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: for $97, you get a 45-minute glider ride at Sundance Aviation in Moriarty ($162 value; sales tax included).
Founder Rick Kohler, a pilot with more than 9,000 hours of cockpit experience, and the rest of Sundance Aviation's skilled staff delight in taking to the skies with uninitiated air enthusiasts. The sleek sky-faring gliders carry an experienced pilot and one passenger up to 18,000 feet above sea level by riding along upward-moving columns of air called thermals.
Taking off from Moriarty Municipal Airport, a small plane tows the glider into the air, where the glider pilot detaches it and guides the winged chariot slowly to the ground for a generous 45-minute view of the land for hundreds of miles around. Passengers can search for runaway mylar balloons and blown kisses after taking over the plane's controls for a few minutes on the way back to the airport. While most glider riders take to the air in a zippy fiberglass Grob 103, the historic, aluminum-and-fabric Schweizer 2-33 glider is available to bring back that old-timey loving feeling. Call one week ahead to schedule a flight.
At Sundance Aviation, shimmering fiberglass gliders soar up to 18,000 feet above see level as they cruise over the New Mexico desert. Pilots navigate gliders such as the modern fiberglass Grob 103 high above the air, riding thermal in the summer and mountain wave lifts in the winter. Pilots offer easy-going, scenic tours as well as more acrobatic flights that take passengers on a series of multiple loops, wing-overs, chandelles, and deep stalls.