For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, which is why every time a human attempts to fly, a bird attempts to drive a stick shift. Engage in one of the primary mandates of physics with today's Groupon: for $69, you get a beginner hang-gliding lesson, tandem hang-gliding flight, or tandem paragliding flight in the morning from Birdman Academy (a $140 value, including fee for required 30-day membership to the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association). Lessons take place during "south-side" wind conditions, which usually are found in the morning. Participants meet just off exit 288 on I-15. Click here for more specific directions.
Birdman Academy's experienced pilots shepherd aspiring cloud surfers into the sky for thrilling rides amid the smooth breezes that contour Point of the Mountain's south side. Beginner hang-gliding lessons commence with a test and demonstration flight so the pilot can gain a sense of the current wind conditions and how the glider reacts to insults from passing weather balloons. Newbie wing wearers then practice positioning themselves on the glider according to radio controls before running with the glider on flat ground and then downhill. The session lasts three to four hours, depending on the student's progress, and afterward gliders fly about 5–10 feet off the ground for 120- to 150-feet stretches before landing on their feet.
During tandem paragliding and hang-gliding excursions, which usually last 10–20 minutes, depending on weather conditions, visitors paired with expert pilots ride the wind like origami birds in an industrial-fan factory. Throughout the aerial excursion, sky-scaling duos catch bird's-eye views of rolling hills and silhouettes of mountain peaks that paint the horizon. The professional gliders provide all necessary equipment and advise guests on appropriate attire the day before each flight.
Birdman Academy takes its name from the pseudonym of its founder, Kevin Koonce. The Birdman estimates that he has trained thousands of hang-gliding lessons, and during that time he’s taught nearly 8,000 first-timers. Currently, he nests at the height of the Mountain, a spot known for what the Academy calls, "legendary conditions." This means consistently smooth winds, which are ideal for training new hang-gliders, paragliders, and baby pterodactyls recently thawed from blocks of prehistoric ice. Instructors that have traveled and flown around the world guide patrons through their experiences.