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When the sun warms the air in the Tennessee River Valley, it creates powerful thermals that rise from the ridges of the adjacent plateaus for thousands of feet.

The sharp, level escarpments that surround Chattanooga face west-northwest, where prevailing winds make them a perfect launch pad for eagles and hangliders. When the thermals are right, both can soar for hours.

Photo: Lookout Mountain Flight Park

For the unitiated, taking to the air like a bird with an instructor is the best way to view and understand the breathtaking scope of Chattanooga’s outdoors.

For the experienced, the region’s weather provides three full seasons of calm winds and friendly air.

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