If you have never experienced the thrill of unpowered flight, it is definitely something to put on your bucket list.
One of the best gifts I received for my thirtieth birthday was a gift voucher for a glider flight — something I had always wanted to do.
For those who are unaware, the process of gliding involves being towed up to 1500 feet by a powered aircraft — and then being released.
I arrived at the aerodrome early in the morning on the scheduled day of my glider flight and I remember being both nervous and excited.
The moment I squeezed into the back seat of the glider, I knew this was the point of no return. As my pilot Gary and I climbed higher and higher, being towed by a single-engine Cessna, I was struck by the fact that the ride was bumpier than any flight I had been on. The glider felt incredibly volatile, even under power.
The moment I squeezed into the back seat of the glider, I knew this was the point of no return.
Just as I was wondering if this gift really was such a great idea after all, there was a loud clicking sound followed by silence. The tow-rope had been released and we were gliding.
As I watched our tow plane bank off to the left, the thought suddenly dawned on me — Gary and I were airborne, with no engine and no plan B. The sensation was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. Apart from the gushing of wind as it passed the air vent near my right ear, there was no sound or vibration at all. It was exhilarating.
The gliding ...