Tag : flying

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The Most Dangerous Thing I’ve Ever Done

Am heading back to Kauai for New Year’s this year. Was thinking about going on another ultralight flight like I did in ’08.

This is the guy I took the lesson from:

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(source: http://beatofhawaii.com/crash-on-kauai-how-safe-are-ultralights/)

And then the company he worked for back when I took the lesson is also now out of business because the owner was killed in an ultralight accident last year.

Obviously sad and a little frustrating in that this was one of the coolest experiences of my life, and it’s apparently an experience that one can no longer have (all ultralight lesson shops on Kauai are now closed).

Here’s a link to what I originally wrote about the experience: Ultralight Flying on Kauai.

RIP and I feel more death-defiant than I did earlier this morning.


Ultralight Flying on Kauai

Went Thursday. It was cool. Sometimes I get the impression that the whole point of Kauai is to see how many different ways you can look at the Na Pali coast. Me this trip: 3. Ultralight flying on Thursday, drive/viewpoint/hike today, boat on Monday. Do I win? No. I could’ve done helicopter, kayak, and hike-in. Maybe next time.

But the ultralight thing was, as stated, cool. Pics, then pros and cons.

Na Pali Cliffs

Hard bank left and, yes, these are cliffs at Na Pali (Kalalau Valley).

 Powered Hang Glider on Kauai

This is me flapping my arms to maintain airspeed. BTW, the instructor (because this was a lesson rather than a tour) is the one who took the photos. His name was “Jim”, which I assume was a cover name.

 Ultralight Near Barking Sands

 Kickin’ up spray and scaring the turtles.

Me Flying

My turn at the tiller.

So, pros:

  • Pretty dang exhilerating.
  • Best way to view Na Pali I’ve experienced *so far*.
  • Somewhat bird-like.
  • Perfect weather for it — it was raining everywhere on the island except where our little wing+engine was at.
  • That tight left turn around the Kalalau Valley — I should have requested we do that part again.
  • I sort of learned how to fly one of these to a very, very small extent.


  • Cost $215 for a one-hour ride.
  • Jim was a swell guy and all, but it’s kind of a snug fit.
  • I was pretty much terrified for the first 20 minutes and I don’t like having to face up to being as big a wuss as I am for anything more than 7-8 minutes at any given stretch.