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A Beginner’s Guide to Hang Gliding – in Florida!

 A Beginners Guide to Hang Gliding   in Florida!
RoriTravel, Lauren, adventures with ben

Florida is probably best known for it’s beaches, theme parks and natural wetlands. It is not known for it’s stunning mountains and cliffs – which is why I was quite confused when fellow travel blogger and friend RoriTravel (you can read her perspective on the day here) invited me to Quest Air Hang Gliding* to go hang gliding in Central Florida. Wh-wh-what? Here are 6 surprises I discovered  as you think about having your own hang gliding adventure.

1. You Can Hang Glide in Florida!

 A Beginners Guide to Hang Gliding   in Florida!

Quest Air Hang Gliding is located in Groveland, Florida at the Groveland Airport. It’s about an hour’s drive west of Orlando. This grass field primarily serves hang gliders. Obviously you don’t need to jump off a mountain in order to hang glide. This little plane above tows you up to altitude. The pilot of the glider releases the tow cable and poof! You’re flying.

Who would have thought Florida could be this exciting?!

2. Hang Gliding is Safer Than You Think

 A Beginners Guide to Hang Gliding   in Florida!

It’s tough to believe that these oversize kites are capable of keep one (let alone two) people afloat – but they can, and do! Yes any adventure sport carries a level of risk associated with it, but the Sport of Hang Gliding isn’t as precarious as you’d think. Here are just a few safety mechanisms to put you at ease:

  • Gliders must be inspected pre-flight, just like any airplane
  • Pilots and passengers wear helmets
  • Gliders are capable of self-correcting (in certain conditions) so the glider doesn’t stall
  • You’re firmly attached to the glider
  • In the rare emergency, you have a parachute to get you to safety

And in the case of my visit with Quest Air, they shared with me their extra-conservatism in evaluating flight conditions. Strong winds and storms are the main culprit of turning a pleasant flight into a scary one, so they don’t fly if there’s any shadow of a doubt.

3. Take-Off is Quick; Like a Kite

 A Beginners Guide to Hang Gliding   in Florida!

Remember when you were a kid and ran real fast to make your kite fly? That’s essentially how the glider lifts off. It rolls on the ground for a few feet, but then you just pop up. Blink your eyes and you’re already off the ground. Physics is great. It takes only a few minutes to reach altitude – in this case, 2,500 feet. A quick release of the tow cable and we were on our own.

4. Simple Enough for Your Grandma

 A Beginners Guide to Hang Gliding   in Florida!

Let me clarify for a moment. From the companion’s perspective, hang gliding is easy. All I had to to is hang there. My pilot Lauren, on the other hand, did all the work. She had the tough job. After reaching altitude she showed me how to fly the glider and I did just that! By adjusting your weight, you can make the glider go up and down. Leaning left and right will turn the glider around. If you find the right thermal lifts, you can fly for hours. Our introductory flight was 15 minutes.

Virtually anyone can take one of these tandem flights. Lauren shared that she has taken the very young, and young-at-heart on hang gliding trips above Florida. You don’t need to worry about anything, Lauren and her colleagues will take care of you every step of the way. Take a look in this YouTube video from Rori:

5. Hang Gliding is Magic

 A Beginners Guide to Hang Gliding   in Florida!

Hang Gliding is the closet thing to flying with wings you’ll ever feel. It’s peaceful, elegant, slow and breathtaking. You’re literally flying with the birds.

There’s no motor, no free fall, no tether, no nothing. It’s just you… soaring high above the ground in one of the most unique of sensations.

6. Landing is the Best Part

 A Beginners Guide to Hang Gliding   in Florida!

Eventually, all good things must come to an end. The landing approach is fast. Just a few feet below your body are the wheels of the glider. You have one chance to line up and make your landing perfect. Fortunately for me, Lauren is a silver-medal championship pilot with years of experience. We hit our mark spot on and rolled to a stop.

 A Beginners Guide to Hang Gliding   in Florida!

Quest Air Hang Gliding offers discovery flights seven days a week. A 15-minute flight at 2,500 feet will cost $125, which is about on par with other helicopter and hot air balloon excursions I’ve done. It’s a great surprise gift for that special someone. And if they become hooked, they can take lessons and earn their own pilot wings.

You can view more photos of my Hang Gliding adventure on my Facebook Fan Page.

Connect Online

If you’d like to hang glide yourself on your next trip to Orlando, visit Quest Air Hang Gliding at | Website | Facebook |

My pilot, Lauren Tjaden, is also works as the Beaches & Adventure Insider for VISIT Florida. Be sure to follow her for more great activities in Florida. You can find Lauren online at: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

Don’t forget my fellow blogger RoriTravel | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

Have you ever been hang gliding? What was the experience like? Share by commenting.

I’ll see you out there…!

*In exchange for coverage on this travel blog, Quest Air Hang Gliding provided 1 complimentary ride.


Pompano Beach Condos

I don’t know that I would ever have the guts to try hang gliding. It must be something to be able to “fly” with the birds and see the world from their point of view.


It’s so peaceful and calm. Try it!


You only have one shot at landing, so perhaps that’s why it’s so exciting.


I’ve always wanted to do this. I wonder if someone does it down here in Ft. Lauderdale. We went paragliding in Colombia, but this looks like more fun and a bit more peaceful!
Jillian recently posted something special..Photo- Kickin’ Back at the Border


Looks like it’s a solid 3+ hours to get to Quest Air, west of Orlando, from Ft. Laud, Jillian. That’s a bit of a haul…. Unless of course you decide to make it part of a weekend trip! :-)

Wallaby Ranch is about the same amount of travel time.

And those are the only two flight parks that I have any experience with in FL, I’m afraid… But maybe someone else can recommend a closer option?




I don’t know, send a message to QuestAir, they are well connected and might know.


Hang gliding is *everything* that you imagine it can be!

Do you dream of flying wingtip-to-wingtip with eagles and hawks, close enough to see their feathers ruffled by the wind? Yup, been there, done that.

Do you dream of flying in smooth-as-glass air, watching sunset and moonrise as you spin in golden light, staying up effortlessly? Yup, that too!

Do you dream of flying to the very base of the clouds, flying between and among them, soaring what seems like canyons in the air? Check!

Yes, flying has its risks. But don’t assume that hang-gliding is inherently an adrenalin-junkie type of sport. It’s really not (unless you so choose!)….

Stay within your comfort zone, progress gradually, and you can have some absolutely amazing adventures which will be on a par with any flying-dreams that you might recall after waking up some morning. Yup, it’s that good!



Well put Mark! Hang Gliding is not really like other adrenalin sports, which surprised me. A second, third and fourth trip are in order!


I have to say that although I have bungee jumped, hang gliding scares the beegeebees out of me.Although the photos do look fun…scary fun.
ayngelina recently posted something special..Where have all the hippies gone


Why so scared? It’s very relaxing – in low winds!


This looks like so much fun- even if I’m a total scary cat- I really want to try it!


It’s not scary like other very high adventures.

The Dropout

Now that looks like fantastic fun. I am going to give it a go the first opportunity I get!
Thanks for the step-by-step guide.
The Dropout recently posted something special..Attack of the Asian Baby Snatchers


Wow, super cool! And you got to meet Lauren, too. She’s a true gem. One more thing for my “to do” list :)

RoriTravel's Florida

You did awesome that day my friend! My favorite part will always be the landing and hearing & see you laugh all the way in… what a joy to be a part of! And Lauren & the great people at Quest Air were people to really trust – and put your friend’s life into their hands!
You’re the best…
- Rori
RoriTravel’s Florida recently posted something special..Busch Gardens Tampa baby Cheetah- puppy get names


I was so surprised you could hear me laugh that high. Thanks for the invite!


Wow, your adventurous spirit is showing this week. I could maybe do it with an instructor leading but I don’t even know for certain. It looks really scary.
Lisa recently posted something special..Photo Friday Easter in Germany


Not scary one bit. The instructor helps you the whole time.

Scott - Quirky Travel Guy

I always thought hang gliding would be so much fun. Once I got past being terrified.
Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted something special..LA In Songs


Unlike bungee jumping or skydiving, there is no terrifying moment. It’s very peaceful.


What an awesome experience! It’s definitely something I want to check into!


It was fantastic. Add it to your list.

Nathan H.

I’ll have to look this place up when I go to Florida, thanks for the info and recommendations! Never even thought about hang gliding in FL.


I never thought you could do it either! Florida has many surprises up her sleeve.