By Kylie Bearse

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota isn’t a typical place you think of for hang gliding; usually you need a mountain or cliff. But Eagle Hang Gliding in Lake City takes a different approach to getting you in the air.

WCCO’s Kylie Bearse and Jason DeRusha had a chance to experience what it’s like to fly with the eagles.

Dave Dysand knows how to make an entrance. He spends most of his days thousands of feet above the Mississippi River in Lake City.

“You cannot really describe the sensation,” Dysand said. “The feeling that one experiences when you’re hang gliding.”

That’s why Dysand started Eagle Hang Gliding: to give others the chance to fly with the eagles.

“This a perfect day,” said Dysand. “We couldn’t have hoped for a better day.”

Dysand’s hang gliding tours are unique. Instead of jumping off a cliff, we get in the air Minnesota-style: by boat.

“We’ll tow up to a high enough altitude that when we release we’ll be at a high enough altitude to fly back and get to the ridge,” Dysand said.

The Hang Glider is specially equipped to fit the back of the boat. The hang glider tows up to 2,000 feet before we’re flying free.

The ridges along Lake Pepin are perfect for hang gliding.

“The magic is staying aloft without an engine,” Dysand said.

As the wind blows across the Mississippi it rises once it hits the cliffs. That rising air is our playground. Perfect for hang gliding, and for those who can fly on their own.

“We’ll be seeing things from red tailed hawks to bald eagles to peregrine falcons,” Dysand said.

Bald eagles were flying right alongside us near the cliffs.

When it’s time to land, it’s an easy glide back down to the water.

And even for two people who rarely run out of things to say, it’s hard to put that feeling of flying into words.

“That is wild,” Kylie said. “That was unlike anything I’ve ever done before.”

“That was absolutely amazing,” Jason said. “That feeling of being at one with the sky and birds flying all around.”

To learn more about Eagle Hang Gliding, click here.

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