0-100 kph: 4 seconds. I don’t think I have ever accelerated as fast as I did yesterday, when I was pulled up by a winch to just above 1,000 feet in little more than 30 seconds in a glider. I was breathless and speechless, and my instructor asked from behind me: “Are you ok?” Of course I was; what a rush.
I’m boarding the glider for my first flight ever. You can see the parachute on my back.
Since I was little, my father has talked about gliders. In his young days, he was a glider pilot, and he has always allured me with his many great stories from back then. When I met my good friend Simon Schock about three years ago, we quickly found out that we had a mutual interest in flying. After waiting for more than two years (I just checked my record, Simon sent the first request for being put on a wait list in December 2006), we got accepted to a local Copenhagen gliding club, Flyvestation Værløse Svæveflyveklub.
Yesterday was our first day at the air field (see it on Google Maps), a sunny, blue sky day. We met with our instructor — a super cool guy — slowly getting introduced to many of the basics, among others how to perform a daily check of the aircraft you are going to fly. Already very early in the morning, we had to prepare for the first flight. It suddenly became very real when putting the parachute on, and repeating the instructions for what to do in case of something goes wrong (which is extremely rare, by the way).
- Flight 1: Winch start. 10 minutes flying time. Getting (more) comfortable with flying.
Flying is not only flying; it’s also everything that surrounds it. So after the flight, we spent time learning some basic ground handling procedures, for instance coupling the aircraft to the winch, signalling to the winch operator, etc.
Around lunch we spent time in the simulator as well as getting further theory introduction from our instructor.
Take-off: My instructor behind me with the radio. At the far end tip, you can see a guy signalling ready.
In the early afternoon, we were ready for the second flight. My second flight was amazing. We were towed after a motor plane to 3,000 ft, and then released. We found a lot of thermal activity, and bounced back and forth between 2,000 and about 3,500 ft. I had plenty of opportunity to to practise some of the very basic manoeuvres: Turning, speed control, and flying on course. (I may not have got all the English wordings right; bear with me). We also got the chance to do a little sightseeing as we flew over Frederiksborg Castle — an amazing sight from above.
- Flight 2: Plane tow start. 50 minutes net flying time (net of the towing time). Getting turning and speed control right. Starting to fly on course.
After flight 2, I spent the rest of the day with ground handling and speaking to some of the other guys at the club, while Simon was flying. We ended with cleaning up and a little theory.
It was an amazing day. The guys at the club are great, very welcoming and open, helpful and willing to teach — they were a large part in making this a good experience, and I can’t wait to get up to the air field again. I love it.