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Lenoir Thermal Valley

Updated: Apr 19

Thermal Valley is a wide grassy field surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, large mountains, and all types of wildlife. Although Thermal Valley may seem like just a boring field, it is far from it. Thermal Valley Hang Gliding is a family-owned and operated business designed to advertise the wonders of hang gliding and free-flight experiences. Patrons will enjoy a “unique aerial adventure,” changing their view of flying and the sky in general. Thermal Valley Hang Gliding provides tandem discovery hang gliding flights with a UHSPA-certified aero-tow tandem instructor. The adventure begins with some ground school training and paperwork. Next patrons are fitted into their harnesses and provided multiple safety checks. After a final check, the tug pilot takes you and your instructor up and off into the sky. When the target altitude is reached, the glider releases the tow line and begins an exhilarating free flight. Instructors can also demonstrate more advanced maneuvers for an even wilder ride! Thermal Valley’s 1500-foot flight lasts about eight to twelve minutes and each 500-foot increase adds up to five minutes depending on the atmospheric conditions. Opportunities for solo instruction are also offered for those who want to pursue more advanced hang gliding training. There are multiple mountain launch sites in and around Lenoir.

Thermal Valley Hang Gliding offers many services and experiences. All services range in price from about ten dollars to four hundred. These services include Mile High Hang Gliding Tandem Discovery Flight, Advanced Tandem AT HG training and solo HG aero towing for rated pilots only, an HG Foot Launch training session, daily training hill and facility use, and finally a Butte Mtn launch guide ride. Butte Mountain is a mountain located in the Appalachian Mountains, near Lenoir which is used as one of the launch sites for hang gliding adventures. Tandem flights consist of flying with an experienced USHPA-certified tandem aero-tow hang gliding instructor. The Dragonfly tows the tandem glider to the chosen altitude, once there, the glider releases and begins free flight. The instructor will let you fly as much as you want until it is time for the instructor to land. An HD video of the flight is also offered which can be purchased at the time of the flight. Thermal Valley Hang Gliding also provides opportunities for aero-towing training, plus providing towing to pilots who have a current aero-towing rating.

Testimonials of real people who have experienced Thermal Valley’s hang gliding adventure state that it is the most amazing feeling to “soar on the wind like a bird” and “seeing the earth from hanging so high in the sky was magical!” Reviewers of the experience raved about the staff and crew, saying, “excellent instruction before and during our flight.” Patrons recall the crew and staff paying extremely close attention to patrons' safety by not only making sure the weather is acceptable for flight but also making sure that participants feel comfortable and safe. Thermal valley Hang Gliding is an extremely enjoyable experience for anyone who wants to encounter a great thrill with the beautiful background of Lenoir, North Carolina.

--Sarah Sandak


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