31.01.2014 - 31.01.2014
Ian - "Let's run through that one more time, Step... step... RunRunRunRunRuuuun! Any questions?"
Me - "So we just run off the mountain?"
Ian - "Thats right, ready?"
Me - "We'll soon find out!"
This was my quick introduction in how to launch a hangglide!
When we arrived in Queesntown the weather was gorgeous and having missed out on hangliding in Abel Tasman I booked myself in and was on Mount Coronet within half an hour, but what I had forgotten was that Abel Tasman is one of the few if not the only place to hangglide by being pulled up by a tow plane, I would be doing it the normal way... just run of the mountain and hope for the best!
My trusted pilot was Ian who had been doing this for over 23 years. He had a slight resemblance to Ben Stiller which I was still trying to work out if I found reassuring or not when we got attached to the glider itself. As we needed to run to get ourself airborn the harness I wore was different to Dans with a stirrup at the bottom that I would need to get my feet onto once we were in the air.
There was no hanging around to let the nerves get to me as I was the first one up. Clinging on to Ian and determined to keep pace during the take off I was concentrating loads that I didn't realise my feet were off the ground so I was running in midair. It was effortless and we were flying!! After a bit of a struggle to get my feet in the stirrup we were on our way and soaring over the valley. it was a great feeling.
There was a devise on the glider which would make different beeping noises depending on what the glider was doing, it it was high pitched we were going up and if it was a lower tone we were going down. Ian found a thermal to try to get us some more flight to extend our flight, by circling up in the thermal just like a bird.
After we had some more height he asked if I liked roller coasters before flying the hangglide upwards until it stalled in the air and began to fall back down again before catching the air and swooping forward. It was fun and scary at the same time and I couldn't stop laughing and squealing so we did this a few more times.
We did some first turns and dives over the spectacular scenery and the flight was over too soon as we came in to land. As we got closer to the ground you realised how fast you were coming in and head first! It was so exciting to zoom in low to the ground through the purple grasses with mountains on each side, landing on the wheels and rolling till we stopped. I just laid on the floor laughing and shaking a little bit!