Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wedding Day Hang Gliding!

As if getting married at Lover's Leap wasn't enough for one day...we took the afternoon to go hang gliding!

We did it through Lookout Mountain Flight Park in Rising Fawn, Georgia. They have several packages to choose from and I'm sure that Rick and I would love a longer and more in-depth experience in the future, but because of limited time we decided to first try the Tandem option. Basically, if you're under 250 pounds and willing, you're good to go.

Our flight time was scheduled for 4pm. When we arrived, we discovered that they were a bit behind and we'd have to wait a while for our turn. It was neat watching people take off and land before us!

Waiting for our turn:

While we waited, I took the opportunity to drive the Fiesta onto the field and photograph it with a couple of gliders!
Just Married!

Then, when they were close to ready for us, we suited up in harnesses and helmets. Don't we look hot?!
Ready to go! Rick getting suited up!

For the introductory tandem flight, we took off from a field - our gliders were attached to a small plane, which took off and towed us 2000 feet into the air!

Here I am with Rex just before take-off:
Hilary getting ready for take-off

And Rick, ready to go:

Here is the plane that towed us into the air!

Take-off was really fun - it gave me that sort of rollercoaster-y feeling right away. Soon after take-off, though, it was just calm and beautiful - floating through the air.

Here is Rick being towed by plane into the air:
Hang gliding - Lookout Mountain, GA

It took longer than I expected to get up to 2000 feet. There was a device on the hang glider so that we could watch the elevation. When we got close, the instructor, Rex, told me that there would be an initial drop when we first let go of the plane. There was indeed a drop, but it was fun - not scary at all.

Then we flew. Lookout Mountain was such a beautiful location - so much green! Quiet and peaceful. I looked down below, where Rick was waiting for his turn to fly. I knew that he was going to love it.

Typical wedding day, right?

On the side of the mountain (up from the field where we took off) was the office for the flight school. Rex said "Let's go say hello!" He pulled back the bar on the hang glider, steered us around, and down we dove. The people waved to us as we flew over them and then back out over the field!

Then it was my turn to take over the hang glider. First, Rex demonstrated that if we did absolutely nothing, we'd be okay. We both took our hands off the bar and the hang glider floated along with no problems.

Look, Ma! No hands!
Look, Ma - no hands!

Then he had me speed up (by pulling the bar towards me), "stall" or slow down (by pushing the bar away from my body) and steer left and right by pushing my hips and body one direction or the other. Yup, I was pretty sure I'd want to do this again! Maybe even on my own someday...

Here is Rick speeding up his hang glider and seeing what that thing can do. ;)
Hang gliding - Lookout Mountain, GA

Our time in the air was coming to an end - it was time to land. Rex brought us down effortlessly, it seemed. It was a strange feeling landing with only a foot of space between my belly and the grassy field! I felt myself holding my legs up, just in case, but they were suspended in a way that I didn't really have to think about it. We rolled along the field and stopped just a short distance from where Rick was waiting.

"How was it?" Rick asked. I grinned. He was about to find out for himself!

Thanks to Rex and everyone at Lookout Mountain Flight School for making our wedding day even more exciting and memorable! :D

Rick, Rex, and Hilary:
Rick, Rex, Hilary

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