From catapulting flaming soldiers over castle walls to sitting on active geysers, humans have long been fixated on flying through the air. Absorb the wonderment of flight with today’s Groupon to Inland Paraflite. Choose between the following options:
- For $44, you get a 15-minute introductory paraplane flight (an $89 value).
- For $62, you get a 30-minute introductory paraplane flight (a $125 value).
In his airborne classroom high above the Apple Valley desert, FAA-certified flight instructor and Inland Paraflite chief Phil Dietro instills fledgling aviators with the knowledge to pilot a paraplane, or powered parachute. After calling to pick a day for flights, students arrive at the appointed field near Victorville at sunrise, ready to greet the bacon-scented morning breeze. Before taking to the skies in the Powrachute Pegasus 2 aircraft, students get briefed on FAA-required safety precautions, which cover seat belt use, the communications helmet, and emergency procedures.
Mr. Dietro helms the aircraft during takeoff and hands over controls on achieving cruising altitude, at which point students learn how to climb, descend, and steer at 26–32 miles per hour⎯ the same speed at which the sound of soft rock travels. At the culmination of the trip, the instructor performs touch-and-go landing demonstrations before sticking the final landing.
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.