Date of Experience: 7/22/18
Weight at Time of Experience: 246 lbs
Shape: General typical “pear”
Original Post from Fat Girl Reviews– When I first started dating my boyfriend (aka Fireball), I told him about a list I had recently created. A list of the things I wanted to learn, do, or experience. I had come out of my workaholic life and realized I hadn’t done much of anything, hadn’t really had the types of experiences I always wanted. Being the kind of person I am, I naturally started a list. He appreciated the idea and so he started one of his own. We both have iPhones so we shared our lists and continually check them for gift ideas. For my Fireball’s birthday this past May, I was so very happy for the list! It was only 2 months after the baby was born and I couldn’t think of or afford anything super extravagant. Sixth on his list was hang gliding and so I went off to Groupon and found a good deal on two tandem flights at Florida Ridge Air Sports Park.
After booking our appointments (I recommend calling instead of trying to schedule online), we eagerly awaited the day and hoped we’d have decent weather that day. Luckily for us, the weather did hold up…in fact, it was typical Florida and the sunniness was as oppressive as always with a side of mugginess. Of course, that meant we had to wait for about 2 hours outside for our turn because the large party before us had upgraded their experience to the “extreme” version” where you go up super high. The gentleman that checked us in and walked us through what we could expect was alright; not my kind of person, but we kept it to his corny jokes and small talk along with another group that was checking in. Before I purchased the Groupon, I had called to confirm if there was a weight limit. They told me it was 250 lbs. During our check-in, not once did the gentleman bring up weight or even ask me how much I weighed. I was waiting for it, but yay…it never came.
While you wait for your turn, there is a small pool you are free to use. There is also a vending machine for drinks and covered lean-to’s with adirondack chairs you can lounge in or you can hang out at a picnic table of your choice. The bathroom has A/C and is quite roomy though. Yay to that.
Because of the direction of the winds, we had to be golf-carted to the other side of the field. That was kinda fun, holding onto the back of the golf cart, getting a bit of air every time she would hit a bump. But then we had to wait some more in the heat and sun because they were sending people up one at a time. Thank goodness for the large tree that was nearby, it afforded some shade. Anywho, onto the part that had me most worried. The equipment. What would it look like, would I really fit into it, would it be uncomfortable, would I be on top or would the guy be on top (hahaha)…..So when I approached the glider, the pilot was already in ensconced in his contraption and I could see that I would be on top, but you don’t actually rest against the pilot. The woman assisting us directed me to the harness and at first I could not make out how it worked. There were 3 ridges that acted like steps, they were about a foot off the ground so if you have problems lifting your foot that high and then pulling yourself up, this isn’t for you. The harness itself is a bit claustrophobic to wiggle into, but it fit me fine in the end. If you have really bad knees or a bad neck, I would recommend not going hang gliding either. Once you pull yourself up into the harness, making sure your head and arms went into the correct slots, your knees end up resting on the “steps”, not at a 90 degree angle, not like if you were kneeling; your final position is almost in-between kneeling and lying down. It caused a decent amount of pressure on my knees and my knees are no good. Also, because the pilot has to lift his head up to see, you have to keep your head lifted so you can see and not get smacked in the face with his helmet.
I had wondered ahead of time how the glider would catch the wind. It’s not like there are many cliffs handy down here. Well, they have a small, skeletal looking plane that the glider is tethered to, it brings you up and then releases the tether when you get to the appropriate height. It was actually kind of nifty.
The overall flight wasn’t long, we stuck with the basic flight and it goes up about 1,000 feet. I’d guesstimate that from when you first take off with the plane to when you land is about 15 minutes in total. It felt longer to me because I was really uncomfortable. It wasn’t painful, but if it lasted any longer, it would have crossed over into painful. Would I go again? Probably not in Florida. Probably only if it was actually jumping off a cliff, that might be more exciting. Since we only went up to 1,000 feet and because you are in such a large piece of equipment, I didn’t get that adrenaline rush. The view was pleasant enough, but it wasn’t relaxing because I was physically uncomfortable. But it also wasn’t very exciting because it felt very safe. For me, I like a bit more excitement.
-LanaBare @ Fat Girl Reviews
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