My friend Alex is mad about flying gliders. It's his passion. So much so, he's recently moved house to a location just down the road from Lasham airfield in Hampshire. I guess it saves him a few diesel bills with his constant to-ing and fro-ing.
He offered to take me up in one of the birds and I was excited to give it a go. The weather on the day wasn't great for soaring. Not many thermals. But video-wise, the bright sunshine made for some pretty views and the perfect way to see the patchwork field countryside of southern England.
I've toyed with the idea of training for a pilot's license many times, starting with either microlights or gliders. But I've come to the conclusion that whilst I'd enjoy the challenge of the training, my short attention span and limited spare time would mean I'd probably not take it much further than certification. I think part of it is flying in the same airspace time and time again. I'd be more passionate about flying cross-country and doing circuits around the country landing at different airports. Maybe one day I'll go for it, money permitting.
Alex served up a perfect intro to the art of gliding. We went out first on a winch pull and took in the views in a smaller craft. But he wasn't happy that he hadn't violated me enough. So we took a bigger glider out on a plane-tow up to 4,000 feet. Then he introduced my to loop-da-loops and tight turns. I kept my Sunday lunch down, but I felt nauseous for 3 hours after we finished.
Overall, an enjoyable experience and well worth a trial flight to see if you like it.