Learning How To Fly A Paraplane

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Listpiration ParaplaneChecked off the list: Sept. 12, 2013

It’s not a bird, it’s not quite a plane, nor is it Superman…it’s a paraplane! As some of you may know, I vowed to myself that I would cross off at least one item off my bucket list each month (as should you!) and this month, it was time to learn how to fly!

The alarm clock went off at 3:30am, then Zane and I hit the road shortly thereafter with coffee and breakfast ready to go. I packed and prepared the night before since I knew we had to get up very early and arrive by sunrise to meet with our pilot from Inland Paraflite, Phil. Two hours later, we ended up in Apple Valley, CA just in time for the sunrise to pop up over the desert mountains and to begin preparing for flight. It was beautiful.

paraplane 1            Paraplane Blade

There was something just so alluring about this experimental aircraft. I had never flown in anything aside from a commercial airplane so I was a bit nervous but more excited than anything. The urge to do something more adventurous than I ever had before was getting to me for the last few months and I figured that with the site recently launching, September should be a month where I took it up a notch!

Phil has been an FAA-certified flight instructor and paraplane enthusiast for many years and it was really interesting chatting with him about the sport. He was extremely thorough in setting up the aircraft, answered all of my questions, and said that since it’s crisp and clear out, if I felt comfortable while up in the air, I can take over the controls. I was pumped! We went over safety regulations, strapped in, and the desert runway was clear for takeoff. Before no time, we were soaring through the air. I couldn’t believe how calm I was. Surprisingly, I felt safer in this propelled roll cage on wheels with a parachute than I did in a regular airplane. We started at about 3,000 ft above sea level and ended up being 4,200 ft, flying at about 30mph. It was incredible! I was also a big fan of Phil’s bright yellow lightning bolt helmet. Sitting behind him, I noticed that it said “Master Yoda” on the back of it. It was worth noting.

Paraplane Runway                 paraplane 2

I wish I could share photos from above but last minute I decided not to take my phone up with me. I didn’t want to risk dropping it or have it go through the propeller. That would have resulted in one very sad and very very broken iPhone. You are welcome to bring one up with you, I just unfortunately didn’t have a strap to keep it from plummeting to the ground far below or have it get shredded in the propeller behind me. Not worth compromising our safety or my piggy bank. Next time, I’m going to have to invest in a GoPro camera as I do plan to do this again!

Paraplane 3               paraplane 4

The view was breathtaking. Nothing short of that. I was in awe just admiring the sunrise, the valley, and the mountains as we watched birds fly and bunnies scurry below us. Phil and I spoke over a built in intercom in the helmets and he gave me a birds eye tour of Apple Valley and the surrounding towns. He then let me take over for a bit and I got to turn the paraplane left, right, and even push the throttle to take us up a little higher. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I’m still in disbelief with just how calm and content I was. This may just be the closest feeling to soaring like a bird. We flew around and I was in a sky-high state of awesomeness, especially when we looped around and dove down a little bit. I haven’t been skydiving yet, but I imagine that the feeling I got when looking up and seeing the parachute above me would be quite similar. As we were coming in for the landing, I was preparing myself for a few bumps, but it was the softest landing ever. Felt identical to jumping on a mattress. We had such a blast that we ended up just going back up again and landing a few more times because it was really fun.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Do you have a love for adventure? Want to learn how to fly and see the spectacular view from above? Talk to Phil! He was very kind in extending a discount for my readers. All you have to do is mention that you heard about Inland Paraflite on Listpiration and you can go on a 30 minute flight for $100. Worth every penny! I could honestly do this every morning. For further details, read more about the deal here.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
As a bit of advice, it’ll be a bit chilly so wear a light jacket or hoody, closed toe shoes, preferably sneakers, and bring a camera that you can’t drop. Instructions and a helmet will be provided for you by Phil. It’ll honestly be one of the best mornings you’ve ever had. No amount of coffee can wake you up and make you feel this refreshed and ready to conquer the day. We spent two hours learning and flying, then made it back to Los Angeles in time for work. Totally worth the early wake up call, the drive, and the cost. Bam!

Would you be interested in learning to fly? Have you flown an aircraft?

14 Comments

  1. Love the rainbow parachute! Great post Akville, I love reading about all your adventures. #rockon

  2. Awesome post! I’m definitely going to have to take the short trip out to Apple Valley to try this out. I’ve actually taken one private pilot lesson and it was one of the most amazing experiences ever, and I highly recommend trying that out if you ever get the chance!

    • Thank you, Jason! Please let me know if you go out and try this, I’d love to hear your experience! You’re the second person today to mention getting a private pilot lesson. Might just have to sometime as well! 😀

  3. Do it for sure! I have some pictures of my experience on my instagram I believe. Only downside is it can be pricey, especially if you want to get your license (+$8,000 ouch!), but I will get my licence someday…it’s on my bucket list!

  4. Great post Akvile, sounds like a lot of fun. I’m digging the concept for your new site!

  5. Been DYING to do this ever since I went paragliding for the first time a few months ago. I had an amazing time and have even considered getting my license I had so much fun.

  6. VERY cool Akvile!!!

  7. Enjoyed reading your Blog on Paragliding. It was very interesting to read of your experience. I love reading all your Blogs and looking at your photographs. Parasailing is on my Bucket List!

  8. Wow this looks amazing, it’s given me some inspiration for my own bucket list. Keep up the good work!

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