Top 10 Things ... to do by air

May 18. 2018 12:34PM
In the early morning at the 36th Annual Suncook Valley Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally at Drake Field in Pittsfield. (Nicole Goodhue Boyd)

Hot Air Ballooning
There are several hot air balloon ride companies around the state. Derry’s High 5 Ballooning stands out with sunrise tours followed by a complimentary post-flight picnic and champagne celebration. Thinking of proposing? They have a large “Will You Marry Me” poster just for the occasion.

Take Flight
Have you always wanted to learn to fly? People ages 9 to 109 can take a 40-minute Introductory Flight Lesson at Monadnock Aviation that lets first-timers actually fly the plane. They also offer photo flights for two to three people that provide a bird's eye view of Mount Monadnock, the Surry Dam, the Connecticut River, and so much more. Want your drone flying certification? Monadnock Aviation also teaches ground school for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)

Aviation Museum
New Hampshire’s only working museum devoted to aviation history in the Granite State is housed in a 1937 art deco building that was once the Manchester Airport terminal. Museum exhibits cover persons, places, events and artifacts related to the aviation history of New Hampshire. The 27 Navigator Road museum in Londonderry also offers a variety of aviation-themed events throughout the year, including an aircraft fly-In and Young Eagles flights for children on Saturday, August 11. Pilots fly-in on homebuilt experimental, antique, and vintage aircraft. Children ages 8 and i[ will have the opportunity to take free flights.

Canobie Lake Park

Thrill Rides
Canobie Lake Park’s UNTAMED roller coaster lifts riders 72 feet into the air, then into a drop that’s beyond vertical at 97 degrees. Other thrill rides that will send you into the air include The Yankee Cannonball, a traditional wooden roller coaster with quick drops and lots of air time, and The Starblaster, combining the anticipation of a space shuttle lift-off with the thrills and excitement of a bungee jump to give riders a 3G experience. 

Hot Air Balloon Rallies & Fairs
New Hampshire has a variety to choose from. The Suncook Valley Rotary Club’s 37th Annual Hot Air Balloon Rally, August 3 to 5 at Drake Field in Pittsfield, has tethered hot air balloon rides and helicopter rides. Grimes Field in Hillsborough is home to the Hillsborough Balloon Festival and Fair, scheduled for July 12 to 15, featuring balloons, a carnival, and 5K road race. 

Skydiving - Sort Of
The closest real skydiving experience is in Pepperell, Mass. But we have the next best thing with SkyVenture New Hampshire, a state-of-the art vertical wind tunnel where you can experience the freedom of flight, without the falling sensation. Open to adults and kids as young as 3 years old.

If you want to fly, Morningside Flight Park in Charlestown offers scenic and safe hangliding and paragliding lessons for all skill levels. People have been learning to fly here since the early 1970s. They are also expert outfitters of gliding equipment and examiners for the U.S. Hang Gliding Association. Open late spring to late fall, Morningside also has a mountaintop zipline experience.

Gondola at Loon Mountain (Loon Mountain Resort)

Loon Mountain boasts New Hampshire’s longest scenic gondola skyride, bringing you to the 3,733-foot summit of Loon Peak, where you’ll enjoy refreshing summer breezes and stunning views of the White Mountains. At the top, you can climb the summit observation tower for unsurpassed views of the surrounding peaks and valley below, stroll along a short nature trail, explore the summit glacial caves, and enjoy a relaxing meal on the deck of the Summit Cafe. 

Castle in the Clouds
This mountaintop estate, built in 1913-1914 high in the Ossipee Mountain Range, is open to the public to revel in the beauty of the views and castle grounds. After a self-guided tour of the the magnificent Arts & Crafts-style home, enjoy lunch or dinner with a view at the Carriage House Restaurant. Add to the experience by signing up for one of the castle’s many events, including intimate cooking classes, yoga, live music, a birding walk, open air landscape art, a mushroom foray, and more. 

Festival of Fireworks
All eyes will point skyward in Jaffrey on August 18 at the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce’s Festival of Fireworks, held at the Jaffrey Silver Ranch Airpark. The world class fireworks display is choreographed to music by Jaffrey-based Atlas PyroVision. Gates open at 3 p.m. for spectators to show up early for live entertainment, skydivers, a rock climbing wall, games, and food vendors.

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