Today a dream of mine came true – I was passenger in a 39 minutes glider flight! We were lucky with thermal updraft and reached 1800 metres within a few minutes. “Yeehaa, this one is like an elevator!”, Bernd, the pilot cheered while spiraling us up into the sky.
The tiny airfield in Pinnow near Schwerin/Germany is just minutes from the house I grew up in. When I was young I spent many weekends watching the gliders go up and lying in the grass to get the thrill of them flying extremely close over my head when landing. On competition days I counted up to 50 gliders in one big spiral. My mum and my dad used to fly them as well. Yet I never dared to get onto one myself. Until today. 🙂
I am fascinated by how gliders fly with updraft just like big birds. The glider is pulled up by a winch on the ground, unlinks the metal rope (drops a good bit right afterwards, ugh!) and then it’s up to the skill of the pilot and the weather conditions how long you will stay in the air. Free like a bird. No fumes, no noise.
It’s an art to find those updrafts. When like today there are no clouds that indicate updraft, you need to either find some circling big birds to follow or search for it by
flying one direction until you are pushed up a little. You then need to create a mental image of where the column of rising air stands and spiral up in it. You can also “fall” out of the column. That’s fun! Think roller coaster. 🙂
One of the things that made this trip so unreal is how fast you move around space. You are circling over the old city one minute, then a few moments later you are racing down towards the runway and before you can think you are standing on grass again and hear birds twitter. That seriously messes with your head, man. Well, that and the large quantities of adrenalin in your system I assume.
Enjoy some nice views of my home town from above and lots of whistling and howling in this video that I made with my phone.