We left SMU at 6:15 am October 27 headed for Lawton, OK. In the van were three participants
with staff-members Ben, John and Chris. The other participant. Mike, was driving from Fort Worth to meet us in Lawton.
A few hours later, we arrived at the meeting spot, which was the only house we could see for miles. Unsure whether the gurgling of our stomachs was due to McDonald’s breakfast or nerves, we stepped out of the van and approached the house. We were welcomed into the house by our instructor Tom and his dog to find that Mike had beaten us there. With the group finally together, we filled out all necessary paperwork and watched a ridiculously cheesy yet informative video about hang gliding. We then loaded up the hang gliders in a few trucks and followed them as best we could in the van down several farm roads until we reached our destination. Yep, another farm road.
Once we prepped the hang gliders and Tom took it for a test flight, we began taking turns tandem flying with Tom. Basically, a truck specially rigged for hang glide towing would drive 2-3 miles down the farm road as the hang glider gained altitude.
When either the hang glider was high enough or the truck driver ran out of road, Tom would disconnect the tow rope and the hang glider would soar through the air doing tricks until coming down for a somewhat light landing. We got as high as 1800 feet up and flew for 5-10 minutes, although it felt a lot longer for the person flying.
After about 8 hours of flying, we packed up and stopped in Lawton for a Mexican dinner with the hang gliding staff before making the long journey home. It was truly an amazing experience for all.
- Ben is a trip supervisor for Outdoor Adventures and a senior majoring in mechanical engineering