“LIFT” – McMinn County Airport Pan American Gliding Championship

“LIFT” – McMinn County Airport Pan American Gliding Championship

this is actually the first ever
pan-american gliding championship in the morning here we’ll have a
a time that’s called that we call grid time and that the time at
which all the gliders would have to be pushed out onto the runway
prior to that they’ll stage they line them up on the side to the runway
and then at grid time they all push out they’re two abreast
then typically it depends on the day 10 to 15 minutes
later we’ll start launching the fleet. The goal is to have
everybody in both classes in the air within one hour
so as a tow pilot that gets kind of fun trying to beat your time
at contests you learn a lot. certainly when you fly contests
and I’ve flown regionally. I’ve flown Canadian national contests.
and helped. You can learn probably two years worth of soaring at a regional contest
five years in cross-country if you compete at a level like this
contests make you a much better pilot. and that’s why we’re here and
gliding is social you help your friends there’s so much camaraderie and friendship
and you get to these races and it’s so exciting to see
everybody you know cause there’s very few people in
the world that understand it.
that understand that attraction and how much fun it is
and then you know when I close the cockpit close the canopy get ready to race then
they’re my rivals you know so it’s kind of fun
one of the things in this competition that is different from like the US Nationals
and many nationals from different countries is that
in the international competitions pilots are allowed to team fly they are allowed to
cooperate with each other so there are many
pairs of pilots that are flying together talking to each other
finding, combining their their knowledge and their skills to
find a faster path through the sky we have a team captain that is
responsible for filtering information and sending it to
the director of the contest for things like the time the pilots start
and that allows them in case a pilot doesn’t return have an idea of
where they will be on track. We watch the sky because the
fly initially South then up past us and then over and back
tell them what the sky looks like. today you saw 26
gliders be launched in in a short period of time
and for the first 20 or 30 minutes they were
all within a few miles at the airfield so you have a lot of gliders circling
just like buzzards all together in a thermal
and potential for mid-air collision is increased and that’s why
in glider races they they do require parachutes
you can see all of our trailers are set up here in the
event that the one of our pilots goes and meets a
farmer and lands which we’re trained to do you can land
glider around 400 feet over a fence a then we bundle up the trailer and go
and pick them up.
I actually got to learn to fly when I was 13
family friend taught me to fly on ultralights and like from that moment
I was just hooked on flying it’s quite a
nice pasttime physical fitness
and the ability to compete you like that to do aerobatics if you like that. To
instruct if you like that. there’s record flying
possibilities it all depends on what you desire is
gliding has something for everybody I love to compete in the gliders its
the when you take that thing that you love
and you make your business out of it I’d like to say that you have to say
part of it is only for you for me I get in that single seat glider
and close the canopy and I get to go race and fly under these beautiful clouds
with the birds and you know, be alone in the sky and that is
just incredible it’s hard to explain the the feeling and
the beauty that you get to see and every day is different that
uncertainty have been out there not knowing how the weather will change
and how you might be able to utilize the
sources the lift it just is everything wonderful about

2 Comments on ““LIFT” – McMinn County Airport Pan American Gliding Championship”

  1. Thanks for posting this fine piece about one of the most obscure sky sports. Plus, it's got some of my good pals in it 😉

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