Red Wing, MN
The pre-flight is done, the wing runner is beginning the process of leveling the glider, the tow rope is taut, and the tow pilot is holding the tow plane’s brakes awaiting the signal from the glider pilot that the glider is on the threshold of flight. I submit for your perusal, my entry in the photo challenge; Threshold.
In this week’s challenge, we are asked to share a photo that captures the threshold moment, that point in time when all the preparation and planning is complete and all is focused on the new beginning. You can read about the specifics of this challenge here.
People often think that soaring is a solo activity. Whether it’s in a flexible wing aircraft or an all-metal beauty like the Blanik in my post; flying at high altitudes powered only by air currents in single seat aircraft is the norm. With the exception of training aircraft, most gliders are configured to carry only a pilot. The truth is, however, that a ground crew and often a tow pilot and aircraft are required to launch a glider to an altitude where that solo flight can start. The only exception that provides for true solo operation is the motor glider, a sailplane with a motor and propeller; a glider with a built-in tow plane and tow pilot.
It’s been a busy week for me, so my weekly submission to this challenge is tardy. Indeed, it’s only two more days until we see next week’s challenge. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be less active at blogging due to a heavy outside schedule. I will try to submit next week’s photo challenge as well. I leave you with the words of one of my favorite aviation related poems.
By John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.