A few weeks ago I had the opportunity (along with The Hub and Barbarians) to go up in a glider. It was a wonderful opportunity offered by a near neighbour who has been gliding for a very long time (he’s a retired pilot). The plan for the day was to go up with him in a two seater glider owned by one of the clubs he is a member of (his personal glider is only a single seater) – located between Bredbo and Cooma in New South Wales.
We packed a picnic lunch and set off, keeping our fingers crossed the weather would play nice. When we got there the club members were a little concerned about the wind, so they decided to take up The Hub for the first flight because of turbulence concerns. He said they should take me instead because there was a chance this would be the only flight and he didn’t want me to miss out (he’d been in a glider before).
After assuring the club members I wasn’t a frail female and would cope perfectly well with turbulence I got to go up. We started with a safety briefing and then I had to confess my weight as they needed to calculate ballast (my youngest Barbarian needed weight added – I didn’t, lol). I climbed very inelegantly into the glider and was strapped in with a five-point harness. It was rather strange sitting so close to the grass with only a clear piece of acrylic over the top. Although having a clear view beside, in front and above me was brilliant.
We were pulled into the air by a little one-seater plane. We climbed to 3,000 feet before the tow rope was released. When it’s released we banked to the right and the plane banked to the left. Unfortunately there were no ‘lifts’ meaning we only had a short flight (about 10/15 mins). You need the uplift to regain height and there was just none around at the time. There was a little bit of turbulence but nothing that worried me.
It was an amazing sensation to be floating in the air. There was a little bit of noise from the air rushing against the glider, but otherwise it was quite peaceful. The views were wonderful because we were so close to the ground you could see everything quite clearly.
As the airstrip was grass, I wasn’t sure how bumpy the landing would be. It was a little bumpy but not what you would call a rough landing. All in all, it was a wonderful experience.
Have you ever been up in a glider? What did you think?
Photos below: The tow plane, the glider, the glider (behind) hooked up to the plane, me next to the glider, close up of the mascot, my seat! (we got the front as our friend is a qualified instructor), heading down the runway, being towed, me at nearly 3,000 feet, the view x3.