Hang Gliding Hawaii: The Best Powered Hang glider Hawaii Has to Offer!
I’d been keen to go on a powered hang glider in Hawaii, but I really didn’t have much cash. I tried looking into companies that did it, but found only two (and only one of which was powered). I shot out some emails and blindly hoped. Would I get to try this amazing activity? It wasn’t looking good, as my time in Hawaii was fast coming to an end, and I hadn’t heard anything back. Ah well, I thought. I guess this is just an adventure for another time.
I was wonderfully incorrect.
Eric, my flight instructor and the one man operation of Hang Gliding Hawaii on the north shore of Oahu, and I spoke yesterday evening. I had already slept in way late that day, and we decided I would go with him the following day… at 7:30 am. Yep, that’s when we had the right weather conditions for the flight that would last 30 minutes. Note you can do a flight of 45 minutes too. What was I to expect? Was it like a powered paraglider? Or something else altogether?
I popped some sleeping pills to get my wide awake self to sleep for the four hours or so I was going to have before my adventure. I had to trek all the way to the other side of the island. This would have been easy if I had a car I was renting, or even a bit of extra cash to spend. You can easily take the bus to Haleiwa and then take a taxi from there. Alas, I am perpetually broke. So I had to do it my way, and my way was lengthy.
This meant taking a bus at the insane hour of 3:50 am. Despite the sure sleep deprivation I was about to endure, I couldn’t have been more excited. I was going on a hang glider for the first time – and in Hawaii to make it even better! While the bus was a bit lengthy, it’s still super easy to reach the hangar from Honolulu – especially if you have a car, and aren’t a crazy person like me taking the bus first thing in the morning. Still, the bus isn’t bad if you just pop in some headphones and cruise along. If you take the long bus that doesn’t go straight through the island, you get glorious views on the way too.
Of course, at such an early hour, I took the quick bus, saving the one that went around the island for afterwards when I was ready to relax and watch the scenery. For now, I just needed to get there. Like I said, I had to take the bus at 3:50 am. That means I woke up even earlier. Would you do it for the chance to go up in a hang glider? Yeah, I think you totally would too.
I arrived at Hang Gliding Hawaii’s hangar to meet Eric. He was all smiles and gave me amazing vibes from the first moment (so much so that I think I’d like to chill with him again!) I awaited another person to go on his Hawaiian hang gliding adventure, excited as could be. What was it going to be like? What would I see? I was more than ready to hop in that hang glider!
I waited and he even let me use a little table as the other person went to get some work done, as I’d brought my computer along with me. Hey, if I was trekking to the other side of the island, I may as well enjoy some of the places it had to offer while up there. I wound up checking out some cafes in Haleiwa on the north shore afterwards and working from there instead of my friend’s house for a change. But I digress…
Finally, it was my turn. Eric, my pilot, suited me up, put my helmet on, and got me in the trike. Then it was time to be off! The hang glider trike is top of the market quality – it’s the Ferrari of hang gliders, and a super light trike. It was pretty much like a flying motorcycle with its weight shift control. For my first time in one of these trikes, this was pretty special and cool (do I risk being disappointed next time I do this elsewhere? Quite possibly!) Though I’ve read many are foot launched, I’m not quite sure how we launched. To be honest, I was way too excited to notice.
Although I’d tried to speak to Paradise Air as well, I’m so insanely happy I went with Hang Gliding Hawaii and Eric instead. He was just amazing, and his state of the art flying was unparalleled. He’s open most days a week, depending on if there’s smooth air and winds of course. It just is a great light sport he adores, and so he shares it with others.
The views were absolutely spectacular. Surfers enjoyed the waves far below us, as I wondered how on earth they got so far out (Eric told me often they take jet skis out as the waves are too hard to swim over; this area of Hawaii – the north shore – is known to be one of the best surfing spots in the world). We passed by the gorgeous coastline filled with beautifully different colours of blue.
Flying across Haleiwa, I saw where I was about to head afterwards – and where I am sitting right now writing this review. So I actually got to see it from the SKY before coming here, in light sport and ultralight powered hang glider! Pretty bad ass if you ask me! Mountains sprawled around us, as we passed by clouds – never going into them, but passing very close by to get some great shots and an amazing feeling of being a part of the sky.
Next, Eric actually let me FLY the freakin’ thing. I was terrified, but he kept his hands loosely on the steering device as he taught me how to turn, rise upwards, head down, and go straight. While I was minorly scared I might crash the thing, I knew Eric had a handle on it all. I was free to give it a go without any risk since he had his hands close by, ready to save me should I mess up completely.
Whales and Such
Apparently during whale season it’s very common to see whales almost every day, so that’s also a great time to go on a powered hang glider. Again, Eric runs the whole operation, and he’s a great guy, so I highly recommend your next tour in Hawaii to be with him! Plus, he was constantly telling me things as we passed through different scenery. Any questions I had he could answer, and it was just great. Can I rave about this any more?! It was just so much fun spending the morning hang gliding in Hawaii!
Alas, my tour ended and I hung out with Eric a while as he got everything closed up. As kind as he was, he offered to drive me to Haleiwa, my next stop to write this very review and then to explore. Seriously, he’s a great guy, and it is a pleasure flying with him.
Go Hang Gliding on Oahu!
So on your next trip to Oahu choose Hang Gliding Hawaii – you will not be disappointed by how amazing the views are and how great Eric will treat you!
Be sure to check out the awesome reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor – I mean you should trust me by now, but in case you need some reinforcement, you’ll see just how much everyone loves it! You can also check out their Facebook page as well as their Instagram for more info!
And don’t forget everything else Oahu has to offer – from zip lining to helicopter tours, it’s amazing in every way!
Finally, voila, the video taken from the hang gliding wing! Yep, a wing mounted camera and all.