45. TAKE FLIGHT IN A PARAGLIDER
A paraglider is a free-flying, foot-launched aircraft fitted with a harness suspended below a fabric wing used primarily to satisfy man's latent desire to fly. Originating in the Alps in the early 1980s as a climber's descent technique, PARAGLIDING is said to be the EASIEST AND SAFEST FORM OF
PERSONAL FLIGHT known to man. It also has been described as an out-of-body experience. Of course, however, eventually you'll have to come in for a landing.
Use of the equipment isn't complicated. To fly, all you have to do is spread the paraglider's wing (a lightweight canopy) on a hillside, and run until your feet are swinging in the air and the wing inflates over your head like a kite. At most paragliding outlets, equipment comes with an instructor who'll do all the heavy lifting (and pilot the apparatus until you get the hang of it).
Take-offs are done on the slopes of HALEAKALA, with descents ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 feet. If you're a beginner, try a TANDEM FLIGHT. Considered the best way to learn, tandem paragliding pairs a certified instructor and a student pilot in the same glider. Reservations are required, so call ahead to schedule your paragliding venture.
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