Make memories! Schedule paragliding lessons or hang gliding lessons during your Santa Barbara vacation. Most students fly solo their first day, and one-day lessons are available! Learn to fly at the Best Training Hill in the US.
That's Santa Cruz Island in the distance.
Watching paragliding lessons at Elings Park is one of my Top Ten Favorite Things To Do in Santa Barbara. The view from the top of the hill is magnificent! To access the training hill, use the South entrance off of Cliff Drive (online map, download map).
There are three schools allowed to teach free flight at Elings Park: Eagle Paragliding, Fly Above All and Fly Away Hang Gliding. Each school offers both basic flight instruction and tandem instructional flights.
Even if you're not interested in flying, bring a picnic lunch and a chair or blanket and come watch paragliders for a while. It's a great Santa Barbara photo op.
For paragliding lessons, you have a choice between Eagle Paragliding or Fly Above All. I am a student of both of these schools. Both have great instructors.
The major difference between the two is their teaching philosophy. Watch the videos below to help you decide which teaching method appeals to you.
Fly Above All begins training their students at the bottom of the hill...
...and Eagle Paragliding begins training their students at the top of the hill.
If you're not interested in learning to fly yourself and would still love to have the experience of free flight, schedule an introductory tandem flight. Reserve tandem flights through the reservation links on this page.
You are guaranteed to have the thrill of a lifetime!
Here's what a normal paragliding tandem flight looks like...
...and this is a video of a more acrobatic tandem flight.
This hilarious passenger is Joshi the Sushi chef. Many thanks to Alpine Adventures in Switzerland for posting this video.
If you're more interested in learning how to hang glide, Fly Away Hang Gliding gives hang gliding lessons at Elings' training hill.
Tammy Burcar owns the school and was the 1995 Women's US National Champion.
This video shows what Fly Away Hang Gliding lessons are like.
Or, if you'd rather...
... fly tandem
with the US National
Hang Gliding Champ!
Zac Majors is the current (2010) US National Hang Gliding Champion. Formerly from Santa Barbara, he now lives in San Diego, California.
Zac continues to teach hang gliding lessons in both San Diego and Santa Barbara.
Since his move, Zac flies mainly around the San Diego area. But for groups of 3 or more hang gliding tandems, he will make a special trip to Santa Barbara.
If you're interested in learning from or flying tandem with The Best, schedule your hang gliding lessons or a hang gliding tandem flight with Hang Gliding Academy.
One of the reasons I chose to take paragliding lessons instead of hang gliding lessons is because a paraglider is completely portable. All my flying gear fits in a 45 lb. backpack and I can take it with me wherever I travel. Flying is such a spectacular way to view new places. The experience is incredible!
I enjoy the tribal aspects of paragliding, too. Free-flight pilots gravitate toward one another. No matter where you go in the world, you've got an instant network of friends when you find the local pilots.
Here are other places around the world to go paragliding:
Of course, there's no place like home. So whether you decide to take paragliding lessons or not, I hope you take some time to visit the training hill and see what else Elings Park has to offer. You'll be glad you did.
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