Cowboy Up Hang Gliding is as the name implies, a Hang Gliding company. They operate out of Wyoming and Texas.The one we visited was located in Texas about 2 1/2 hours south-east of Austin or 1 1/2 hours west of Houston.
They offer various flights that differ by altitude and time of day with the cost adjusted accordingly. The most basic is the 2k foot flight which cost 169$ and is what The Lady and I did. All flights also have an option for pictures/video for an additional 40$.
That’s it for the abouts, read on for the story and review.
The People in the Wing
This past weekend The Lady was speaking at a conference so she and I used the opportunity schedule a Hang Gliding Discovery Flight. She had previously done a flight with the same company in Wyoming and having enjoyed it, she wanted to do it again in Texas… because that’s where we live… Moving on.
I’ll make a short mention that the whole operation is run by a couple of people. I say this because getting a hold of someone on the phone required a not so small amount of perseverance. However, as I am not a voice mail lever, I didn’t leave a message which presumably would have made the whole affair easier.
We pulled onto the airport road and followed the only non-gated part of said road that we could. Driving past 7 or 8 private hangers we reached the last one and found several cars parked. No signs or marking indicated that this was the place, but it made sense. So we get out of the car and walk to the backside of the hanger. There we saw a trailer setup with a table, three Hang Gliders, and a small Hang Gliding Tow Plane. Using our powers of deduction we decided that this must be the place.
We walked up and the reception lady, whose name I can not remember, greeted us and had us fill out the ‘I shalt not sue if I get hurt” forms. She gave us a brief explanation about what we will be doing and answered and questions we had, which was zero. The necessary’s complete, The Lady and I walked around the area looking at the Hang Gliders and Tow Plane. The plane itself was created specifically for towing Gliders to altitude. The gist is that it can stay aloft and climbing fast while going very slow. 31 MPH slow.
After monkeying around for about 15 minutes, the previous person landed and we were ready to take off! Being the nice person that I am, I let The Lady go first.
Up she went and about 15 minutes later, on the ground she was. Now it was my turn!
The pilot, whose name I also can’t remember…it’s a trend, had just that day who instructor of the year, so he’s pretty good at the whole Hang Gliding thing. He had me get into the harness and explained a few do’s and don’ts.
He then climbed in as the reception lady attached a line that connected the glider to the plane.
And we were off!
The little tug plane pulled us up to 2300 hundred feet because the instructor detached the line. It’s hard to describe the experience without using exhilarating and breath-taking, which it was, but you probably assumed as much already. I’m not naturally scared of heights so I can’t give perspective to people who are, but I can say what it felt like. The best analogy that I can think of is sticking your hand out of a car window. The sensation you get is about the same, I never felt like I was descending, just moving forward.
The instructor piloted us around trying to find the best thermals so that we could stay up longer, which ended up being about 13 minutes. All to soon, the flight ended, we paid our dues, got our photos and began our trip home.
Because I wanted to be cool, I set my watch to record the flight. Sadly I set it in ski mode which meant it only record the do and not the up. Still, I think it’s nifty.
Sticking the Landing
You might surmise from the length of this post that the experience wasn’t amazing. This is far from the truth. In point of fact, The Lady and I are planning on taking the intro o Hang Gliding class sometime soon so that we can be our own pilots. I just think that this kind of thing is something someone should experience, not read about. So if you haven’t tried it already, GO DO IT!
Thanks for reading!
Rest of the pics here
Video of The Lady taking off