Since 1973, Mission Soaring Center has assumed many identities. First, it was a glider supply center that provided aluminum and eventually complete airframe kits to eager flyers. Then, it helped enthusiasts not only build their kits but also fly them during trips to training dunes at Fort Ord. Through every incarnation, one man has been at the helm: owner, founder, and hang-gliding wunderkind Pat Denevan. In addition to helping shape the hang-gliding industry, Pat also has played a pivotal role in the development of training standards and instructor-certification programs. In doing so, he was named the US Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association instructor of the year in 2001.
To this day, Mission Soaring Center still provides gliding enthusiasts—be they beginners or advanced—with lessons, clinics, equipment rentals, and equipment-repair services. Lessons entreat new flyers to learn the ins and outs of basic movements in simulation harnesses and ground schools, before using a specialized winch that sends low-flying practice flights across greater distances. More advanced classes encourage gliders to move toward unassisted flights, as they eventually hit the necessary skill levels to take trips to Big Sur and launch at 3,000 feet.
Customers can browse the large selection of gliders and equipment at the shop, where staff members pair them with the right harnesses, gliders, and accessories. At the repair shop, trained technicians perform maintenance and inspections on harnesses, frames, and sails, with simulators ready to help determine the perfect fit.