I once made a promise to my husband that I would try hang gliding. He has been interested in hang gliding for some time and recently started taking the introductory lessons. He fell in love with the sport right from the beginning, and started to persuade me to try it, hence my promise. Since I uttered those words I had been dreading the day when I had to follow through with my promise. I am not afraid of heights, but I am certainly not overly fond of them either. I can handle flying on a plane, but I have a little difficulty with the take-offs and landings.
The day arrived that I was to try a tandem flight. Luckily I had a fairly hectic day, so I wasn’t totally consumed by nerves the whole day. When we arrived at High Perspective there was a person who had just taken a tandem flight already. They looked to me and said that they were REALLY HIGH up there. I took a few big breaths, went to the loo and crossed the field to the starting point. At which time I had to sign a nice little waiver (a couple more deep breaths) and get geared up. I guess by the look of me Peter gathered I was very nervous. He sat me down and explained what was going to happen and reassured me that if at any point I was too nervous and couldn’t continue we could land.
So now I’m all strapped in we are ready for take off, and the cable starts to pull us. The wind grabs us, my stomach lurches and I close my eyes. What am I doing I think? I open my eyes to an amazing view. We have started to soar upwards. My nerves begin to calm down and I begin to enjoy myself. At one point I ask Peter how high up we are. The answer, although I wasn’t sure whether I was ready for it, was 1000 ft. Wow! Even more amazing was that we were getting even higher, but I couldn’t tell. The highest we got to before coming back down was 1600 ft. That is higher than the glass floor of the C.N. Tower!
At one point Peter allowed me to help fly the glider and I was amazed at how easy it was. The other part I was amazed at was how comfortable I felt. At one point I felt like a butterfly just floating in the breeze. Another time I felt as though I was a hawk soaring above the fields. I had this overwhelming feeling of peace and calmness. I can’t lie and say that I lost all fear when I was up in the air, but I did lose more than I ever imagined was possible.
When we started our descent I was actually saddened that I couldn’t stay up in the air longer. I thought that I would be rather nervous of the landing, because of how I feel in an airplane. I wasn’t nervous at all. Although we were probably gliding fairly quickly it didn’t feel like it. There wasn’t even a time when I felt we were going to crash into the ground. It was the smoothest landing I have ever experienced.
I’m looking forward to going back and taking another tandem flight. Who knows they might even get another student signed up for their course. Never would I have thought of myself taking hang gliding lessons. There is a quote that states, ‘you should do one thing every day that scares you’, well I followed that advice that day, and was taken aback by how little I was actually scared. To anyone who is even remotely thinking about trying it should stop thinking and just do it. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful it is.