Like the giant fan often strapped to his back, Ryan Shaw has pushed the world of paragliding to new heights. The pilot has set multiple world records for speed and max altitude on paragliders: lightweight, foot-launched aircrafts with harnesses suspended beneath fabric wings, powered only by a small tank of gas and a sense of adventure.
Mr. Shaw soars hundreds if not thousands of feet above Arizona and its sprawling deserts, occasionally floating back down to dip his toes in some of the state's tranquil waters. Though the aircraft's engine is small, these adventures often last two to three hours, or the entire length of a housefly's childhood.
Paradrenalin is Mr. Shaw's way of sharing this exhilarating experience with others. Along with his fellow instructors, he takes individuals on tandem flights high above the desert, giving them ample time to take photos or try the controls for themselves. From there, Paradrenalin's USPPA-certified training school can turn new fliers into expert pilots who can buy or rent Paradrenalin's powered paragliders.
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.
On tandem flights, Sonora Wings Hang Gliding's instructors, who are certified by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, take their customers to soaring altitudes, where they glide like birds over Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. The unique vantage point allows for breathtaking views—wild mustangs running through the desert, distant mountains, and red-tailed hawks that soar within a robotic arm's grasp. To reach these heights, hang gliders are towed behind the company's Dragonfly, a small aircraft specifically designed to launch hang gliders. Sonora Wings Hang Gliding's pilots and instructors take off on these adventures from sunrise to sunset, and they can capture each moment on HD video.
Before 1998, Maurice Sheldon kept busy as a computer programmer, web technology teacher, and architect. But since his induction into the world of PPG (powered paragliding), "Mo" has won multiple accolades for his skills as a glider pilot, once winning third place at the USPPA national competitions. He endeavored to share his passion for flying above the desert landscapes outside Phoenix by opening Airparamo, a 1,500-square-foot paragliding equipment and instructional facility in Maricopa. He achieved an advanced instructor certification in 2003 and has helped hundreds of pilots learn to navigate solo flights and shoo away advancing rain clouds.