KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Most doctors prefer golf on their day off, but not Dr. Richard Shallman. He would rather fly over a course than play on one.
"One minute you're standing around with a big chunk of stuff that looks like a kite. Then you're off and flying with nothing between you and the ground but your shoes, when the conditions are good it's a magical experience. like being on a magic carpet or something," says Shallman.
Before each flight Dr. Shallman checks his flying instruments with the same precision he uses in the operation room. Checking everything in the same order every time he suits up. Skipping a step here could cost him his life.
He arms himself with a GPS for his flying coordinates, a radio for communication and a back-up GPS to find his way back if he lands off target.
The GPS also allows Shallman and other members of his league to keep track and assign points based on the routes and distance they fly.
The Pacific Northwest Paragliding league ranked Shallman second in June, but he says he flies for fun not points.