Torrey Pines Gliderport grants students an invigorating reprieve from the bonds of gravity via professional flight instruction on hang gliders, paragliders, and sailplanes. Tandem flights imbue aspiring gliders with the confidence required to handle an elliptical paragliding wing along a 20- to 25-minute trip boasting unforgettable views of coastal cliffs and the stunned looks from stratus clouds. Passengers can share their experiences with childhood friends or long-lost DVD players with a high-definition video that documents the ride.
Paramotor Tours sends adventurers skyward on the wings of motor-powered paragliders. Nationally certified pilots adhere strictly to FAA safety regulations as they strap in for tandem flights, lifting thrill seekers to heights of up to 8,000 feet. To help ensure smooth takeoffs and landings, each glider boasts several safety features, including reserve parachutes, GPS navigation, and a pause button. Adventurers who wish to pilot their own glider can sign up for a solo-flying course, available on select days.
Soboba Mountain's steep face and large, flat landing area make it seem as though it were made for the sport of speedflying. The adrenaline sport is similar to paragliding, but?as the name implies?is much faster. Speedfliers launch themselves into the air from the top of a mountain and zoom down its face attached to a parachute-like wing that they steer. But unlike paragliders, they remain close to the slope the entire way down to preserve their momentum and keep the journey exciting.
Speedfly California introduces total beginners to the sport with a variety of comprehensive classes, too, plus traditional paragliding classes. Some run for a full day, while others, in which students earn their P2 and M1 solo flying ratings, might take around a week. Each session is taught by an experienced speedflier and gets participants into the air for hands-on practice.