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From “O’ahu Revealed” by 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. DSCF5379.jpg (100945 bytes) 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. DSCF5373.jpg (102651 bytes) 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.)  
DSCF5375.jpg (126558 bytes)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.) DSCF5379.jpg (100945 bytes) 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.DSCF5380.jpg (95792 bytes) 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.)  

Paradise Air (497-6033) is out of Dillingham Airfield on the North Shore. The pilots, Denise and Tom Sanders, DSCF5382.jpg (80736 bytes)are very methodical in their approach to giving lessons in their high-end aircraft and maximize your time in the air. With two trikes operating, couples can fly at the same time. They charge $115 per half-hour, $190 per hour. They have cameras mounted on the aircraft (still and video with multiple angles they can change on the fly) to get shots of you that no one back home will believeDSCF5401.jpg (95715 bytes) and can burn dvds of your flight from multiple angles. (Pretty cool.)

Photos courtesy of Andrew Doughty