Posted on 5/17/2014

Kitty Hawk Kites Hosts Hang Gliding Competition

I headed out to JockeyâåÛåªs Ridge State Park this afternoon to check out the 42nd Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular. And it was a spectacular day.

Unfortunately, the normally reliable Outer Banks winds proved fickle and went from light to non-existent to variable, which makes it almost impossible to launch or fly a hang glider.

The competition goes through Monday, so hopefully better conditions will be on tap for tomorrow and Monday. If the forecast holds true for tomorrow, there should be a 10mph breeze from the NNE, which should put the competitors on JockeyâåÛåªs RidgeâåÛåÓthe highest naturally point on the Outer Banks.

The event is organized and sponsored by Kitty Hawk Kites, certainly the oldest hang gliding school in the country. Now going into their 40th year, KHK was started by the companyâåÛåªs president and owner, John Harris with his then partner, Ralph Buxton.

The company has quite literally been teaching the world to fly since its inceptionâåÛåÓJohn and Ralph were the first two hang glider instructors on the Outer Banks, and the hang gliding school, now located in JockeyâåÛåªs Ridge State Park handle a few thousand students every year.

KHK sells a lot of kites, some great t-shirts, theyâåÛåªve gotten in to kiteboarding and water sports, but the heart and soul of the company is still in the hang gliding school.

For families looking for something different to do, itâåÛåªs a little bit challenging, but not impossible and when your feet leave the ground and you know you are actually flying this gigantic kite, the thrill is indescribable.

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