Image via Wikipedia
Sail planes and gliders are terms used pretty much interchangeably. However, sail planes use solar power and gliders use no power. It’s pretty amazing when someone can travel up to 1,500 miles at 50,000 feet in the air, see all the landscapes and wildlife, and use no gas or power of any kind.
Getting the planes into the air is the only time when gas and power are used. A tow plane climbs to a certain level, pulling the glider or sail plane behind it on a 200-foot cable, and then lets it go.
Usually, the glider will lift upon release and soar even higher on the air currents. But, at times it’ll release without the lift, in which case the glider would float gently back down to the airport at about 100-300 feet per minute.
Up There the Only Sound is Your Heartbeat
A small airport in Hillsboro, Oregon reports that their gliders and sail planes soar a minimum half an hour, and flights that last half a day aren’t out of the ordinary. Most companies provide classes and the planes to learn in, but just to get a feel for it, pilots will allow a passenger to take over the controls momentarily.
It’s a great family experience to be remembered, but small children under five years old don’t particularly like it; it’s just a seat they’re strapped into for some and others get scared. If older kids are interested they can sign up for lessons to fly the glider by themselves; they can be certified by age 14.
For an unforgettable experience, take the family soaring the skies above.