Hang gliding involves soaring through the air on non motorized ‘wings’. My boys LOVED it and their first question when they hit the ground was – ‘can we go again?’ This was one of those field trips where I had men stop me in the street to say “My wife said you went hang gliding? Where was that? How can I do it?” Need a gift for the man in your life? Try a hang gliding session.
Our adventure started at Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding in Rising Fawn, Ga. We spent the night camping at Cloudland Canyon State Park and headed to the hang gliding facility for a morning flight. Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding is the only hang gliding school between Florida and North Carolina. They offer a tandem experience that lasts about 20 minutes in flight, as well as a full day experience, which includes instruction, training flights and the tandem flight.
We did a Discovery Tandem package. It wasn’t scary, in fact, I felt very safe with the flight instructor. Prior to the flight you watch a short video about hang gliding and are handed your flight passes. Each person is suited up in a full-length vest and leg straps. This holds you up in flight and probably helped to make me comfortable and feel safe in the air. Flights start on the ground in a prone position, so there is no running. Tandem riders lie next to the instructor and hold on to handles near his hips. The glider is pulled into the air by an ultralight airplane that is specifically designed to tow hang gliders. Once you reach an altitude of about 2,000 feet, the instructor lets the tow go and you are gliding through the air.
In flight they allow you to take control if you’d like and show you how to move it back and forth, stall out and gain speed. Turning the hang glider is done by shifting body weight. As someone said, it’s more relaxing than thrilling and affords gorgeous views of surrounding Lookout Mountain. Landing is smoother than I would have expected. Each hang glider has wheels to help with take off and landing.
As I mentioned, all the boys loved this, even my seven year old. Children as young as five have done the tandem flight. There is a weight limit of 250 pounds with those over 230 requiring special weather conditions. I would recommend bringing a sweatshirt and wearing jeans. We went on a clear, sunny spring day, but it was still cool up in the air.
You can’t bring a camera on the flight, although you can get some great pictures on the ground. If you want in flight pictures, purchase a package for $25. The camera is positioned on the wing and snaps periodically. Make sure to look over and get a great photo of the person’s face. Otherwise, it just looks like a random someone in the air.
For more adventures in the area, take a caving tour at Cloudland Canyon with the Georgia Girl Guides. We camped at Cloudland during our stay, but you could just as easily stay in nearby Chattanooga if you are looking for posher accommodations. We coupled this adventure with a city tour of Chattanooga and a stay at the Chattanoogan Hotel downtown.
What: Hang Gliding in Georgia
Where: Rising Fawn, Ga.
When: Flights are by reservation only. Closed Tues. and Wed.
Cost: $149 for a tandem flight.
Photos: For additional photos of hang gliding in Georgia visit Field Trips with Sue on Facebook
We were provided a complimentary experience for the purpose of reviewing by Great American Days (as is common in the travel industry), we only recommend places we would stay and products and experiences we would use.