Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hang Gliding

I’d been given a hang gliding gift voucher for my 40th birthday. So with the warmer months coming on I thought it was time to put it to good use. I was booked in for last Saturday @ Bald Hill, Stanwell Tops.

As it turned out the weather wasn’t too good. It was an overcast sort of day, but from an experts point of view the wind conditions were ideal, about 15km/h out of the SW. I met my tandem partner in the carpark where we went over all the usual safety stuff and some pre-start tips and checks. Being use to wearing a harness I thought putting on the required outfit would be simply, sure it’s a harness, but it has a tail, a pouch and array of other compartments which all make you feel a bit strange.

We were soon all hooked up. Then left, right, left, right faster faster, we were running towards the end and with no effort we were airborne. After a few in-flight adjustments and some running commentary from my tandem instructor we started to take in the grandness of the moment. For something so simple it so easily gave the feeling that you could fly. We made a few passes of the family back on the ground before we climbed to heights where the people on the ground were only the size of pin-pricks.

My instructor (Tony) gave me some basic instruction and then said, “its all yours” and presto I was flying the hang-glider, which I must say is basically a shifting of weight to which the glider responds. We made some back and forth passes over the top of Bald Hill before slowly descending to Stanwell Park beach. A smooth landing and I was back on terrafirma. A half hour tandem flight was gone in 60 seconds.

I thanked my tandem instructor for the experience and ticked another thing off the list of “things to try before you die”.