The human obsession with flight stems from a refusal to accept limitations and an intense desire to finally move out of gravity's basement. Claim your own airspace with today's Groupon: for $60, you get a beginner hang-gliding lesson from Blue Sky Virginia Hang Gliding in Manquin (a $125 value).
Owner Steve Wendt, U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association’s Instructor of the Year, draws upon 30 years of experience to safely harness sky seekers in triangular steeds to slip gravity’s bounds and sail into the atmosphere. Beginner lessons saddle aspiring pilots with all safety and flight equipment during a four-hour adventure that includes ground school, flight time, and suggestions for a cool pilot’s name, such as Iceman or Ted.
The school's learning technique eases pupils into soaring with low-altitude flights that skim 5 feet above the ground to illustrate skills and instill confidence. Under careful supervision, newbie aviators strap into a heavier and sturdier glider before trotting down a shallow hill, towing and floating behind a scooter's tethering. Students focus on proper holds, balance, and speed, learning the basics for a possible future pursuit of the sport. Students will take as many flights as weather and class size permit in the three-hour session. Blue Sky supplies all necessary safety and flight gear, and burgeoning gliders should pack snacks, drinks, long pants, running shoes, and a camera.
Blue Sky Virginia Hang Gliding
Steve Wendt brings nearly 40 years of experience soaring the skies to his lessons at Blue Sky Virginia Hang Gliding's flight park, where he instructs gliders of all experience levels in launch methods ranging from training-hill foot launches to towing. Through personalized instruction in classes certified by the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, he hones flyers’ skills in solo and tandem hang-gliding and in piloting trikes and paragliders against elite racing pigeons. Using aero-towing, park staff members can tow pilots to heights of more than 2,000 feet, or get them airborne with platform and scooter towing.
Staff also outfit certified pilots and enthusiasts with a fleet of gliders from brands such as Aeros, Icaro 2000, Moyes, and North Wing, each made from aircraft-grade aluminum and Dacron sailcloth. In the event of regular wear and tear or run-ins with jealous paper airplanes, they can also sew sails, repair harnesses, and bend frames back into shape in a repair facility.