Glider Ride
(AirBike Ace rides the wind)
While flying home from the second EAA event of the day on October 15th,  decided to land at the Wichita Glider Port to do a little hangar flying.  I hadn't yet filled my fun quota for that day's flying.

Entering the hangar it was soon apparent that help was needed to get three gliders outside and in position for their tows.  One thing led to another and soon I was a groundcrewman helping launch two gliders and was in the process of helping with the third when the pilot asked me a question.

"Would you like to go for a ride?"  Quicker than a magneto fires a plug I was buckling on a parachute!
It didn't take long to get seated, buckled up, close the canopy and signal the starter to have the Cessna 182 tow plane get into position.

That's pilot Ken in the front seat and yours truly, Paul Fiebich  behind him.
Soon after the tow rope became taut, we were bouncing and ratteling down the sod runway on the glider's main wheel.

Within a few minutes Ken told me to pull the tow rope release knob which separated us from the tow plane.  Wang!  The steel link in the tow rope "flew" out of its nose hook and we were riding the wind!
For 35 minutes Ken skillfully maneuvered the glider in and out of thermals keeping us at 3000'  AGL.

There wasn't enough thermal activity for us to climb and the rising air columns were small.  This however, did provide the opportunity for many steep turns!
Looking over his shoulder, Ken asked the question I had been hoping he would.  "Do you want to fly"?  Think magneto!  Instantly my feet were on the rudder pedals and my thumb and forefinger were guiding the control stick.

Following Ken's commands I turned left, right, and full circle to stay within the thermals.  He then had me follow a road and try to fly straight.  That was harder than turning, the glider acted like it was on a gimbal!   I constantly overcontrolled the plane.

Well, at least I didn't run into anything!
Instruments included airspeed, altimiter, variometer (a very sensitive altimiter) and a compass.
The view down the glider's 30' wing is breathtaking.  That's Andover, KS in the left photo and a rural area on the right.  The wind rushing past the plane is the only noise, it is so pleasant you can talk to the pilot without an intercom or the need to yell!  Beautiful!!
After landing I helped position the glider for the next tow then hopped in my AirBike for the 20 mile trip to Derby, KS. 

Entering final to Hamilton Field, the sun was low, cool air blew up my pantlegs, shadows were long and everying was peaceful.  I had filled my quota for fun flying to overflowing!
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Man, I love this flying stuff!!