As far back as I can remember I've had dreams of flight. Even as a child my head was in the clouds~my favorite game was running in circles with outstretched arms, pretending to be a bird. That dream has never left...Though I had the chance to live that dream and I walked away.
In August of 1996 I took my first tandem flight at Lookout Mountain Flight Park. I remember that morning as if it were yesterday. Being towed aloft and then set free to gently float back down to the LZ was probably the closest thing to a religious experience that I've ever had. I knew right then and there that this type of flight offered a freedom and purity that no other could. I knew right then that hang gliding was for me.
So a few months later I signed up (Yeah, the tight wad waited until LMFP had a holiday special on flight packages) and by January of 07 I was on the training hills. Instruction was a dream come true~I was putting all the theory to use and learning to feel the wing (and as anyone who has ever flown a glider will tell you-it's a FEEL sort of thing) From the level ground and learning to run with the glider to the small hill and the frustrations of learning to launch and eventually land on my feet (as opposed to skidding across a frosty field to a less that graceful halt) After nailing three launches and landings in a row, I graduated to the BIG hill and started learning the intricacies of properly turning a glider. I found out that it don't take much input to make the wing turn and that you will be past your target if you don't think ahead and roll out about halfway through the turn. I did these exercises for quite some time, then one fateful day Thor said today you get to do speed runs! OK, I said...so I followed his instruction, stuffed the bar, enjoyed the rush of speed, then landed. Back up and do it again. I look up the hill after the last speed run and see Thor waving...what the hell is that for I think. I go back up and he says You're good for the mountain. THUNK!!! What me, mountain. AWESOME. So off I go.
There would be no mountain flight that day~it was too windy. The next weekend I re-cleared. Conditions at the top tailing. I went through this cycle for quite sometime and then my business started picking up and before I knew it several months had passed. Then a friend died in an ultralight crash and my dream of flight slipped a little farther away.
Today I'm back. The business is established (or something) and the dead are, well, dead. It's later than I think and I can for sure say that this time it is really time to fly.