Hang gliding in Southwest Florida

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From the beaches to the Everglades, we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. One of the best ways to see our stunning backyard is from the skies. You can do that from a hang glider.

“I had no idea, no idea whatsoever,” said Andrea Schwartz, first-time flyer.

Even the locals are stunned that they can go hang gliding in their backyard. They can’t resist the urge to give it a go. Once you get up in the clouds though, you won’t want to come down.

“Can you believe you saw Southwest Florida from that vantage point? I can’t believe I saw it and I can’t believe I did it,” said Schwartz.

Thanks to James Tindle, developer of the program, you don’t need a cliff to run off in order to soar the skies.

“It’s not like you’re flying a plane or jumping out of one. It’s truly a Peter Pan moment when you’re flying like a bird,” said Tindle.

Tindle’s students strap into a glider with an instructor. Then a small propeller plane takes you up and releases you for the glide.

“You can see all of the coast and Lake Okeechobee. It’s a pretty amazing view,” said Tindle.

The key is location. The atmosphere in Southwest Florida warms up and creates pockets of air called “thermals.” When the glider hits a thermal, it rises.

“They can fly for hours,” said Tindle. “We’ve had a duration of almost 8 hours without coming down. We’ve had a flight from here in Clewiston to Orlando. Almost 200 miles.”

Gliders here have gone as high as 10,000 feet, nearly two miles up. But for many, a 10-minute flight is all they need.

Tindle, is a world-class aviator who has opened air shows for the Blue Angels.

For information about how to fly, visit the Florida Ridge website. 

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