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Gone Soaring - Enjoy A Flight Today!



Cypress Soaring




In the early 1990s, though I already held the private power pilot single engine land rating as stated in Gone Flying and Gone Flying Two, I took a couple soaring lessons. The thought of an aircraft staying aloft without an engine...wow, how exciting, fascinating, and amazing! Due to time, money, and other demands at the time I did not focus on it long enough to really understand the principles of glider flight. Reflecting back on those years, I began to search for new ways to stay excited about flying while further developing my stick and rudder skills. I was concerned that boring holes in the sky flying the Cessna 152 II and other light aircraft was not enough to enhance my skills, and keep me challenged. I felt the extra instruction and glider pilot transition add-on rating would give me the additional confidence I wanted to keep current in aviation.


I was right! Soaring was much more than I expected. As the adage goes, "It truly is license to learn." I learned the difference between gliding and soaring, and many other aspects of flight that I did not learn when learning to fly power. Simply put, gliders cannot gain altitude while soaring aircraft can. So then you ask, "why is it called a glider rating, not a soaring rating?" According to the Soaring Society of America, "the terms gliding and soaring are used interchangeably." Click here to learn more about soaring! After completing an intensive training program, I was certified, having completed all requirements and endorsements required for the glider instructor, advance ground instructor, glider commercial, glider pilot transition add-on ratings. Flight instruction, and flying higher performance gliders and embarking on cross country soaring adventures are a in-progress.

Soaring is an eye opening and enjoyable experience. It is an academic challenge both on the ground and in the air. I recommend it to anyone interested in flying. Before I started, I thought within a few hours of instruction, I'd be on my way to a new rating. To my surprise and to no avail, I learned there is quite a bit more than meets the eye, with much new information to be learned. The Schweizer SGS 2-33, though a trainer and simple in design and instrumentation, requires a great deal of skill and precision to fly. Remember, flying behind the tow is formation flying, and a forced landing is imminent as there are no go arounds or second chances. 

It is literally a cognitive sport, requiring knowledge, skills, abilities, and certainly good decision making and judgment before, during, and until the end of each flight. Developing coordinated flight, using stick and rudder, flying behind the tow, and searching for thermal, wave, shear, or ridge lift, at minimum controllable airspeed just above stall are some of the many demands (SEE THE PICTURES BELOW). At first, learning how to stay behind the tow seems overwhelming, and don't get me wrong, it still is as flying is a life-long learning activity. When it gets turbulent or when in prop wash, keeping behind the tow and on the horizon takes concentration. Then once released from tow gravity wants to take over acting on and against the aircraft in flight. Now it is up to you and the soaring conditions to stay aloft or land. Thereby, you better be prepared for that first forced landing.

After several emergency landings, released from tow about 200' AGL, just after take off, I earned the confidence I needed for solo. Learning the procedures, timing, and techniques to land in the opposite direction of the runway I just departed, proved that many things are possible. Power pilots talk about emergency and off field landings often should the situation arise, but seldom is it something practiced. These new skills and the additional ground school are insightful. The new knowledge base are an expansion of what was learned when I obtained the private pilot. Elements of thermal indexing, weight and balance, glider polars, best glide, speed to fly, lift over drag and L/D max, boxing the wake, weather, and other broadened my understanding. Just never enough to learn! I am once again humbled!
I received my ratings at Sailplane Enterprises, Hemet, CA. Click here for a .wav video created by Sailplane Enterprises. This video depicts what it feels like to fly a glider, without an engine, in almost silent conditions, no radio, and no headset...freedom!

Below are a few pictures just prior to and after receiving my new ratings. See also the following links that I often visit: AOPA Online, Soaring Myths by Knauff and Grove, Performance Airspeeds for the Soaring Challenged, AOPA Flight Training, Sporty's Flight Instructor Store, Dr. Jack's Blip, Cypress Soaring, Krey Field Flyers, Lake Elsinore Soaring Club, Condor Soaring, Soaring Society of America, Soaring Safety Foundation, FAA Safety Team - Wings Program, Luiz Monteiro Aviation Education, Arizona Soaring - Estrella Glider Port, Southern California Soaring Academy (formally Great Western Soaring), Southern California Soaring, Antelope Valley Soaring Club, Soar Minden, Bob Wander's Soaring Books and Supplies, Sailplane Directory, Club Fournier America, NOAA's National Aviation Weather Service, NOAA's SB County Winds Aloft Forcast, NOAA's Soaring Forcast, XC Skies Soaring Forecast, WeatherMeister.Com, Super Awos, WebExams.Com for FAA Knowledge Exams, MyWrittenExam.Com, My PilotTests.Com, AOPA Flight Training, Aviation Pilot, FAA Become a Pilot, FAA Pilot Search Schools, FAA Online Ground School, Landings.Com, AOPA CFI Toolkit, Learn To Fly Kit, and CSUSB Weather for San Bernardino Winds, Wings and Wheels Soaring Supplies, SkyVector.Com, SuperAwos, AirNav.Com, Live ATC Net, Darren Smith, CFII/MEI, MyPilotStore.com, Airplane Ground Schools, Gone Flying, Gone Flying Two, Gone Cross Country Soaring, Gone Aerobatic, Gone Ballooning, Click for Redlands, California Forecast Redlands Weather Underground, and or other great soaring information.

Some pictures taken by friends, Earl and Arnold. Thanks!


Prior to Take-off in the Schweizer SGS 2-33.



Cockpit View of the SGS 2-33...Simple, Right!

Cockpit View Prior to Take-off.

Take-off Behind the Piper Pawnee.

Just After Lift-off and Climbing.

Giving a Ride, Climb Out, Looking for Traffic.

Climbing Out!

Aerial View of Hemet Airport at About 5000.'

Emergency Landing After Departure
on the Opposite Runway.

On Final, Slipping with No Dive Brakes.

Just Before Touch Down.

Touch Down.

Sailplane Enterprises' Trusty SGS 2-33
Waiting for Her Next Flight.

After Tiedown and Heading Back To
Sailplane Enterpises for a Critique.
Click Here for Sailplane Enterpises.


Giving a Commercial Glider Ride
To Friend Jim Phillips.

Though a Seasoned Pilot, Jim Saddles Up
For His First Glider Ride.

CBSIFTCBEW! Jim and I On The Go!

Climbing and Turning, What a View!

From The Front Seat...I Like
This Sight Picture!

Can It Get Better Than This?

About 3000' Just Northwest of Hemet's IP,
 Looking For Traffic.

Another Great View.

The PZL Krosno KR-030A Puchateck
is Fun to Fly.
Photo Taken From Cypress Soaring.

Click Here for Cypress Soaring

More Krosno.

The Flight Line, Waiting for Tow, Hemet

Looking Down the Flight Line, Hemet.

Cockpit View of the Krosno.

More Krosno.

Check Ride For Solo
in the PZL
Krosno KR-030A Puchateck
With Gary Timbs.

On The Go! We Are Rolling Now!

After Landing, Quite A Day!

The PW-6U. Photo Taken From Cypress Soaring.
Click Here for Cypress Soaring

More PW-6U.


The PW-6U Cockpit.

Opening Hanger for PW-6U Flight.

More PW-6U Cockpit View.

PW-6U Online Prior to Strapping in for
Familiarization Flight and Take Off!

Cockpit View. Next in Line, Waiting for Tow!

PW-6U Cockpit View Prior to Boarding.

Cockpit View of the PW-6U.

PW-6U Disassembled and Stowing in its Trailer.

The A-2 LET L-33 Solo, Very Fun to Fly

Cockpit View of the L-33, Before Strapping In.

L-33, Photo Taken From Cypress Soaring.
Click Here for Cypress Soaring.

Great Western Soaring Flight Line.
Click Here for Great Weastern Soaring

The DG-505 Elan Orion at Great Western.

More DG-505 Elan Orion, Cockpit View.

DG-505 Elan Orion, Cockpit View Prior To
Familiarization Flight and Take-Off.

More DG-505 Elan Orion, Crystal Airport.

Piper Pawnee Getting Ready for Tow.

The DG-505 at 10,000.'

Running the Ridge and Climbing.

Altimeter Reading Above 10,000' and Climbing.

A Peek Out the Window and Pop-Out Scoop.

Working the Ridge, Crystal Airport.

Orbiting Above the Ridge and Gaining Altitude.

Krey Field, SGS 1-26 Getting Ready
For Take-Off.

Cockpit View in the SGS 1-26.

Another View of the SGS 1-26 Cockpit.

Climbing to 10,000' at Krey Field.

10,000' and Looking Down at Earth.

Krey Field at 10,000'.

Soaring Minden - Tahoe, Nevada.

Getting Ready For Take-Off, Minden - Tahoe.

Waiting for Tow in the Grob 103
at Minden - Tahoe

Hooking-Up the Tow Rope, Minden - Tahoe.

Orbiting Above the Airport, Minden - Tahoe.

Climbing Above the Airport.

At 7500' and Making Way.

Still Climbing at Minden,
Minden - Tahoe.


Nearing 10,000' and Climbing at 600' FPM.

What a View!

Working It at Minden.

Oxygen Ready, Minden - Tahoe.

On Oxygen at Minden - Tahoe.

Flying Back to Minden - Tahoe.

After Landing and Parked, Minden - Tahoe.

Another Day at Hemet.

Discussing the Day on The Flight Line.

Giving Rich Super a Ride, Krosno on Tow.

Rich Taking a Photo From the Front Seat.

Rich, a Happy Customer Takes a Solo Photo.
I am Back There Somewhere.

Inbound to Hemet in the C-152 II Powerhouse
to Give Arnold Beler a Glider Ride.

Krosno Preflight Inspection.

Friend, Arnold Beler Getting Ready for
 a Glider Ride. Thanks for the Pics Arnie.

On the Go, Krosno! Arnie is Fired-Up!

Climbing Out!

Cleared 200' and Climbing!

Still on Tow!

Looking for Traffic, Releasing From Tow!
We are Rolling Arnie!

Clear Right!

Working It!

Climbing at 2 Knots.

Thermaling and Climbing.
Another Happy Customer!

Setting Up for Landing, TOWARD!
On Downwind, Turning Base, Hemet!

Base to Final, Hemet!

Just Prior to Touchdown on the Numbers, Hemet!