Sky Sailing, Warner Springs Gliderport, California – January 15, 2024

I drove past this gliderport in May 2022 when I took my Outback off road. At that time, it was late in the day and I told myself I’d come back to take a ride. It took me longer to get back here than I expected. I had thought to take a ride over Christmas week 2023, but it was rainy most of that week.

I signed up for a 10 am flight. I met my pilot Zak and we checked out the glider and moved it out to the runway. They actually make you work for the ride! Next task was to try and get into the cockpit. There isn’t much of a handhold and only a peg to stand on the swing into the cockpit. Well that wasn’t going to happen. Zak went to get a small step ladder, while he held the nose down, I tried to wedge myself into place. I didn’t really get seated properly and you can see that my knees are on instrument panel.

I had booked the longest flight they offered and I wanted to head towards Palomar mountain which is a longer and higher tow than the other option to fly along the ridge and see the Anza Borrego dessert. You can see the path we flew and the elevations in the screenshots of the Gaia app that I had recording our flight. You can also see some of the path from my off road drive and there are several images of Palomar trail from in the air.

You are actually allowed to pilot and even land the glider once you are in the air. My main intention was to take pictures and just enjoy the ride. Because of how I was sitting in the glider I couldn’t really work the controls. I thought we would fly a larger area than we did, so it did get a little boring on the long flight, plus shooting wasn’t all the clear. Next time, I’ll try the ridge pattern and also try the sleeker more modern sailplane and hopefully be able to actually fly it. They actually have an acrobatic flight, I’m not sure I’d be up for that.

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