My First Soaring Flight !
This is a short video w/ audio that my son, Miller Wilder, made of my first soaring experience using his Toshiba PDR-M500 still digital camera (see note below). He had received an invitation to come check out the Memphis Soaring Society's Glider Port at Cherry Valley, Arkansas and they were kind enough to let me have a demo flight in one of their sailplanes. It was a beautiful day and the glider was towed by a motored plane to 3000 ft. and released. We managed to stay aloft about 30 min. even tho my pilot said it wasn't the best day for catching thermals to give us altitude. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. One interesting side note: my delightful club member pilot was a Mr. Lawrence of Jackson, TN whom I had never met before. He is retired from an engineering firm he owned that contracted to build large commercial buildings. As it turned out I did his HVAC control system drawings for 4 years when I was in college and worked part time. We had never met. I worked for the distributor of the Barber-Coleman HVAC controls that were used in his projects, G.H. Avery Co. (owned by Gill Avery, also a pilot)--small world.
Here are some still photos with a video link below.
The Memphis Soaring Society Glider Port is out amongst very flat Arkansas rice faming land about an hour and ½ from Memphis. The club members come from all over the Mid-South, I learned.
The Soaring Club has 100 acres and a long straight driveway in off Hwy 64. The new clubhouse is really nice with a lounge, showers, and a kitchen, etc.
The Glider Port has this Dedication Plaque. The club has one big permanent hanger and a bunch of portable shelters for gliders in glider trailers that are shown in the background of the photo below left. Two privately owned hangers are on the field also.
A two seater Lark metal sailplane made in Czech or a country close to it. The yellow plane is a metal SGS 1-26 made in the US in New York state.
Sailplanes have very long wingspans and the one on the right has a built in emergency parachute. All gliders have removable wings for towing or storage. The large cabin trainer I got to fly in is USA made, but the most streamline and advanced sailplanes generally come from Poland and Germany I am told.
The owner KD with the parachute was working w/ tape to cover some cables for a bit better aerodynamics for noise suppression.
Right before take-off and the tow to 3000 ft. which was the cloud ceiling that day.
After release, the effect of soaring is like being in an Imax movie-----huge panorama view and with no motor noise, it is wonderfully peaceful and smooth. Take a ride in a sailplane if you ever get the chance or join a local club and learn to pilot one yourself.
This short video is pieced from 4 shorter chunks of footage Miller shot with a digital still camera, a Toshiba PDR-M500. It is highly compressed to keep the file size small and sound is a bit scratchy. People on the ground were moving grass nearby, so the motor noise is from that, not the glider. I hope you have a high speed connection.
Click here to see me fly ! (wmv format, 5 MB)
The Camera: Toshiba PDR-M500
This is a most awesome digital camera with 10X optical zoom, and as you can see, movie capable with audio. I have bought 4 of this same model all together, one for me, two for family members and one for a graduation present--I paid between $200 and $132 for Toshiba factory rebuilts, mostly from UBid.com, one from eBay! and a new one from Costco. The camera originally sold for around $400. Grab one if you can. Don't just take my word for it, read the online reviews. See it's powerful zoom & some great close-ups here. The model PDR-M700 is the same camera with more mega-pixels. I saw 3 M700's for sale on ebay today. Some days yes, some no, you just have to be on the look out for one. I have had about 4 digital cameras and this is by far the most well designed one I've had experience with. If you have never registered with UBid.com or eBay! before, do me a favor and use these links--and I'll get a little pocket change from them--