Thursday, 8 January 2009

Glider In The Wind



Gary Amstuts, my business partner in AdventureEscapades.co.za, known for making the odd contribution to this Blog, is also a licensed glider pilot. The glider club he operates from is somewhere in the Drakensberg mountains and sometimes compels him to talk of peace, serenity, spectacular views and gliding the thermals.

I of course know nothing about it, mainly because in spite of alluding to it for the last six months, he hasn’t taken me up yet. To be fair, it’s a long drive out from Durban and essentially means a weekend away, we are both busy people and we both have families to consider and just don’t manage to arrange a time that suits all parties, the day will come, soon I believe.

My only glider experience to date, was not by any means what one would call serene, surreal possibly, definitely not serene though. I was in Plettenberg Bay on a very very windy day and was invited to go up in motorized glider that belonged to a work colleague at the time. My first impression of the glider was that it looked like an oversized model aeroplane with a lawnmower engine attached to it.

The two man cabin was a tight squeeze and we took off on a stretch of grass next the runway at Plett Airport. I stand corrected but I seem to recall that shortly thereafter the aviation authorities put a stop to him using that strip, as the once quiet airport was starting to get much busier. Once we got going, the engine rattled away along with everything else and there was no doubt that we were in for a bumpy ride. There was also no chance of gliding in those conditions and admittedly, just flying in them, made me feel like a maverick.

Once again, we took some pics using our old low spec camera and regrettably couldn’t capture the highlight of the day, which was following a school of Dolphins up the coast. They are a bit blurry, keeping in mind that most were taken through cockpit glass with a propeller spinning in front of them. Although it was nothing near to how I envisage a ride in glider should be, it was an adventure experience that will stay with me, for a long time to come.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Loved seeing all the pictures - I really miss gliding and this brought back great memories.