In 1992, Phil Dietro's younger brother Stu became enamored with his friend's paraplane, prompting him to learn how to pilot the motor-powered parachute. In an old fashion bout of sibling rivalry, Phil too wanted to master the strange flying contraption, traveling with Stu to Santa Ynez Airport for his first flight. As gusts of wind rearranged his hair, and impressed birds beckoned him over for high-fives, Phil became hooked, later seeking further training from the paraplane's inventor, Steve Snyder.
A year after his first flight, Phil's newfound hobby inspired him to establish Inland Paraflite, where he currently schools fledgling aviators in an airborne classroom high above the Apple Valley desert. His exhilarating flight courses instill cloud-curious students with the knowledge to man a dual-controlled Powrachute Pegasus, which reaches speeds of up to 32 miles per hour—the same speed at which the sound of soft rock travels.
California Sport Adventures’s experts lead their clientele on a variety of adrenaline-inducing activities throughout the year, from exploring the depths of the ocean to the crests of clouds. Offering training courses and discovery outings in scuba diving, skydiving, kayaking, and surfing, the company equips adventurers with the skills and certifications necessary to blaze their own trails. California Sport Adventures's clients have paired off with experienced instructors to scale the crags of the most handsome local rock faces, skydive at 14,000 feet, and attend local fish schools while snorkeling.
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.
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.