Hang gliding growing in popularity in the Tennessee Valley

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GURLEY, Ala. (WHNT) - By day, Bruce Perry is an accountant, but when the weather is just right, he ditches the tie and brings out his hang glider.

“It’s kind of peaceful, we float on air currents," says Perry.

He got into the sport three years ago, that is, after he finally got spousal approval.  “It wasn’t until after our kids were grown and my wife finally gave me the permission to do it so here I am," he says.

Bruce's hang gilder is bigger and more structured craft. It's different from what last week's paraglider used - the one who made an unintentional hard landing. “Probably should have flown with somebody who was familiar with the site. I think he flew by himself, That’s never a good idea," says Perry.

He also believes last Friday's wind was too strong.

From take off to landing, atmospheric conditions, air updrafts, cloud positions, all play a huge role in a successful flight.  “We look at the forecasts two to three days out and to pinpoint the days to fly," says Perry.

Glider pilots also observe bird patterns to see what updrafts they're using to fly higher. “We’re looking at birds that are circling." he explains.

Long story short, it's a complicated process. Bruce stresses before you try to spread your wings, go to school first.  “One of the best in the country, if not the world. Is about an hour and a half from here up at Lookout Mountain," says Perry.

One of the pilots who took off from Rudy's Ridge Friday, traveled 45 miles just north of Gadsden.

If you'd like more information on flying at Rudy's Ridge on Keel Mountain, email Bruce Perry at info@flykeelmountain.com.


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