flytandem.com.