Birdman Academy takes its name from the pseudonym of its founder, Kevin Koonce. The Birdman estimates that he has trained thousands of hang-gliding lessons, and during that time he’s taught nearly 8,000 first-timers. Currently, he nests at Point of the Mountain, a spot known for what the Academy calls, "legendary conditions." This means consistently smooth winds, which are ideal for training new hang-gliders, paragliders, and baby pterodactyls recently thawed from blocks of prehistoric ice.
Claiming to be the nation's largest paragliding and speed-flying facility, Cloud 9 Paragliding School touts its complete repair loft and lessons held seven days of the week year-round. The facility also stocks a variety of flying gadgets and equipment and imports a variety of international brands of paragliding equipment, which it then distributes to more than 40 flying schools across the country. But above all, the facility sees itself as a big toy store, providing big kids with playthings such as kite tricycles, pogo sticks, and mountain unicycles.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
Two-Can Fly Paragliding's owner and founder, Ken Hudonjorgensen, has been helping students into the air since 1990. He has flown more than 13,000 times—for more than 4,000 hours in the air—since he began paragliding in 1989. The sport has blossomed since then, and Ken is dedicated to keeping up with trends and helping others safely find their wings so they can finally realize that clouds don't taste like cream cheese. In addition to introductory lessons, Ken helps fliers gain any level of certification; he boasts a Safe Pilot award and the highest single-seater rating of P5. For basic P2 certification, Two-Can Fly Paragliding mandates at least 100 flights to make sure students have the skills down. In addition to one-on-one lessons, Ken leads clinics on more advanced topics, such as mountain flying and tandem paragliding.