By Tod Westlake
One of the things for which Ellenville is most famous, at least in more recent years, is hang-gliding. Beginning in the late 1960s, trailblazers in the sport would come to Ellenville to literally jump off the side of the mountain that overlooks the village.
In the 1970s, as the sport gained in popularity, Ellenville became the east-coast capital of the sport, as Greg Black puts it. Black is the owner-operator of Mountain Wings, an aero-sports flight shop in the village.
While most who come here are already experienced pilots, Black offers training for those who want to get into hang-gliding.
"Learning [to hang-glide] is a fun family affair," says Black. "Parents are now bringing their teenagers along with them for lessons."
Black says that the pioneering generation of hang-gliders now has kids who are becoming proficient in the sport.
"Many older pilots have their teenagers flying on their own … after growing up watching mom and dad," he says.
Ellenville remains a popular destination primarily because of the great terrain. The overlook on Route 52 offers one of the best hang-gliding spots on the east coast.
And Ellenville has seen its share of record-breaking flights, according to Black. In 1980, a pilot flew from Ellenville all the way to Central Park in Manhattan where he landed safely. There is also a group of pilots who routinely fly from Ellenville to a spot in Connecticut — the current record for distance in a flight originating in Ellenville is a staggering 177 miles!
Black offers lessons for the beginner, the novice, as well as the advanced pilot. If you're interested, you can contact Mountain Wings at (845) 647-3377. You can also email Black at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, next time you're in Ellenville, be sure to look up.
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