We had another of those amazing days today. Tuesday, when we were bumming around, we saw a sign for “Windy City Soaring.” Dear Husband was immediately interested, and we looked them up on-line. This is an association which gives rides in gliders, the planes that have no propellers or motors.
We headed out to the farmland west of Chicago for the headquarters of the group, and asked if it would be possible for the two of us to have a ride. Gliders come in one seat or two seat versions. Since neither of us is a pilot, we would need to go up with an experienced flier. Both the front and back seat are equipped with the controls needed to fly the plane. The pilot explained what we were seeing and then told us not to worry, we wouldn’t do any of the flying.
Dear Husband went up first, not because I was afraid, but because I wanted to see how it was done before I tried it. It was about 10:00 in the morning. The tow-plane started up, and moved into position so that the tow line was straight and taut between the planes and then they were off. Toward the edge of the field there was a fountain of leaves in the air as the tow-plane lifted into the air, and then it was just a matter of watching as they circled up into the sky.
It was cloudy this morning, and I lost the glider in the clouds for a few minutes, but could watch for the rest of the flight. They were up for about 25 – 30 minutes, longer than I expected. When they came down, DH was smiling, and had obviously enjoyed the flight. Unfortunately, I had to wait for a bit. Someone had booked the 10:30 appointment. I got to watch them go through the same pre-flight experience and take off.
When the glider came down, it was my turn. I got into the plane, (like stepping into a bathtub) and was secured in the seat with straps much like a baby in a car seat. Once they were satisfied that I was secure and the equipment was working, we took off. It was a little bumpy over the field, but we were up in the air right away.
Dear Husband had been towed to almost 3000 feet in the air. We were towed to roughly 2500 feet. Those clouds that I mentioned had continued to move in, and the pilot was concerned about the lack of visibility, so I had a shorter ride. It was fabulous! There were no thermals to provide lift, so we circled around as we lost height. I enjoyed flying over harvested and un-harvested fields, over farm houses, creeks, roads and train tracks, farmland churches and cemeteries. I’m eager to go again, but it will probably have to wait until next summer. We’ll choose a clear day, so that we can stay up longer.
Our pilot timed it just right. Ten minutes after I landed, and paid our bill, the first rain drops came down, and DH saw lightening to the west. Scot can be my pilot any day!