Breezes swirl down a corridor made by trees standing up to 100 feet and perched atop levees, which form the banks of the 200-year-old Bear River. Above rustling branches and the calls of nearby eagles, the hum of an engine cuts through the tranquil air. Dave Jewell of Blue Sky Powered Paragliding takes thrill-seekers—some as old as 80 years of age—soaring up to 500 feet above rolling, farm-dappled country and between Bear River's banks on propeller-powered parachutes. Though currently surveying Californian skies, Dave has led flights and organized clubs in Japan, Nigeria, Mexico, Germany, and France, and he continues to draw on knowledge of flight mechanics from extensive Air Force parachute training. Today, Dave takes off from 24 acres of campground, where a paragliding club meets occasionally to heckle poorly shaped clouds.
A sweeping bonfire pit, rustic picnic tables, and grassy swathes for RVs welcome campers waiting their turn to fly. Dave also mans a parachute and equipment shop where he conducts repairs and reanimates the corpses of dead kites. Dave insists that he never tires of his sport, as the weather and surrounding terrain are always changing, making his higher-altitude experiences "terrifying without being terrifying.” With a small wingspan, the motorized parachutes can also approach wildlife more closely than other aircraft; on one flight Dave found himself flanked by two bald eagles, beating their powerful wings just 20 feet away.
The views from an airplane can be stunning, so long as you're lucky enough to snag a window seat. But those faraway sights don't compare to wind in your face and
birds-eye views of mountains, valleys, and coastlines during East Bay Hang Gliding's thrilling self-propelled flights. Since 2011, instructor Robert Booth has introduced more than 600 students to the world of hang gliding, teaching them flying techniques and safety protocol at their own pace. A specialist in the field, his goal is building up a strong hang-gliding community pilot by pilot, which has informed every piece of his comprehensive and
breathtaking training program. Along the way, students can opt for tandem flights or solo expeditions, an advantage that birds don't even get when they're first starting out.
With more than a dozen adrenaline-pumping activities available at discounts of at least 50 percent, the Adventures Pass gives its holders the opportunity to eschew the couch and experience the adventures their local merchants have to offer. With a single pass, customers can get deals on everything from horseback riding and indoor rock climbing to wakeboarding and paragliding, all at companies located within driving or skydiving distance.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
Hang gliding is as close as you can get to flying without sprouting feathers. To avoid that avian fate, Gledeco's Hang Gliding School teaches students how to soar through the skies on a glider. USHPA–certified instructors take students through all of the safety lessons and provide all necessary equipment to get them flying. Once you feel comfortable leaving the ground, you can float over a local canopy or spy on your neighbor’s pool from above during weekday evening and weekend evening and morning sessions.
Staff Size: 1 person
Average Duration of Services: 3 hours
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Brands Used: Skywalk, Ozone
Recommended Age Group: All ages
Pro Tip: Bring snacks, water, and good footwear
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Paragliding
Q&A with Ray Leonard, Instructor/guide
As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
Years of past experience allow us to better anticipate the unexpected.
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
Our loyal customers.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We do everything we can to make sure everyone has fun.