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Hang Glider Pilot Gets Stoked!SGS 1-36

by Marc Whisman

I have lately gotten into this ritual of taking Wednesdays off to run out to the Lake Elsinore Soaring Club for a little sailplane action. Last Wednesday was very rewarding but today was...Well, it was just superb!

The first thing that happened when I got there was that my friend Curly who owns a Cessna 140 asked me if I wanted to fly it. Gulp, "Well sure Curly, if you don't mind" I said in as unexcited voice as I could while trying not to grin. The take off was normal taildragger stuff, but once we were up on the mountain, he had me start reducing power until the throttle was all the way off. We then commenced to soar. That's right, this 1946 Cessna would actully stay up in the lift! Way cool!

After a short flight and a rather good 3 point landing (if I do say so myself) I jumped in the Schweizer 1-36 Sprite and got towed up to where I pinned off and immediately found a 1000 up bullet that took me to 7500 msl. I only got off the elevator to keep with the cloud clearance requirements.

Looking to the North the clouds were lined up all the way to Saddleback. Hmmm, been there several times in a hangglider, why not? I nosed down a bit and started running the Ortega mountains. The view was spectacular. I could see all the way to Catalina and beyond. The air was clear, and the visability was easily 50 miles. Along the way I stopped to circle twice, then reached the antennas 1000' over 5700 foot Santiago peak. Beep beep beep beep beep back up to over 7000 ft 800 FPM. Sheesh, I haven't seen it this good in a while.

Glancing at my watch I see I'm running short of time as another club member had the Sprite scheduled after me so kicking myself for using my glider time to fly the 140, I leave good lift over the mountain and point the nose home, some 20 miles away from my position North of Santiago. 50, 55, 60 mph, Ok this is good, looks like I'm making good time. Beep beep beep beep beep hmmm, a little lift, I'll just speed up... 70, 75, Beep beep beep, 80, 85, Beep beep 90, 100 and finally I'm through the lift and smokin'! I was able to hold 100 MPH all the way back to 1/2 mile from the airport when I had to open the spoilers and execute a forward slip to get down on the runway.

Rolling out in front of the office I flipped the canopy open in time to see the next pilot walking out and looking at his watch. It only took 8 minutes to get back from Saddleback which coincided with the amout of time I was late. I assured him he would have fun as the clouds hadn't moved and the whole valley was just going off. The strange thing is I didn't see one hangglider out there on such an awesome day. -Marc

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