Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My First Glider Flight

Moin Moin! I didn’t have time to write in my blog. This post will be about my first glider flght on 15th of August 2009. (Didn't published this one until this day... ups!)

One Saturday I decided to go to Boberg Segelflugplatz, that’s south of Mummelmannsberg (Southeast from Hamburg). Not very far from where I live. I only take my bike and change in one or two stations and when arriving at Mummelmannsberg I ride with my bike to Boberg. When I got to the airfield, there was good activity around. I asked someone where I could make a flight in a glider and I went to a van, where all the members where sitting and chatting.

The place where that van is, is the Start-position and one calls the “catapult” to launch the glider with the cable so that it can fly. I asked someone again if I could make a flight and yes, I could fly that day. I explained that I was already a pilot and I wanted to make the PPL-C, the german glider licence. He told me that I could make a “Schnupperkurs”. It consists of 10 takeoffs (flights) to see if you like gliding. Of course I will like it! I joined the club the next day as a normal member.

When it was my turn to fly, I put the parachute on and I got into the back seat. That glider, the ASK-13 (german glider), is for two: one in the front and one in the back. I strapped myself, but it was uncomfortable inside. I have long legs and the position wasn’t very comfortable for me, but heck! I flew ^^. We closed the “window”, it’s the hatch-window and the pilot explained me some things. We made the pre-takeoff checks and we were ready to go! The takeoff is very cool. The cable pulls the glider very fast and you’re in the air in less than 4 seconds. The climb is spectacular... right after you takeoff, the glider climbs at about 1200 feet per minute or 6 meters per second. Reaching an altitude where the “catapult” can not get you higher, the cable is released automatically (When the cable reaches more than 57°). We glide at about 80 to 90 km/h and the key to remain in the air for a long time is to find thermals. Thermals are the “air-bubbles” of hot air. The sun heats the surface and because the hot air is less dense than cold air, it rises. As this hot air reaches a level of comparatively cool air, where the moisture in the air condenses, cumulus clouds form. They are the puffy ones. When we find a thermal (tipically below a puffy cloud), the variometer indicates a climb and we begin to make A LOT of turns to climb. When turning the glider, you must use more rudder than an engine-powered airplane. I controlled the glider for some time and made some turns. It’s a lot of fun!

It was time to land and we flew parallel to the runway and the pilot took the controls. The landing is very cool I must say. The sound of the air hitting the speedbrake is awesome and you start descending to the grass runway. The landing is very simple and so I finished my first glider flight. No words, it was amazing! I’ve flown all my life in different kinds of powered airplanes, but gliding is so cool! I got out of the glider with a BIG smile and then asked how could I join the club.

The club name is Hamburger Verein für Luftfahrt. HVL in short. You can find more info on

I wrote most of this part when I was on the train to Münster. I visited my granduncles there. More gliding adventures and pics next! Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that looks like fun! I wonder how it feels to be catapulted into the air. I remember watching it on a show called “Ancient Aliens” where archeologists found a Egyptian image of a plane in a boy’s tomb. They made a life size replica of it, installed a motor, and catapulted it into the air. It flew for a while, but it's tail was missing something. Later, they found out that it had broken off and when they added it and tried again, it flew. Who knew that ancient Egyptians could make planes?

    Cash Carroll