(AirBike Ace rides the wind)
While flying home from the second EAA event of the
day on October 15th, decided to land at the Wichita
Glider Port to do a little hangar flying. I hadn't yet
filled my fun quota for that day's flying.
Entering the hangar it was soon apparent that help
was needed to get three gliders outside and in
position for their tows. One thing led to another and
soon I was a groundcrewman helping launch two
gliders and was in the process of helping with the
third when the pilot asked me a question.
"Would you like to go for a ride?" Quicker than a
magneto fires a plug I was buckling on a parachute!
It didn't take long to get seated, buckled
up, close the canopy and signal the
starter to have the Cessna 182 tow
plane get into position.
That's pilot Ken in the front seat and
yours truly, Paul Fiebich behind him.
Soon after the tow rope became taut, we were
bouncing and ratteling down the sod runway
on the glider's main wheel.
Within a few minutes Ken told me to pull the
tow rope release knob which separated us
from the tow plane. Wang! The steel link in
the tow rope "flew" out of its nose hook and we
were riding the wind!
For 35 minutes Ken skillfully
maneuvered the glider in and out of
thermals keeping us at 3000' AGL.
There wasn't enough thermal activity for
us to climb and the rising air columns
were small. This however, did provide
the opportunity for many steep turns!
Looking over his shoulder, Ken asked the
question I had been hoping he would. "Do you
want to fly"? Think magneto! Instantly my feet
were on the rudder pedals and my thumb and
forefinger were guiding the control stick.
Following Ken's commands I turned left, right,
and full circle to stay within the thermals. He
then had me follow a road and try to fly straight.
That was harder than turning, the glider acted
like it was on a gimbal! I constantly
overcontrolled the plane.
Well, at least I didn't run into anything!
Instruments included airspeed,
altimiter, variometer (a very sensitive
altimiter) and a compass.
The view down the glider's 30' wing is breathtaking. That's Andover, KS in the left photo and
a rural area on the right. The wind rushing past the plane is the only noise, it is so pleasant
you can talk to the pilot without an intercom or the need to yell! Beautiful!!
After landing I helped position the glider for the
next tow then hopped in my AirBike for the 20 mile
trip to Derby, KS.
Entering final to Hamilton Field, the sun was low,
cool air blew up my pantlegs, shadows were long
and everying was peaceful. I had filled my quota
for fun flying to overflowing!
|Man, I love this flying stuff!!