Tranquility – the freedom of flight

My wife purchased a glider flight experience for me at Christmas (2014) and I have recently used it. The flight ticket was for one of three choices:

  1. An aero tow upto 2000 feet
  2. A winch launch with video
  3. Two winch launches

The flight ticket was booked through Travel Zoo and the flight was booked with Windrushers Gliding Club at Bicester in Oxfordshire. 

I opted for number three, two winch launches as I had already completed an aero tow at Portsmouth Naval Gliding Club (Lee on Solent) 16 years previous for my 40th Birthday. I chose three because 2 flights are better than one and I had my headcam with me. (unfortunately I didn’t know at the time, but the headcam would fail me).

As I approached the aircraft, I forgot how small the cockpit was and that only a few milimeters were between me and the outside world. The instructor went through the controls and dials and with typical RAF sense of humour instructed me about my parachute.  I climbed in to the cockpit, strapped myself in and waited for the canopy to close. Once we were safely strapped in and the canopy closed the pilot provided me with a discription of what was about to happen, the speed of take off, how many lengths of the aircraft before we would be airborne and the angle of ascent.. 

The winch wire was attached, 2 minutes later the slack was taken up, then my stomach felt the exilerating rush as we climbed at about 60 mph at 45 degrees to 1500 feet. We reached the precisipis of the climb and released the winch wire and turned immediately into an updraft and continued to climb to around 2500 feet.  I have always enjoyed theme park rides, but that take off was the best experience anyone could wish for. 

As we flew above the airfield the view was fantastic and all I could hear was the wind rushing over the canopy, absolute  tranquility. 

We were airborne for about twenty minutes the first time, as the pilot banked us round for the final approach, it felt that we were going so slow, but when I looked at the air speed indicator, we were at approximately 65 knots across the ground.  The landing area was approaching, I then heard the rush of air as the air brake was engaed to slow us down for the landing.  It was only seconds but the landing over the field was so smooth, I hardly noticed it. we rolled for about 50 yards (if that) the wing tipped and we came to a stop. 

I stayed sat in the aircraft, we were hooked up again, and the whole experienced started over.

I would like to thank Windrushers for a fantastic time and a most exilerating flight. Something that I will do again, and may even consider learning and obtaining a solo license. 

if you want a little bit of quiet time, the only place to be is up there with the birds using the wind, the termals and updrafts from the clouds above you.