Running Start

Trip Start Feb 15, 2010
Trip End Feb 14, 2011

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This morning I woke up early to make my way back south to Jockey Ridge to complete the flying portion of my hang-gliding class.  The winds were much calmer and would prove to be a little too calm later on.

After we were issued harnesses and helmets, we trekked out to the dune from which we would be attempting to glide.  The youngest of the three of us was the first to give it a shot, and I was next.  Each flight began with me clipping a carabiner on my harness through a primary and secondary loop of webbing on the underside of the glider.  I then laid down and let the harness support my weight to ensure that I was suspended at a proper height from the control bar.  This procedure is called a "hang check."  After the hang check and a quick review of the maneuvers to control the glider, it's time to stand up with the glider and pick a focal point in the distance that is in line with the origin of the wind.  Then after checking the glide path for any people or obstructions, I'd call out that the path was "clear."  At this point, the instructor and I would begin to walk forward and gradually build speed to a run as we went down the gradual slope of the dune.  After enough speed was built up the glider would simply lift off, but we were told to keep running until we were sure we were staying in the air because with such a shallow incline it would often take a few liftoffs to stay aloft. 

Everyone in the group took turns taking two sets of two flights and then a last single flight.  It was a very enjoyable experience, and at some point I plan to try a tandem flight from much higher in the air.  The instructors were all very highly motivated and seemed to genuinely enjoy teaching us what they knew about hang-gliding and attempting to help us correct our mistakes with each run.  As much fun as it was, the experience certainly didn't inspire a ton of confidence in me that I could ever take the contraption and go charging off of a cliff, but who knows?

After the completion of our five flights, each student was presented with a certificate and a log-book that details what skills need to be performed in order to be a certified hang-glider pilot, should we wish to continue. 

Once I was back in the parking lot, I spent a few minutes choosing my next destination before heading towards Williamsburg, Virginia.
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Pam on

Today I am catching up. You have been busy! Happy Birthday to you!

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