Leave the claustrophobia behind and take hang gliding lessons. This sport allows you to enjoy magnificent sceneries at thousands of feet above the ground.
If you want to practice this sport, you need a helmet, a harness and a glide, which is a modified parachute that is also known as flexible wing.
The glide has a triangular shape and is maintained by rigid aluminum tubes and cables and is designed to allow air to flow over the surface to make the wing rise1, lifting the pilot in the sky for a flight that he or she will never forget.
It has been about five years since the last time that I hang glide. My instructor was an old man with more than twenty years of experience in the hang gliding field. He taught me how to launch and for the fist time in life, I was up in the air for only a few seconds. At the time I was seventeen years old and my parents didn’t really like the idea of seeing me up in the sky with only a helmet for protection. Anyhow, I convinced them to let me practice hang gliding and I took some lessons at a somewhat steep hill outside of the Quito, where many other hang gliders used to practice because the wind currents in this area were mainly stable and there was not as much turbulent air.
This was the perfect spot for beginners like me, who didn’t have an altimeter (used to keep track of the glider’s altitude) or a variometer (that keeps track of glider’s climb or descent rate) that only professionals use when they are up in the air, flying at high altitudes. My lessons were more about the basics of hang gliding; such as, how to take off, how to slow down and how use my body to steer and make turns in the air.
This sport is a challenging sport but worth the try. And If you don’t feel confortable enough to do it by yourself there is also the option to have an expert by your side until you feel confortable enough to take the chance and do it on your own.
1 How hang gliding works. http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/hang-gliding.htm