October 3, 2009

Bumped into an old flame the other day..

..well a former passion has been ignited you might say. When I left the USAF in the 70s (yeah, those 70s, with Nixon, Ford, Carter, disco, the misery index, and stuff), I wanted to take up soaring. So, in SoCal I headed out to Hemet, California and managed to literally get within one session of soloing before familial responsibilities intervened. This persisted through two families and one-point-five generations (the latest having left the household for the loving and tender care of the USMC). In 2005 and 2006, I resumed this dream but rust, disuse again led me to virtually start from the beginning. I was yet again virtually on the verge of soloing when the rains hit and some pretty nasty events rent the Lake Perris Soaring Club (of which I was a member) asunder. So, foiled again!


However, third time's a charm and I will come into some free time and money in the near future. I do not intend to squander this opportunity to mingle with the clouds, I assure you.

For those who know aught of this sport, it is truly a beautiful manifestation of man's attempt to claw his way to the heavans. It is done, for the most part, without power and at the good graces of the updrafts ("thermals") and wind waves that God sprinkles in our atmosphere. Pilots who master this are said to be more skillful than those who strap themselves into powered flight machines and allow a noisy, smell motor drag (or push) their vehicle around the sky.

Here is a You Tube video that briefly captures that spirit. enjoy!

As I more and more resume this passion, I will share pictures, videos, and reminiscences with you.

Maybe inspire you to take a ride?

what the bloody hell, here's another:


  1. That looks really thrilling. Yikes!

  2. It is actually the most fun flying one can do. You are constantly thinking ahead and calculating your altitude, where thermals or ridge, or wave lift may be found and -- most sobering of all -- what fields or roads or vacant patches of ground are available where you can "land out".

    But not to make it sound too scary. There are some places -- Lake Elsinore, for example -- where an experienced pilot can hook up is glider to a tow plane, get hauled up to 4,000 feet, release, and find enough lift to fly virtually all day; well north of Lake Elsinore to well South (almost to the Mexican border).

    Except for the 15 minute tow, not a drop of gas is expended.

    That's the truly amazing part!