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WFMZ's Bo Koltnow goes paragliding

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 20 2013 05:15:46 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 20 2013 05:57:02 PM CDT

"Free as a bird." It's an expression many paragliders use.

"Free as a bird." It's an expression many paragliders use.

"Man has been dreaming about flying and paragliding is as close as you can get to flying with the birds," Dan Staniaszek said just before takeoff in Warren County, New Jersey.

He's part of Pennsylvania Paragliding, a Northampton County based high flying business.

"It's the most incredible thing. It's beautiful you can go anywhere." Pilot Juan Arias said.

Friday, WFMZ's Bo Koltnow was in Harmony New Jersey where Pennsylvania Paragliding owner Terry Bono put him through an introductory flight school.

"These are your brindles, they are going to make you attached to a toe rig," he told Bo as Bo was sitting in the harness.

A morphed motorcycle gives the initial pull. Because we are not on a cliff it gets the flyers off the ground.

"If you fly off a mountain there's trees, turbulence. I can control how high you get here," Bono said.

After some, often times, awkward practice, it was time to get off the ground. To maximize height Bo hooked up with Arias for a tandem run.

"After a bit of a rocky start, we quickly took off, and settled in to an amazing view.

When you are 2000 feet up the key is to follow the birds. You want to find the thermal air that lifts you higher and higher.

"We can fly as a bird, we can go anywhere, we can climb and go all the way to the clouds no problem," Arias said.

Flights can last several hours and cover hundreds of miles. Bono says it's not tough and due to the good thermal winds, this is the best time of year to spread your wings.

"Birds allow you to fly with them, it's an honor," he said