Flying a glider 3000ft in the air




Birthday Present

I got bought a gliding ticket as a birthday gift. It was something I always wanted to do as I love stuff like that.

You're probably thinking are you crazy getting in a glider with no engine.

Well to be honest I never thought of that at the time I just thought it's a once in a lifetime kind of thing.


Why Do Gliding Though

I have never seen the point in a bungee jump as an example to be honest parachuting yes you see a great view on the way down and flying a glider,helicopter and plane etc  you get to see great views. 

But jumping headfirst on a rope bungee jump over a car park what are you going to see? A stone floor car park is boring, that's just my opinion though.





Arriving At The Airfield

So I arrived at this little airfield basically just a large green field with gliders and farm vehicles etc.

I get there and there are about 5 guys just standing around this truck so they ask my name and say right come sit in the back of our office which turns out to be the back of a large truck.

They say can you fill out this form it is just a basic medical check
with simple questions.
  • Have you had any drugs alcohol in last 24 hours
  • Height and weight
  • Do you suffer from anxiety or vertigo

Then one of  the guys says you have to sign this as well it is just a disclaimer.
I ask what is that for?

Nothing to worry about he says it's just in case you lose an arm or leg or die you get £10000 per arm and £20000 per leg and then a few of them start laughing.

I am standing there thinking that didn't sound too encouraging.






The Pilot

So the pilot comes over an oldish guy, maybe in his 60s
The pilot says his name is Pete and he asks me if I am nervous, not really I said.

He then hands me a parachute and says come over here. I need to explain air safety to you.

So he says right if we have to jump out in the air you need to exit from the left side of the glider and pull down on your parachute that will open it and probably save your life any questions?

You said probably save my life I asked well yes he said nothing is 100% in life is it.

So I am standing there thinking he doesn't sound in too much of a good mood. Is it really wise to get in a glider with him? He just seemed tired.

 I was thinking he better not fall asleep while we are in the air.


Getting in the glider

So I walked over to the glider and the pilot walked me around it telling me just some random
facts its made in Poland and is reliable and has no crashes on record. 

It can go as high as 5000ft I looked at the glider and thought it looked like a toy plane.
 



So I get in the glider Pete the pilot is telling me about the controls
I will take the glider off and when we get in the air and it is stable you can fly it if you feel comfortable.

But I will also have control of the controls for emergencies he tells me.

If you need to exit remember what I said to you that you push that latch up and jump out to your left as I said before and pull the ring on your chute I will jump out first then you 5 secs after me he tells me.




Lift Off

So the glider crew attach this tractor to the front of the glider with a wire that is used to pull the glider down the hill to gain speed. 

The glider crew at the airfield do a final safety check on the airfield for items on the field like bricks or rocks that could damage the wheels on take off. 

Myself and the pilot are sitting in the glider ready to set off. 

All clear they shout to the pilot and put a thumbs up

This tractor starts to drag the glider and we are going down the hill. Speed is picking up the next minute boom. We are in the air and the wire disconnects as you can see in  the video below.



I could feel the wind pushing on the glider as we were going higher like when you're in a plane and you get that bad turbulence the shell of the glider is shaking and rumbling. 

I am thinking to myself I hope this thing don't start falling apart.






2000 ft High

Once we got high about 2000ft it just went smooth no turbulence no shaking just a smooth glide now
the pilot shouts to me can you feel the difference?.

I said yes, what happened? its the air flow he shouts the higher we go the more smooth it will be.






We are gliding and he says right you take the controls. He is sitting behind me and I am sitting in the front so I started to use the controls of the glider. It was just a stick and a few buttons. 

It was good. I liked flying it. 

He said to fly over the crowd below and then ascend to 3000ft so I did brought the glider down low and was gliding for a few minutes
And started to ascend to 3000ft.

The Parachute Don't Work

He shouts to me, are you nervous yet no I said the parachute put me at ease knowing I got that I shouts to him. 

He started laughing, I said what is so funny? 

The parachute doesn't work. He said
I laughed with him thinking he is joking. 




He wasn't joking. He said no honest it wont work we are not high enough
we are 3200ft in the air.

By the time it opens fully it won't slow you down that much so you will break your back and legs if you're lucky.

I said you didn't tell me that on the ground and he started laughing again.

If he would have I probably would not have got in the glider.

I am no expert on parachutes but according to google at least 2000ft is needed for pros and I am no pro. So the fact I have never used a parachute let alone jump out of a glider before would be a big risk and that's if the parachute even opens. (Myself with the parachute below)



The Royal Air Force Pilot

Has anyone jumped out? I shouts to him as I am still trying to glide the glider. By this time now I did feel a little on edge knowing the parachute was not going to work.

The pilot says a guy had to jump out a few weeks ago he went up on his own with the glider he was ex RAF (Royal Air Force) did he survive I asked?.

Yes of course he says his glider would not work so he jumped out and landed in them trees over there he broke both of his legs,pelvis and a few ribs he was in his 70s he is ok now but the funny part is the glider seemed to land on its own with little damage.



Just as he says that another glider flies right past us quite close and the pilot starts shouting swearing at the other glider like he would hear it that high up. 

I said to the pilot what is wrong? He is too close. 

He said he has to stay so far away around 10 metres the wind could blow him into us and we could collide and it's game over for us then.

So I fly the glider and he says right lets land you try land the glider don't worry I have the controls as well he tells me.


Landing

So I fly the glider and he says right lets land you try land over there follow that white line don't worry I have the controls so I can take over if I need to.

I turn the glider around to land on what  looked like a massive green field
with a white line. I kept expecting to crash it nose first in the ground but I managed to land it ok thankfully.


Was it Worth it?

Yes I would recommend doing it  I have to say it was a good experience.  I did not get any photos and my girlfriend did the filming of me up in the air while I was up there.

I am sure I remember them saying you could take a camera up and take photos when the pilot was flying the glider. 


Here is the website if you want to have a look at doing it.

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