OH MY GOD!
I was listening to . . . is it "Higher"? They have a song called "Higher" or something like that? I'm not a big hard-rock fan, but that was kind of getting me psyched up. When my friend asked me to go to the concert, I was like, "I don't even know who they are." So he played a few off YouTube, and I was like, "I've actually heard these in hang-gliding videos. I'll go." I took a liking to a couple of the songs.
DO YOU LAUGH AT DANGER?
I respect it. I taunt it, but I respect it. What we deal with is risk management. If you know where the line is, and stay a couple notches back from it, you can do this safely. I've been doing this almost 30 years, and the worst thing I've done is take out a fencepost at a party. Things I can think of that I've participated in that are way more dangerous . . . snowmobiling. I used to ride motorcycles. I don't anymore. That's way more dangerous. Being out there with close to 6000-pound objects coming the other way within feet or inches of you. That's bad.
WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY MAKE OF ALL THIS?
Very supportive. I had just started hang gliding when I first met my wife, so this is nothing new to her. She knows how I approach it and what my philosophy is and respects it. Like I always tell people, the most dangerous thing you're going to do is drive a car to work. Someone's looking at their phone, putting their makeup on, adjusting their radio, and plows into you head-on, well, unless you're in a truck, you're going to get really messed up or die. So if you want to be real safe, stay home. At least I fly with a helmet on.
EVER DROP A WATER BALLOON OR SOMETHING OUT OF THE SKY, JUST TO BE A JERK?
I've never done anything like that.
THAT WOULD BE HILARIOUS, THOUGH.
I guess. I'd hate to hurt somebody. We respect owners and sites that allow us to do what we do. We don't own places where we set down, so we're very obliging. If we land in a crop and the farmer seems a little agitated about crushing some of his plants, we always offer him money. Most people greet us with open arms, and we try to land at happy occasions, let me give you that. If I'm flying and I'm getting low, and I realize I'm going to have to set down, I'll look around for wedding tents or volleyball tournaments or golf tournaments or anywhere where there's food and drink and happy people. Usually you're the free entertainment, and you get beer and food in front of you real quick.