Go Gliding

It was an absolutely amazing experience. Something that I would love to do again. It changed my life completely. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It was awesome, it really was. The experience of a lifetime; beautiful. Take up slack All out All out, all out We got winched out so there was a short period of quite intense acceleration but really enjoyable and then all of a sudden, you’re up in the air. And all I could think of, was music from Top Gun. Yeah, it really was my Maverick moment. As soon as you get up there it’s really exhilarating and the view is amazing. There’s no better place that you could be in the world. It’s just amazing. Completely at peace and it’s complete escapism as well. It’s like sailing a boat, but in air. The sensation is stunning. You’re just flying up with the birds aren’t you. Once I finally let go of that cable and I was flying free on my own I was nearly in tears. It was just so good. You get to take over the controls, which is really exciting. It’s very, very sensitive, and very easy to manoeuvre. It’s the excitement and the adrenaline rush you get from it it’s quite a buzz. Somebody bought me a voucher as a birthday present so I came along and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that I was flying without an engine. Took the controls and actually started flying. I was thinking, I’m flying it already and I’ve only just started. We stayed up for half an hour and I didn’t stop beaming. My smile was just printed on my face. It was the realisation that I can actually do this sport and be in a wheelchair and not be confined to the ground. That was just some kind of elation. I had one trial lesson, one flight, and I was hooked. I signed up there and then to learn to fly. All our instruction is free. It’s unlike any other kind of flying in Britain. Get trained, get to solo, and then the world’s your oyster. You can fly on your own, above this wonderful country of ours. There’s an enormous amount of energy in the atmosphere that people don’t really understand. The fact that a glider, weighing half a metric tonne can climb at four or five hundred feet per minute and then fly 300 km on a sunny day. It’s is beyond belief to most people that that’s possible. One of the most exciting moments I’ve had is being in a thermal with a couple of buzzards. And it’s magical when you get into that situation. It’s really just the beauty of the sky, the beauty of the landscape that draws me to the sport. And also the sense of accomplishment I feel after each flight just go a bit higher, a bit longer and a bit further. I like the challenge of just being up there and trying to pit my wits against the elements. It’s a bit like trying to play chess in the sky really. *LAUGHS* People say it must be very expensive, but actually it isn’t and the reason it isn’t expensive is because we are all volunteers. If you don’t want to do something you don’t have to but because it’s voluntary everyone always pitches in. It’s a really great atmosphere. Even if you’re not flying, it doesn’t matter because you’re on the ground all helping each other out, having a lovely time. I very, very much wish that I had tried it when I was a teenager and I think I would have been hooked then and I would have been flying all my life. Absolutely amazing, absolutely amazing. I’d thoroughly recommend. Try it. It’s good fun. You’ll definitely come again. I’d go everyday if I could. Come and try. It’s fantastic. Today I’m lucky enough to say I fly a Boeing 777 for a living and on my days off I still come and fly these gliders because this is where the pure enjoyment of it is.

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