Picture yourself and your instructor strapped to a hang glider and standing atop a 1,340-foot rocky cliff. Your heart races as together, you run to the edge and launch into the air. Your feet dangle in the air as the glider suspends you securely over picturesque Lookout Valley. The only sound you hear is the wind rushing past your ears and your elated gasps of being able to soar like a bird. But this is only the beginning.
Your experienced instructor navigates the winds, riding the thermals for a safe, smooth yet exhilarating experience. After flying like Superman, you glide down to the plush green grass’s landing zone (LZ). With the grace of a butterfly, you gently land, and your only thought is, “When can I go again?!”
If this sounds like something you’d like to experience, head to Lookout Mountain Flight Park (LMFP), located 40 minutes outside Chattanooga. Since 1978, LMFP has been servicing the hang gliding and paragliding community with its top-notch 44-acre park that features a pro shop, accommodations, campgrounds, and much more. They even have a flight school where you can get your pilot’s license, which we’ll explain shortly.
First, let’s look into taking a tandem flight with a licensed and experienced pilot. You must be at least 12 years old, weigh between 100-250 pounds, and be able to run about 30 yards. Because this sport is weather dependent, you’ll need to be flexible since LMFP may not have weather updates until close to your scheduled time. Additionally, you’ll need to decide on the 1,500 or 3,000-foot tandem ride, the latter being the more expensive but giving you the thrill of flying higher than the Empire State Building.
Safety is paramount at LMFP, so your first flight won’t be the adrenaline-pumping cliff jump. Instead, your training starts at 7:30 AM with your instructor, who introduces you to the glider, the basics of aerodynamics and climatology, and safety protocols. Next, you practice soaring from a grassy bunny hill and have up to five flights to get the hang of it. Once your instructor is satisfied that you’re ready, you head up to the cliff for your flight.
Lookout Mountain Flight Park also offers Paragliding Tandem Flights, but you’ll need to call for more details.
If becoming a licensed hang gliding pilot is your dream, LMFP offers a flight school with packages for every budget and schedule. As with many sports, various levels of expertise require a special license and hang gliding is no exception. The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) has a Pilot Proficiency System that ranks pilots on skills necessary to fly in certain areas. These are:
- H1: Beginner
- H2: Novice
- H3: Intermediate
- H4: Advanced
You’ll graduate from LMFP’s flight school with an H2 license, which corresponds with Lookout Mountain’s rating for solo flights. However, a site’s rating can increase if weather conditions make flying more challenging.
Whether you’re curious about hang gliding or twisting through the skies while paragliding, we believe you’ll have a thrilling, safe experience with the Lookout Mountain Flight Park professionals.
-Read Lookout Mountain Flight Park’s refund policy before signing up, as it’s unique since the sport is weather dependent.
-Should your flight get canceled, you can opt for the pre-agreed 85% refund, or you have two years to reschedule your flight.