Fly Like A Bird Without Hopping On An Airplane
Posted January 15, 2002 2:54 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — If you have ever wanted to fly like a bird without hopping on an airplane, it might be easier than you think. Paragliding allows you to soar through the air with the greatest of ease.
Bill Briley knows wind in his face. He jumped from planes in the army and he has flown ultralights. Now he is into powered paragliding.
"My wife can't distiniguish between a parachute and a paraglider. She always calls it my power parachute but one day she'll get it right," he said. "It's the closest thing I've done that's like free flight."
All the equipment fits right in your car. A propeller is bolted to the back of the engine, which is all connected to the harness.
Briley said it only takes a couple of days to learn the sport.
"The best thing to practice is the ground handling because once you get this down, that's the hardest part, and flying is the easy part," he said. "It feels like you're Superman, you know, you're running and all of a sudden, you start flying. That's what I enjoy the most about it."
One of Briley's more memorable moments was when he flew with a flock of birds.
"They were flying and I flew up next to them. They let me fly next to them for a second and then they didn't like it anymore, so they flew away," he said.
Briley paraglides all over the state, but he has his sights set on something bigger.
"I want to go out west and fly the Grand Canyon. I think that would be pretty neat," he said.
Many people take paragliders with them on vacation because you can check them on an airline. Bill's setup cost about $4,300, but you can find one used for about $2,000.