Sunday, October 07, 2007

Soaring for beginners.

Here's another entry point for the new pilot who can't afford the full private pilot thing just yet.

Recreational flying might not immediately leap to mind if you’re looking for a fun, low-cost weekend activity. But throughout the country, nonprofit soaring clubs seek to make the sport as accessible as possible. And nowhere is this more true than at the Valley Soaring Club in Middletown, N.Y., where the only activity members enjoy as much as flying is bringing beginners into the fold.



Blogger Dave Higdon said...

Good piece, good info and a great way to ease into aviation. Have long been grateful that my entry into aviation came through hang gliding and the hang-gliding community -- some 30 years ago this past summer.

Hang gliding offers many of the same attributes as a soaring club -- low cost, low tech, high satisfaction and a higher connection to the air around you...except, new hang gliders cost a pittance and instruction is very reasonable. The hard part is finding suitable instruction and then a place to soar close enough to let you indulge yourself.

Schools at Kitty Hawk Kites in North Carolina, Lookout Mountain Flight Park near Chattanooga, Tenn., and at the Wallaby Ranch near Winter Haven, Fla., all offer excellent, experienced instruction.

Fortunately, modern aerotowing means learning to hang glide today is easier than the days when all pilots walked up and ran down slopes to get 10, 20, 30, 40 seconds in the air until they were deemed ready for cliff launches and ridge soaring.

4:39 PM  

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