Updated 11/12/2012 05:01 AM
Travel with Val: Outer Banks
Vacationers who have had it with the soaring cost of travel, can take matters into their own hands in North Carolina's Outer Banks and experience no-frills flights the way the Wright brothers did. YNN's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
It's possible to take a flight back in time on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Steady winds and soft sand dunes are what attracted the Wright Brothers to North Carolina’s Outer Banks for their glider experiments at the turn of the 20th century, and they are still drawing people in the 21st century.
The Wrights' test flights preceded their first successful power-driven flight in 1903, as depicted at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, a mecca for aviation buffs.
My family’s travel business predates the first powered flight by a year, so I’ve always felt a kindred spirit with the Wright Bros.
What a thrill to walk the very first runway -- so to speak -- along the markers charting the paths of those first four flights. Soaring above it all is a monument to the history-making brothers.
But the biggest rush comes about five miles south, where I enroll in hang gliding lessons with Kitty Hawk Kites (www.KittyHawkKites.com) in Nags Head.
After a brief ground school, it is time to suit up and get out on the dunes. For $99, one can get five flights, all guided by an instructor. Kids as young as age four can fly, and for those at the higher end of the weight restriction, it might take stronger winds beneath your wings to get off the ground.
But for most, it provides both a physical and psychological lift.
"Oh my gosh, that was awesome. That’s definitely one off of my bucket list," says one hang glider. "You feel so free, you finally get to see what it’s like to be a bird, I guess."
For me, it’s one frequent flyer program that lets you unload your excess baggage, and I finally stuck the landing.