Soaring. The ability to fly without an engine. Growing up I read how many WWII pilots learned in gliders before powered aircraft and how much better of a pilot they were because of it. I always wanted to learn, but the opportunity never really presented itself, so instead I received my private pilot’s license.
I have had the good fortune of joining a sport aviation club – Eagle Sport and they have gliders in their fleet. Since I already have a Private Pilot powered aircraft rating, the FAA allows for streamlined training requirements: 10 dual flights and 10 solo flights. While the club has the sleek ASK 21 (pictured in tow) I have decided to start with the Schweizer 2-33 which is designed to be an introductory trainer.
I had read up all I could and watched some amazing YouTube videos but like most things flying, you won’t know until you get into the cockpit.
My first flight was at 11AM and it was amazing. The sounds and feelings of being pulled aloft by a tow plane, staying in formation, and then that LOUD release when the tow rope is disengaged – incredible. And as new as that was, it was nothing compared to feeling of soaring. We flew around at 40 mph and performed most maneuvers at 60 mph. What was most interesting was stalls – all the sound just stops. You know immediately when it happens and it is surreal. As soon as you return to flight the sound of the wind resumes.
We were able to get in 6 flights yesterday, and I can tell you without a doubt I am hooked on soaring. It is flying in its purest form, and I can’t wait to get back into the air!