|Is Winter Over Yet?|
The Edmonton Soaring Club's Gary Hill prepares for the upcoming gliding season
The Scott Tournament of Hearts is almost done and the Brier is just around the corner. The anticipation is building. Curling is almost over for the season. It is couch time, some of the only couch time that I ever take on a regular basis. It is also a signal, a message that a season is almost over and a new beginning is about to spring upon the land. Curling is my winter pastime, it is a reasonable winter sport, it begins in the winter and ends in the winter. Until we get a little bit more global warming I’m not riding the motorbike to the rink and I’m not coming in from cutting grass to catch the playoffs.
SOARING SEASON is almost here. The only other season we get in Canada. It is time to get out my Soar and Learn to Fly Gliders for my pre-flight read-throughs. Not just a scan of all the hi-lited phrases but a couple of times through from cover to cover. It is time to clear out those Sometimers (Some times I remember and some times I…).
I’ve fired up the flight sim and flown a couple of tows and circuits already, caught a couple of thermals and ran through my check lists. If you don’t use a CALL check in a Sim would you do it in the air?
Last fall I bought a nifty little head piece that changes the view from the Sim cockpit as I turn my head, just to add another slice of realism. It doesn’t show the extra ballast I’ve put on over the winter when I look down in the cockpit but all the controls are there and I can check All Clear Above and Behind (almost). It sure makes it easier to scan the horizon and fly with my head outside the cockpit.
I’m not only anxious to get on the field and into the air; I’m excited to see the other pilots and fielders – people who come out to the field just to see what is going on, maybe take a flight or help out with all the activity that puts the field into a buzz when the sun warms a soaring pilot's heart. I tell everyone “If you have ever wanted to fly, you should give soaring a try”. It is economical and you will meet a great group of people. For a couple of grand per year you can fly your butt off and at our field we have a great camp area for the whole family to enjoy. We need to encourage the general public, friends and family to join us on the field and in the air to help the sport grow because you never know where the next keener is going to come from. This winter I donated a few Gliding Certificates that were snapped up at a STARS fund raiser and some others were awarded to excited contestants during the winter, so I will have to top up my flying account. It is just a win-win for everyone.
This morning some of the winter zombies are meeting at the field to caress our summer maiden. Another swap takes place as we load one ship for a trailer ride to a heated spa for a little rejuvenation and pick up a polished and prepared sweetheart to tuck away in the hanger. Fear not, soon we will feel the warmth of the sun and soar with the birds as we chase the clouds.
What will I learn this year, I need to set some new goals, higher, farther, safer.
I just need to get through the rest of my springtime check list. Start from the beginning when we get interrupted – Curling is ending, reread the training manuals, fly the Sim, top up the flying account, check the equipment, get some more new enthusiasts, prepare the RV, plan this year's goals…..
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