Catching up with Betty at High Energy Sports

I had a chance to catch up with Betty from High Energy Sports today....I rarely get a chance to talk to her as most orders are sent to her over email or fax. I always enjoy talking with people that have been in the sport since the beginning and I've never heard her story.

She's been in the sport of hang gliding since the early days...she started in 1979 and reminisced about those days briefly. She said everyone was drawn to the sport back then since it was all new and undiscovered territory and wished that more people had that attitude these days. She left her 'real-job', as she termed it, to just go hang gliding and said she barely missed a day of flying for a long time. She didn't talk about getting into the harness making business in our short conversation but said she flew for about 15 years and hasn't since then...she said she now flies a plane a lot but it is certainly a different form of flying.

She's contributed a tonne to the sport making the industry's most respected parachutes as well. She was pleasantly surprised at a chute clinic she helped with about 8 years ago that none of the attendees knew anyone that died in the sport....she compared it to the early days where everyone knew someone that was lost to pioneering the sport. I'm so glad I didn't learn back then! :)

She said she makes about 400 hang gliding harnesses a year but is only a portion of what keeps her 12 employees busy. A big part of her business now is doing 'sky-coasting' harnesses for the big theme parks. There are now 132 parks around the world that have these attractions that use her harnesses...which are modified stirrup (or knee-hanger) harnesses. You can see what a sky-coaster is here. They all have to send their harnesses back to here for an annual inspection and repairs and have to replace them every five years (at the most).

She also said she helped develop an 'incline-zip-line-bike' you power your way along a zip line while sitting in an incline bike...very interesting.

All the best Betty! Nice chatting with you. My first harness was a High Energy Trace and it is still in use today!