© Dawn Kish
Hang GliderDustin Martin
The biggest problem with hang-gliding isn’t that it’s dangerous (it can be); it’s that it doesn’t pay very well. At least according to Dustin Martin, a 33-year-old hang glider from Phoenix. Hang-gliding is something Martin has always wanted to do, and when he was 16, he got his chance. “As soon as I started, I never really stopped,” he says. Last year, Martin and several friends traveled to Texas, where Martin set a hang-gliding record (he tried at least four or five times before), flying for 11 hours straight. Pretty impressive. But, for Martin, taking flight is just like getting in a car and driving. “It seems pretty regular to me, but when I take people up, they sure seem to freak out, so it must be thrilling the first time you do it,” he says. “I think it’s really peaceful and relaxing.” These days, Martin earns a living constructing parts for hang gliders, and although he earns some money from sponsors, it’s usually not enough to pay the bills, let alone the costs associated with gliding. Still, he has no plans to quit. “It’s certainly better than the alternative,” he says. The alternative being a 9-to-5 office job. — Kathy Ritchie
For more information about hang-gliding, visit www.sonorawings.com.