Young boys and girls of all cultures have often dreamed of flying with the birds, living outside gravity’s constraints, and eating worms for every meal of the day. Live out most of a childhood dream with today's Groupon: for $70, you get a half-weekday hang-gliding lesson from Mountain Wings in Ellenville (a $140 value).
Mountain Wings' gliding school and flight park transform flightless humans into wind-riding cowguys and gals through expert instruction, top training gilders, and breathtaking mountainside launch sites. The half-day lesson begins in a one-hour ground flight school where students will watch a training video on how to perform a running takeoff, how to maneuver the glider, and how to politely ask passing geese for directions. Then it’s on to the stationary flight simulator where the dynamics of the glider’s speeds are explained. Students will then be outfitted in a harness and helmet and take to the skies in a Condor glider, one of the top gliders for fliers-in-training. Unlike some training gliders, Condors fly in zero wind, ensuring students get experience taking off on flat land, avoiding the anxieties of jumping off a cliff or mountainside skyscraper. Fliers with a good handle on the way to hold the glider and master the running takeoff then graduate to a gentle grassy hill, where the safety of earth remains just a few feet below their dangling feet.
Hang-gliding classes are taught by knowledgeable instructors, including Greg Black, who has 36 years of hang-gliding experience. The training school and 7-acre park are certified by the United States Hang Gliding Association (USHGA) and feature a launch site up on Ellenville Mountain, with satellite launch sites planned on Mt. Doom and down Alice’s rabbit hole.
Situated at the foot of the Ellenville Mountain site, Mountain Wings has readied students for safe, engine-free flying since 1981. A staff of USHPA-certified instructors shares much of its knowledge on the facility's two training hills—a grassy, gentle bunny hill for beginners. Sprinting, stumbling, and hovering across those hills, groups practice with Condors—slow-flying, easy-to-handle training gliders that work in zero-wind zones. Upon ascending to greater heights and skill levels, students can also snag their own equipment at Mountain Wings' full-service aero-sports shop.