Friday, 18 December 2009

teach yourself to fly part 2

I was given a gift of a flight in a glider some time ago. I fully expected to be simply sitting in the aircraft, just coming along for the ride, taking photgraphs and enjoying the experience. I was wholly unprepared to actually fly the thing myself. In the end, this is what happened, with my instructor only taking control 5 or 6 metres before landing (and he said he almost let me do that too). I've always had a secret wish to get a pilot's licence but as I doubt I ever will, perhaps this is the nearest I will come. I flew at the gliding centre near Loch Leven on a summer evening after work last year. It was touch and go as to whether it would go ahead as the weather wasn't great (spots of rain were falling, and any more would have meant it would have been cancelled) but in the end we got the all clear and a tow plane took us up to 2000ft and, on command, I pulled the lever to release us from the tow rope. I'd like to say I could remember the sensation of silently gliding through the air, but in all honesty, I was concentrating hard on making the aircraft move gently and smoothly in it's turns, nudging the plane to the left, levelling and so on, and was getting a feel for the rudder and the pedals for most of the 25 minute flight. It wasn't silent either - sure there was no engine roar, but the sound of the wind rushing by was noisier than I'd expected. It was a fantastic experience though, and I'm glad I flew the plane myself. I'd love to do it again, and hopefully take some more photographs. Despite my camera being strapped to my wrist, I only managed to take a picture in the cockpit before take off, and one of the glider before I'd even got in! Great fun, and thoroughly recommended.

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