The concept of human flight finally became a possibility with the Wright brothers' invention of superhero comics in the early 20th century. Take to the air sans cape with today's Groupon: for $59, you get two tandem flights or A Taste of Flight introductory paragliding lesson from Fly Above All in Santa Barbara (up to a $125 value).
At Fly Above All, owner and P-5 Master-rated pilot Chad Bastian leads a staff of paragliding enthusiasts in their mission to provide training as well as gravity-defying experiences for aspiring aeronauts and purple people eaters. Each tandem flight floats guests down the Elings Park training hill on an approximately one-minute-long jaunt through the lower reaches of the sky, introducing prospective paragliders to the sensation of flight in a controlled setting. A briefing prior to liftoff prepares passengers for the impending retreat of the ground, and attire-aware guests don sturdy footwear, pants, and their luckiest tricorne hats.
A Taste of Flight introductory lesson divulges the mysteries of foot-launched flight in a paraglider over the course of a two-hour clinic. Instructors elucidate the purposes behind the various pieces of equipment, allowing fledgling flyers to set up the wing and harness, perform a flight check, and choose a call sign. After learning how to steer the glider while running forward, casual air-current jockeys take a running start from farther up the hill in order to experience slight glider-generated lift during a launch run. Students whetting their appetites for soaring will not take off from the top of the hill, but they may leave the ground momentarily from atop the lower slope or a neighbor’s shoulders.