Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Glider Flying

I sold my radio controlled helicopter. I was able to fly it reasonably well but new very early on in the process of learning to fly it that I would never become a highly skilled RC heli pilot. Why? Maybe my age, slowing reflexes and other things combined with the fact that, while fun, it was contrary to my personality. Too much effort to stay in the air. I mean, just the concept of helicopters. I am a glider pilot and love the harmony of a non powered plane using the thermals and air currents to stay aloft. The maintenance was very high as well. I wanted to fly not work on the thing all the time. So, I sold it and recycled the money into a hand launched radio controlled glider.

I came from a background of building model airplanes from childhood so I was used to the construction aspect of the hobby. I was not used to the modern techniques of cyanoacrylate glues, carbon fiber spars and components, foam wing cores and all of that. Thanks to the Scobie Pulchter's Liftworx Swyft's incredibly detailed instruction manual all went reasonably well.

In addition to learning new construction techniques I had to learn a new launching technique. DLG, discus launched gliders, and HLG, hand launched gliders, are not your father's hand launched gliders. Or in my case, not the model gliders I was used to as a younger man. These high tech marvels require an Olympic style launch and achieve remarkable heights just from a human powered toss. My little Swyft often reaches a hundred feet of altitude just from a sling into the air. Amazing, and great fun.

Here is a little video that my friend Rick made of one of my launches and a short flight. I edited it and added a bit of music for drama. Could not resist. Here are two versions. One of them should work for you: