Flying High June 28th, 2013
It is my task to prepare our daily blog and this often means that I have to base it on events that I have been involved in. Yesterday I found myself in Oxfordshire where I was booked in for a couple of gliding flights, a gift from my daughters to celebrate my 70th birthday earlier this year. I have had some limited flying experience in the past and did a few hours of solo flying until an eye problem stopped me and has been with me ever since. So yesterday was my first flight in a private aircraft for a few years.
Putting on parachute is not the thing that gives you the most confident feeling, but it is essential in any case from a practical point of view because it acts as part of the seat. As I used to drive a Caterham 7car I was familiar with the full harness and so I was soon strapped in and ready to go. My instructor, who had served in the RAF explained that we would go form 0-60mph in 2 seconds. He was right! It didn’t take very long at all before we were released at 1000ft and free as a bird.
I looked above is at the cloud formation and wondered what kind of range I could achieve with a 2m handheld radio. Oxfordshire countryside is quite flat and this is no more apparent than when you have a 360 degree view of the landscape. We quickly found ourselves at 700ft but found a thermal and spent the next 10 mins in a tight circle centered over a thermal we found and topped out at 2000ft. My flying skills were rusty but I coped OK once I sussed out that the rudder needed a bit more movement than in a powered aircraft.
Well the flight lasted for around 30 mins before we ran out of lift. During that time it occurred to me that a glider could en a perfect platform for VHF operation. The noise level is so low that you don’t need a headset and there is no engine or electrical equipment to cause any interference. I have no idea whether this has ever been tried before, but it is an interesting concept.