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“Out in the bonnies BUT, HAVING ONE HELL-OF-A-TIME! Hang Gliding Florida”

Florida Ridge AirSports Park
Ranked #3 of 18 things to do in Clewiston
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Florida Ridge Air Sports Park is located on 50 acres of land in Southern Florida midway between Fort Myers and West Palm Beach, where Atlantic and Gulf coast winds converge to create the most favorable soaring conditions in the country.We offer thrilling Tandem Sky-Rides to the general public. You and an Certified Instructor are towed by an Ultralight airplane into the sky were you soon release and fly free - just like birds. With unrestricted air space and wide-open fields stretching 100 miles in every direction, the Ridge gives pilots of all abilities unlimited opportunity to test their soaring skills, thermal to cloud-base, fly cross-country, enjoy a Tandem Sky-Ride and indulge their love of free flight.
Miami Beach, Florida
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Out in the bonnies BUT, HAVING ONE HELL-OF-A-TIME! Hang Gliding Florida”
Reviewed November 14, 2011

My family consisted of 2 little ones 5 and 4 a pre teen 11 and my wife and myself! We went there after I was given a social voucher to HANG GLIDE and have a lesson. What I got was more then promised, the guy in the office was funny and never quit making us feel like family, he was extremely busy though since they apparently had the entire day booked up with flights from what i was hearing. There is a well oiled team there with 1) office, 2) ground crew that shuttles and keeps you hydrated and laughing, and 3) the Pilot which was amazingly enough the same guy int he office who came out specifically to fly my 11 yr/old cause he wanted to make his first flight the best thing he was EVER going to do. OK... So, the place is far away but really well located if you think about it. They are 1.5 hours out of Ft. Lauderdale, St. Pete and Naples and a bit more from Miami and Orlando. This gives them I guess the ability to be less worried about the airspace and take you higher!!! I bought the Mile High Upgrade and I think it was 90.00 from the voucher I was given, and yes of course I bought the 65.00 video package that is shot in HD and make the memories concrete. My kids enjoyed the trampoline they had (with safety net, nice touch), all the citrus trees, and yes even the horse that came through for a little while. We waited the entire hour were were scheduled for but we knew that in advance, you pick an hour and then if you get there first you fly first but if you were the 5th in the office for that hour you fly 5th unless you are good at rock paper scissors.
They take you through a bunch of papers that are required, and show you what you can and can not do on the pictures from a person who just flew, then show you their video and the person was right there! That was cool cause you can see if it really was all that these guys are saying it is, and you know what!? It is...

5300 ft I was taken it took about 18min to even get there, and then another 15 minutes of flying. I got to sight see, fly the glider doing turns and stalls and stuff, and then after doing some aerobatic (sp) I actually did my own! He showed me how to do it and that was the MOST AMAZING THING EVER!

My wife flew and they gave her a huge price break, we didn't pay for a single drink they took great care of us. Sure it was half a day when all was said and done, but it's November and we are still talking about The Florida Ridge Flight Park. Apparently they also have another operation in MIAMI but that only goes up to 1000' not the 5300' I enjoyed.

In hind sight I wish I would have brought a cooler of food to have BBQd on one of the many they had there, and that would have been the cherry on the cake. Still, on the way out we stopped into the clewiston inn for food which was nice (buffet).

Be careful of the speed limits in that town too they change quickly and another couple that were there late were caught speeding in that town.

All in all I didn't say EXCELLENT cause really I wasn't prepared, I thought this was going to be bam wham thank you mam BUT it was an experience with really nice people and they really cared about making it special for us as a whole!!!!

Thank you guys!!!

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank Esteban Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Jupiter, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
234 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Kind of cool for first time but could be better”
Reviewed November 6, 2011

It was kind of cool to hang glide for the first time. The ride is quite short however. My ride was 4 minutes from when the rope was detached from the tow plane. I would guess the whole process took maybe 15 minutes. It takes a few minutes to get into the harness and a few minutes for the takeoff and tow. This duration is under the control of the pilot but I assume there is pressure to keep the rides short and get the next person up. When we went only one person at a time was flying so I assume they made the flight short to fit as many people in as possible. We purchased our flights on Groupon for about $90 as I recall. I understand about 24 people went on the day we visited with one pilot.

There are a number of support personnel including the pilot you fly tandem with, an ultralight pilot and group support people to pick you up in a golf cart and help you out of the harness.

Two people in our group purchased the $65 videos and one paid an extra $50 to be brought higher for acrobatics including a loop. This person was very disappointed with the extra she purchased and wanted their extra $50 back (and didn't get a refund) since she did not feel she got the acrobatics promised. I believe the pilot was challenged to get back to the air field since there was a very strong wind pushing him away from it. It was a very windy day which probably made things challenging for the pilot. I think they may shoot the videos whether you pay in the beginning or not and give you the option to buy. The pictures and video are pretty good. Just depends if that is something you value. Not sure if all of our group would have taken the videos if they had a chance to decide at the end.

The flight we signed up for was supposed to start at 2500 feet but I noticed we were let go at about 2100-2200 feet. The pilots have altimiters you can see.

Part of the flight is supposed to include the student controling the glider. That was not the case with our group. This may have been due to the fact that it was a very windy day when we went. Not sure. You can also request some acrobatics or maneuvers if you are adventurous.

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank DiverM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naples, FL
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“I have never felt so close to actually FLYING!”
Reviewed September 30, 2011

Florida Ridge AirSports Park is a little off the beaten path, but well worth any drive! The staff and instructors make you feel safe and still have the most fun of your life! I highly recommend anyone looking for some fun and adventure try this park. I did the tandem hang gliding and can't wait to go again. The photo/video package is a must-get. Well worth the small additional fee. My only warning: You may just become addicted to hang gliding if you try it here! PS Pack your swimsuit and bring some lunch because you may just want to spend the day enjoying their pool, hammock, and picnic facilities after gliding.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank Melanie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ft Lauderdale, Florida
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Best Place in South Florida to Soar Like a Bird!”
Reviewed September 15, 2008

Date: June, 2007

This father's day 2007 I did something that I have always wanted to do, experience the dream of flying like a bird. I was able to convince my Father to come along and experience this dream with me. He had just been recently diagnosed with cancer and I wanted to give him and experience that would make him feel closer to heaven.

I was hesistant when I first contacted the Florida Ridge and spoke with James Tindle the owner, since I was not sure if my father or I would have second thoughts once we were there. Mr. Tindle was gracious enough to allay all my fears by advicing me on what would be the best day (weather wise) and also the best time (early morning) for a peaceful yet thrilling first sky ride. The fact that me or my father might have seconds toughts did not bother him and he allowed me to make a reservation without a pre-pay deposit.

The day could not have been more beatiful, as we drove on US 27 north towards the ranch which is about 21 miles west of the town of Clewiston near Lake Okeechobee in South-Central Florida. We found the entrance posted by a big "Learn to Fly" sign and we drove in. We soon enough were confronted with a vast green field that had a couple of hangars off to one side, you could see hang gliders ready to go on the ground and the ultra-light "TUG" airplane that is used to tow them revving up it's engine.

It was around 9am in the morning when we parked and said hello to Dennis, one of the ground crew, who pointed us in the direction of the office. Soon enough we were in the Office talking with James Tindle the owner and watching a video about modern hang gliding. Mr. Tindle's demeanor and sense of humor calmed any fears we still had. And then the question came - Who would go first? Seen as my father was a little hesitant I volunteered. I was shown how to climb into the harness of the big Tandem Glider and was strapped in as James and Dennis explained what the ride would entail
and what I should do (like were to hold on). The Pilot then got into the lower harness and a golf cart pulled the glider with me and the Pilot down the field to a point opposite the wind direction. Then the TUG, who had been flying around warming up, appeared out of the blue and landed in front of were the Glider was setup.

The rope was hooked and the ground crew called out all the checks - then I heard a loud "Clear" and the Tug plane roared like a horse out of the gate. The Glider rolled across the ground for what seem to me like a long time and suddenly it happened, I felt a rush of air suddenly get beneath the wings and pick the whole thing up off the ground. I was flying and I could not believe how comfortable and safe I felt, as tough I was taking off in an Airliner. The Only difference is that I could feel the rush of wind on my face and I had a 360 degree view of the entire landscape.

After about 10 minutes of being pulled by the aircraft, I saw the Pilot reach over and press a lever, all of a sudden the strong wind and pull ceased and we were floating half a mile up in the sky, like an eagle soaring along. The incredible scenery from half a mile up was breathtaking. I felt comfortable being able to talk to James, the pilot, and ask him questions about hang gliders. He pointed out some interesting sights in the scenery,
sprawled all around us, as he flew the glider across this Florida morning sky. I was thrilled when he allowed me to fly the glider for a little bit showing me how easy it is to control one of these flying machines.

Fifteen minutes later and we were headed for the ground - the flight park getting bigger and bigger and James was speeding up the Glider for landing. My heart did skip a little faster when I saw the ground approaching so fast, but just in an instant the pilot leveled the big glider and we were floating just 5 feet of the ground with the big glider slowing down. The glider slowly settled down the last few feet and the big wheels touched the ground ever so slightly, a perfect landing!. Turns out that that is how you land a hang glider so I never had anything to fear.

On the ground now I was unstrapped from the harness and my father was strapped in. I was so excited from the experience that I had just had and knowing that my Father would soon be experiencing the same. I grabbed the newly purchased video camera that I brought along (just for this occassion) and started filming.

Needless to say we left the park with memories and feelings that will never be forgotten. I made a video in tribute to my father's flight and posted it in youtube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh5PHe8Ehks

I enjoyed the experience so much, that a month later I called James and enrolled in classes to become a "Hang Glider Pilot". I have not looked back since then. I have subsequently cajoled, invited or sold the idea to 4 of my friends to come and experience the thrill of fligth.

That first flight on a hang glider is an experience not to be missed by anyone. And the crew at the Florida Ridge really help to make the whole experience a breeze.

Helpful?
6 Thank RCJr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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