Up and away

Epic Saturday! I was invited by a friend to Shalbourne Gliding Club to have a go at this flying without engines lark.
Two days on, I still have a grin of glider-wing-span proportions from an awesome introduction to the sport …. and my fabulous sunny flight in the Spring sunshine.
The gliders are propelled into the air by a 7.5 litre winch engine which is housed on a 1950’s truck parked about a kilometre from the take off point. A cable runs from the winch and clips on below the glider at a point underneath the cockpit behind the wheel.
The first surprise was that the instructor sits in the back whist you, the pupil, get to sit up front. The other lovely surprise is that the cockpit is a lot like a fast jet canopy with visibility all round (not like a Cessna or the like where the windscreen gives you the impression of being in an Austin Allegro with wings).
glidin pic.jpg
So, equipped with a parachute I found myself squeezing into the front of the glider ahead of Steve my instructor. We welded the lid, and the slack on the cable was taken up. At this point the ground crew yelled “All Out” and the guy at the winch let it rip. Under a second before wheels off and then a steep climb up into the blue and a loud bang as the cable released.
Once in the air all was calm. It was quiet enough to chat at a normal conversational level whilst the only sound came from the variometer indicating whether we were lifting or sinking. Steve found a thermal and we circled for a few minutes building some height before setting off for a bit of a tour. I took the controls for a while but I’d forgotten how difficult it is to turn whilst keeping the plane from diving or climbing and happily handed back to Steve so I could just observe rather than make a pigs ear of piloting.
Twenty Two minutes later we were back on the ground. Big Grin city, fab
(I mustn’t take up another hobby
I mustn’t take up another hobby
I mustn’t take up another hobby)