This past weekend once again saw Paradise Hang Gliding, Inc. in action in the skies above Charlotte Harbor, Florida. With a load of guests from Wisconsin and Ft. Myers, The towboat Reel High had a full load, and with the calm winds, certainly had her work cut out for her.But the water was glassy and the blue boat did her work, getting several 1500′ altitude flights above impressive numbers of rays and considerable boat traffic. As always, Capt. Travis and mate MaryAnn did a great job of running the equipment and entertaining the guests.
Chuck and Jamie were not the types to want the typical placid tourist ride, so their instructional flight consisted largely of how to put a hang glider into a steep dive and then whip it up into some 60 degree banked turns. A couple of rapid roll reversals and tight spirals had them squealing. Indeed, if gliders could talk, I think the big Falcon 3 Tandem would have been giving us some Yee-Haws too…! The only downside to those flights is that they are over with all too soon….
Their nephew Stepehan had been a bit skeptical and wanted to see a flight or two before taking the leap himself. Steve, due to an unfortunate childhood auto accident, has some challenging disabilities. With very limited use of his left leg and almost no use of his left arm, his spirit af adventure is still quite intact. Once he made the decision to fly, the crew of PHG was determined to do whatever it would take to make it a reality for this fine young man.
It took a bit of doing to assist him onto the flight deck and into the harness, but soon we had him all cozy and wasted no time getting the glider into the sky. As we lifted off, the boatload of relatives erupted into cheers and waves as we climbed up and away. The surface of the water was like a mirror and full of 4′ rays, truly quite a sight. During the flight, we shared a very pleasant conversation during which he told me that he thought many of his friends would not believe him when he told the story.
All of us at Paradise Hang Gliding felt humbled, grateful, and honored to have helped Steve, and we hope that it was as unforgettable for him as it was for us.