Threading the Needle

Zac Majors is a six-time U.S. National Champion and owner of the Hang Gliding Academy located in Knightsen, California. He is instructor and record holder, holding the Mt. Diablo record of 190 miles and 5.5 hours of flight time, making a land near Lost Hill, south of Interstate 5.

A self-proclaimed “endorphin connoisseur”, Majors has been gliding since the age of 18 and now at 41, still maintains the same zeal he had in his earlier years.

Hang gliding to Major is not a simple jump off a cliff or hill to land a few minutes later. That was in the past. Now hang gliding involves average tandem speeds of 20-35 mph with solo glides of approximately 60 mph. Hang gliding is not just about pleasure, but skill and length.

Launching off a cliff or hill and then soaring up thousands of feet, hang gliding offers lots of control and in Majors’ eyes, is not an extreme sport. Pilots enjoy hang gliding because of the peacefulness and scenery.

Majors says he loves hang gliding because of the sense of freedom it offers him and the power to be one with the world and nature.

He offers lessons next to Jeremy Newberry Estate Vineyards in a flight park. While Majors teaches most of the time, he still competes, making appearances in places like Europe, Guatemala, Australia, and Brazil.

Heralding from Portland Oregon, Majors competed in ski racing in the Junior Olympics. He managed a Team USA Silver Medal in FAI World Championships in 2011, in Australia.

Major’s introductory tandem lessons run $275 during the week and $325 on weekends. He also offers complete certification courses for advanced students.