The last time I went aerobatic flying almost killed me, let’s see how this one goes.
Oh look a church, perhaps I should stop by and pray before I take my flight.
Oh Jesus, please make sure the seat belt is properly fastened this time around.
It was comforting to know that Mary had my back. Thanks Mary!
My glider experience took place at the lovely Warner Springs airport. Warner Springs is a small unincorporated community in northern San Diego County near the Palomar Observatory.
Since 1959, Sky Sailing has not had a student or passenger injured (what about before that?). All flights are flown by FAA Certified Commercial pilots. It is extremely safe since the sailplane carries no fuel or heavy engine, and is designed to land slowly in unimproved fields. Also, the sailplane is built stronger than most small aircraft! Slow speeds, short landings, nothing volatile and strength make this sport one of the safest. Ok then.
The last time I went aerobatic flying wasn’t as safe. My step-grandfather built P-51 racing planes, so back in the late eightes I had a chance to take a flight in Mangia Pane, which was one of the planes he helped build. Unfortunately, I wasn’t buckled in properly which meant I was flying without anything holding me into the plane. I found this out when the pilot, Bill “Tiger” Destefani started up the aerobatics and since the only way to tell him that there was a problem was by pushing an intercom button down by the side of my seat, I had no way of letting him know we had a problem since both of my hands were holding on for dear life. After our long 25 minute super fast scary flight he asked me why I was so quiet. I showed him my hands and pointed to my restraints and he just about shit his pants. That’s me in the back of Mangia Pane.
Front seat driver and yes, he did allow me to pilot the plane a couple times during our flight. Notice the altitude gauge is a little over 3900ft while on the ground, that’s our current elevation.
The tow plane may look like a WWI era plane but it’s actually from the 1970’s.
Towing us up, up, up…
…higher and higher.
I was told that the lake property below was actually the old estate of Lon Chaney, no relation to Dick or Liz of course.
At 6900 ft above sea level, I pulled the yellow knob to release the tow line.
…and we were finally free.
Warner Springs Airport
He didn’t warn me that he was about to do this crazy ass loop which is fine but I was never told where I was supposed to hold on to in the plane. The two places you want to grab a hold of are the two places you shouldn’t, the restraint release and the canopy release. Since I was holding my other camera in my hand I just held on to that and hoped for the best.
By the way, you are wearing an oval parachute but there’s a strong chance you would still die or be extremely injured due to the fact that you are generally less than 3000ft from the ground [Altitude of 6900ft minus Warner Springs elevation of about 4000ft = 3900ft].
Upside Down, Boy You Turning Me…It was kinda of disconcerting when a whole bunch of small items and other debris started flying across the canopy pod when we went upside down.
Okay that was fun.
An upside down selfie while I had control of the yoke and was performing a giant loop. Good times.
Since I flew the plane, I got my very own pilots log.
I was a good student and didn’t get sick like 80% of the other peeps that take this flight.