ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Harris Hill Soaring Corporation’s glider rides provide you with a thrill high above the ground.
4,000 feet above the ground to be more exact.
If you live, or have ever visited Elmira, Horseheads, Big Flats, Corning, and have driven near Harris Hill, you have seen the sailplanes in the sky.
Many don’t realize, that you can go for a sailplane ride easily and inexpensively.
Elmira is known as “the soaring capital of America.”
It all comes down to topography.
There are six hills in the area, situated to create optimal wind conditions for ride soaring.
Back in the 1930s, the Chamber of Commerce grabbed on to the idea that Elmira should be the pre-eminent location for soaring in the United States.
Between 1930 – 1946, the annual Soaring Competition was held there.
At the outbreak of World War II, Elmira was the first site chosen to develop a glider program and train pilots for the war effort.
In addition, Schweizer Aircraft – built sailplanes, agricultural aircraft & gliders, right here in Elmira and Horseheads until 2012.
Before the year 2000, over half of the sailplanes in the world, were built in the Southern Tier.
Additionally, we are home to the National Soaring Museum.
This is an organization whose aim is to preserve the history and heritage of motorless flight.
Also, the “Soaring Society of America’s” national repository of records, and home of the soaring hall of fame.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to go for a ride:
No age limit – 245 lbs
15-20 minute flight
4000 feet above the ground
Price – $105
They are open April 1st to October 29th
Harris Hill Soaring Corporation offers rides from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends from April through October; from late June through August.
They operate seven days a week.