Saturday, July 14, 2012

* Perfect Day To Touch Clouds

Today I lived the indescribable exhilaration of flying in a glider!

First a NOTE to my dear MUM and DAD:  I apologize for not telling you about this sooner for I did not want your gentle hearts to do backflips and worry about me.  This flight took place at a very reputable flight academy, and the glider was flown by a licensed pilot the entire time (almost).  I am alive and well, and yes I will do this again!  :)

Now on to my big adventure:

I took flight in a Schleicher ASK 21 glider today, and did not want to come back down.  In my opinion, everyone who enjoys flying should do this at least once in their lifetime, provided that they have a strong stomach, and a strong heart!



I was very lucky to have this entire flight facilitated, piloted, and filmed by the 4-time Emmy winner Director/Cinematographer Geoff Schaaf!  Unfortunately, I do not have that footage yet but I will post it on this blog as soon as I have a copy, and learn to edit it on iMovie.  So for now, you will have to do with my amateur photography on my iPhone.

The basic principle in flying a glider is utilizing rising hot air that is usually found under cumulus clouds for lift, and then glide using controls identical to a motor-airplane.  Here's how lift and glide works:



These are the cumulus clouds that we used for our lifts:


Here is a footage of takeoff:

video

The towing plane pulls the glider until a good altitude is reached preferably under a cumulus cloud.  Our glider was towed to 7,000 ft.:

video

After the cord is released, you start circling under the cloud to climb up, until you literally touch the bottom of the cloud.  In our case, this was 12,000 ft.:

video

Then the best part starts - gliding!  I do not have words to describe how incredibly beautiful it is to soar like a wild bird without the constant engine noise.  Granted, it was not absolute quiet due to the air flow through the little window opening - that is until I learned how to stall the plane, and actually did it!  This can be a little scary for at the moment of stalling, the plane comes to a complete halt, and the noise of air flow subsides!  For me, that one moment of silent suspension in air was the climax of the entire experience!

After the 4th lift, we glided back to the airfield and landed:

video

The entire flight took 77 minutes, and standing on the ground after touchdown felt very unsatisfying.  This was by far one of the most amazing days of my life.  

I touched the clouds today, and I intend to do it again!


2 comments:

  1. This is one of the things that I wanted to do most. Well, at least I know that I can come to you for a try :)

    Some of the pictures don't show up in my browser.

    Cheers

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    Replies
    1. Yes! You certainly have to do this, and I will make it happen for you when you come visit!

      I wonder if the pics not showing up are the moving ones. I'll put them in our shared folder on dropbox.

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