"I have never reviewed an activity that generates a more enthusiastic response..."
~ Andrew Doughty
First, I need to get something out of the way. Flying a powered hang glider (known as a trike) is different than any other type of aircraft. When I was growing up, I used to have a recurring dream that I could flap my arms and fly like a bird. My father flew little Cessnas, which, though fun, felt more to me like a car in the air than flying like a bird.
I had forgotten my flying dreams until I reviewed a company on Kaua’i that gave lessons in this odd little craft. As soon as my instructor and I took off, I realized that a person really could fly like a bird. This was what the flying bug felt like! I was so smitten with the craft that I eventually hired the instructor on Kaua’i to teach me, and now I fly trikes myself.
So although I have no personal interest in any company teaching trikes in Hawai’i, my perspective isn't as remote as it is for most activities. After all, it's not possible to anonymously review some companies, like Paradise Air, because I know the pilots. (We're all members of the small ultralight community.)
With that explanation, powered hang gliding is an activity I recommend. Don't confuse this with hang gliding. This craft has an engine, it's bigger and more stable, and some even have a powered parachute attached to the craft…just in case (a safety feature they're just beginning to install on traditional airplanes). Trikes take off and land on regular runways, and the ease and grace of the craft is glorious. (Rent the movie Fly Away Home if you want to see what they're like.)
It's as close to flying like a bird as any form of flight I know. Trikes are what I have come to love so much and, in my opinion, are the safest form of ultralight flight available. (I'm not a daredevil and wouldn't fly them myself if I felt unsafe in them, though any time you're in the air you're potentially at risk, even on the airlines.) I grin like a fool every time I fly and have never reviewed an activity that generates more enthusiastic responses from other participants.
It seems that whenever I see people coming off a trike, its passengers are frothing at the mouth with excitement, proclaiming that it's the best thing they've ever done on vacation. (Unless they're on their honeymoon, of course; then it's the second best thing.)
The local company is Paradise Air (497-6033) out of Dillingham Airfield on the North Shore. The pilots, Denise and Tom Sanders, are very methodical in their approach to giving lessons in their high-end aircraft and maximizing your time in the air. With two trikes operating, couples can fly at the same time. They charge $165 per half-hour, $265 per hour. They have cameras mounted on the aircraft (still and video) to get shots of you that no one back home will believe and can burn dvds of your flight on the spot. (Pretty cool.) They primarily fly mornings when conditions are best and it's best to book in advance. Excerpt courtesy of Andrew Doughty
-Quote from Oahu Revealed 5th edition 2015.
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