Very simply, I love teaching hang gliding because I love watching someone’s life change right in front of me. We have all sorts of students; there are those who are confident it will be easy, those who’re just along for the ride, those who are scared, and those who truly believe that they simply can’t do it. That last type of student is my favorite.
I have the distinct pleasure of showing that person that they CAN, and I get to observe that paradigm shift first-hand. I remember several students specifically – a father and his severely autistic son. A young man with cerebral palsy that resulted in him being a paraplegic. An 82-year-old grandmother. A woman out to conquer her fear of flight on her 50th birthday. All of these students came to the dunes with the expectation of total failure. And all left the dunes having flown a hang glider with great success. There is a distinct moment when the student realizes that what they considered an “I can’t” becomes an “I did” and that moment is what I live for. I’ve had students cry tears of happiness, embrace me, and express their heartfelt gratitude. And more often than not scream and laugh while they bask in the light of their success.
Being a part of that raw, genuine transformation of others has, in turn, transformed me and helped me to believe in my own power to change and succeed. In short, changing lives is life-changing. I’d rather be nowhere else than here, proving to people that when they think they can’t, they can.
By Wolf Gaidis, Flight School Manager, Kitty Hawk Kites