Doing a Glider flight was a suggestion for my list by one of my followers on Twitter. Part of the fun of my list has been researching where to do the activities. After a google search found that the nearest place to do this was at Walney near Barrow in Furness. Or so I thought….
When I was attending a trade show at the Daffodil hotel in Grasmere, I met Ian from Eden soaring. Got chatting and he was based just outside Penrith. A much prettier flight path than Walney.
So it was booked, a gorgeous summers day, plenty of wind, Perfect.
So once we arrived, we met Mark our pilot. He went through the health and safety aspects and then parachute on and into the glider. Having never worn a parachute before, I thought I had better ask how to use it, you know just in case!! It was very snug in the glider, a pre flight check of the controls and we were ready to take off.
There are a variety of ways to get the glider off the ground, here you are winched off the ground, when you have reached a certain height the winch is released. So signal to go, Mark said if you want to squeal you are allowed. I did squeal as when you set off, it’s 0-60 in 3 seconds. Absolutely brilliant. I think Penrith probably heard me!! Soon we were soaring over the Eden valley. A clear day meant we had views for miles. When gliding, you are constantly looking for thermals, catching them so it will lift you and keep you gliding. When you throw a paper aeroplane, it always ends up on the floor, doesn’t it? So how does a glider stay up? Well, much like the paper aeroplane, a glider is always coming down through the air it is flying through (laws of physics being what they are!). So to stay up, gliders need to find air that is going up at least as fast as the glider is descending. Here we can learn from the birds…
On a summer’s day, you can see birds circle upwards without flapping their wings. They are “thermalling”. A thermal is a volume of air that has been heated by the sun more than the surrounding air – imagine if you were standing on some sunlit concrete, you would feel warm! As you know, hot air rises, and it is circling within this air that allows birds – and gliders – to go upwards. Next you may ask “so how do you know where the thermals are?”. Well, sometimes this is educated guess work, based on how you imagine ground features below you are warming up. However, often cumulus (cotton-wool type) clouds form at the top of the thermal, marking where the thermals are. Luckily Mark had over 50 years of experience.
When you book a glider flight, you get a 20 minute flight or 2 x 10 minute ones if the thermals are not very good. I had two as this happened to me. Second time there was not as much squealing!! Dave was lucky when he had his flight as managed to stay up for the whole 20 minutes.
When we landed my face hurt from smiling so much. Amazing experience, a bargain at £65.00. With this you get a months membership and can go back and fly as many times as you like and only costs approximately £20 per flight.
Eden soaring is run by a group of very enthusiastic members, who have years of experience and are completely passionate about gliding.
If you fancy it, check out their website http://www.edensoaring.co.uk