Our glider experience is where dreams take flight. In the second installment of his two-part guest blog series, Dan Fogarty of You Should Go Here shares his journey flying high over Hana. Watch as he soars through the clouds over Haleakalā Crater, experiences a bird’s eye view of Maui’s magnificent waterfalls, and sees the island’s spectacular shoreline from a new perspective. Read on for your daily dose of wanderlust!
Travaasa is an “experiential resort” so they do cool stuff beyond having the best spa in Hawaii. Besides free yoga and a killer workout space overlooking the sea, there are lessons on Hawaiian throw net fishing, outrigger canoeing, culinary classes, horseback riding and a dozen other cool experiences.
In addition to geeking out over pools and nice hotels, I’m completely OBSESSED with flying, so what got me was the glider experience, long on my list of experiencing every method of flying. When I heard they had a glider, I knew I had to go. Right. Now.
I’ve jumped out of planes (stopped after the third jump and a too-long chute tangle…), paraglided over Rio, choppered over the Utah desert, but THIS is what I’ve longed to do — fly with just the wind (well, other factors are involved, too, like gravity). You fly in this cool and lithe motorized glider, which means they don’t have to tow it from another plane. You climb to 11,000 feet and then you shut off the engine. Yes, shut off the engine.
And then just go.
While that may sound crazy to some, it makes a ton of sense, especially since without an engine, the pilot, Hans, is the only pilot allowed to fly, silently, over the Haleakalā National Park and its volcano crater. You can look straight down its many throats, and then just soooaarrr.
Okay, I’m in. Now where is the pilot going to sit?
All knees. I laughed when the pilot said “don’t put your feet on the pedals.”
Getting high over Hana. Maui…wow.
When you’re way up here you can really see the amazing location of Travaasa, overlooking the crashing surf. That’s my bungalow right down there, right on the water. You can also see what makes Hana so cool. That’s Hana. It’s cool. No high rises, no stoplights, just nice people.
You see things differently when you’re in a glider.
A cascade of waterfalls.
Oh hey down there, clouds… You can’t hear us because we’re up here soaring, in a glider. No engine, no big deal. We’ve got the sun and wind. And one big volcano.
Quiet. Because he flies a glider, Hans is the only pilot certified to fly directly over the Haleakala national park and the volcano’s enormous crater. So here we were, doing loops between the clouds, nothing but the sound of the wind…. and me giggling. You can peer right down its many raspy throats — it used to be a smoker — and not bother anybody. I find it ironic that Hans grew up in Holland, where the tallest “mountain” is a scosh over 1,000 feet (333m) and now he flies over 11,000ft volcanoes and finds great joy when he actually cuts the engine. But he’s been flying gliders since he was 14 so I was in good hands — you can always trust the Dutch for a great time, a solid beer and a great laugh. I was in heaven. Literally and figuratively.
I touched a cloud. I’ve never touched a cloud before. Here we were, soaring amidst the clouds… with no engine. In a glider. Banking left, banking right. Gently dodging these giant puffy things like they were grocery carts in Aisle 9, Condiments. But this was different. So quiet. Listen…….. ☁️☁ ️☁️
I thought it’d be a lot more chaotic, gliding with no engine. But it was peaceful. Like a dream. Just floating along in silence. I mumbled through the headset “I’ve always wanted to put a sunroof in a cockpit. Be able to open it and reach up and touch the clouds when flying under a thick bank.” Hans chuckled. “Want to touch a cloud? Put your hand out.” And with that, he banked hard right, straight into a big marshmallow (Aisle 6, Baking). I reached my hand out through the window. Didn’t feel much, barely anything but cold. But I could see it. I pulled it back in. It was all misty, like putting it over a vaporizer. I held a cloud in my hand.