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.
A U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association?rated master pilot, Matt Taber has been soaring through the skies since 1978, during which time he's managed to design several of his own gliders. He's also devised and constructed other contraptions, such as glider-towing equipment and lightweight tow planes?both of which his company, Lookout Mountain Flight Park, uses to teach new recruits how to surf the skies. Matt leads a team of USHPA-certified pilots and instructors that coaches students of all levels in basics and advanced maneuvers through on-the-ground training and hands-on tandem flights, during which pilots safely guide their charges over the scenic mountains and blurry bushes of Lookout Valley at altitudes of up to 3,000 feet. Conducted on a 55-acre private training facility, lessons can include the overnight use of amenities such as a pool, volleyball court, bathhouse, and cabins.
Human flight. It's a term that conjures images of a Greek myth, but at Flying Camp, myth is a reality?and gets a happier ending. For it's here that people of all ages get to soar through the air in paragliders above the Sequatchie Valley. While USHPA-certified pilots steer all of Flying Camp's tandem flights, guests can also enroll in training programs to become pilots themselves. These classes teach all the fundamental skills of paragliding, such as launching, controlling the canopy, identifying which clouds are solid, and, of course, safely touching back down on Earth.