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.
A three-decade veteran hang glider, Wisconsin Hang Gliding owner Rik brings professionalism to the skies with his experience as a rated tandem instructor and tug pilot. From his outfit’s base at Gutzmer’s Twin Oaks Airport, Rik passes along his wisdom to rookies and advanced gliders alike with an array of lessons, covering everything from basic controls to inaugural solo flights. Before entertaining ambitions of soaring through the clouds and trampolining into space off the Goodyear blimp, curious customers first can sign up for a tandem discovery flight for an introductory glimpse of winged freedom alongside an instructor.
At Great Lakes Hang Gliding, people can fly like eagles. Much like baby eagles who start off watching from the safety of the nest, beginners benefit from a little expert help. Before their initial tandem flight, aspiring gliders learn basic flight techniques and safety procedures before they are towed to altitude by a plane. Of course, as the name implies, they'll spend that first flight strapped safely to their instructor. After getting their air legs, gliders that want to fly solo can take certification classes
on site from the same trusty instructors.
The certified instructors at Scooter Tow Hang Gliding School have designed their curriculum to encourage potential students that hang-gliding can be for anyone. In doing so, they introduce beginners to the sport gradually by scheduling flights in the early morning and late afternoon—when the atmosphere is at its calmest—and having them start by only going 2–3 feet off the ground. Once they're more experienced, flyers can join the crew for organized brewery tours and the school's hang-gliding club.