What a great classic rock song from the Steve Miller Band in the 70’s, but that’s the topic for another post.
Flying like an eagle, ever since Icarus & son attempted their fateful flight, man has wanted to fly. Fast forward to today, and we’d agree that most of us motorcyclists might describe riding as being similar to flying.
Well, right in our backyard is a fantastic spot for unpowered flight. On a clear day you can see gliders silently soaring above the Vercors, Belledonne & Chartreuse mountain chains. If you’ve never experienced flying in a glider, it is a bucket list experience.
It’s entirely different than commercial flights on jumbo jets. No luggage, no tray tables, unruly passengers, agitating fees…
The first thing that strikes you is the wingspan. It’s wide. Really wide.
The weight. If you are requested to help push one around, you’ll be surprised at how light the thing is. When you get inside, you’ll see why. There’s not much to it. It’s pretty much bare bones. A seat, dashboard, pedals, control stick. That’s about it.
The Spartan construction doesn’t instill much confidence, but there’s some reassurance in knowing the pilot is right behind you. If you go down, so does he. Another real confidence booster is the parachute you have to wear.
All kidding aside, prior to getting airborne, the pilot will give you a little briefing. Then you get buckled in and with tow-line attached, a propeller plane takes off with the glider in tow. What’s amazing is the glider gets airborne before the tow-plane. How is that possible? That’s because of that huge wingspan.
When you get up to altitude the tow-line gets dropped and then…silence. The sensation is amazing. For a moment you might feel like you’re suspended or weightless. No, you’re flying. No engine noise to disturb the silence.
You can feel the updrafts gently lifting you upwards as you ascend in a corkscrew fashion. Still it’s remarkably quiet. Feels like you’re floating.
Now there’s a lot to process between the sensations of flying without an engine, feeling the currents affect the plane.
Now comes the scenery. When you feel up to it, you can look all around. The canopy is huge and you get panoramic views of the landscape. Views you don’t ordinarily get with your feet on the ground.
You might pass over a castle, or see hikers wave at you. You’ll probably see other gliders doing the same thing you are. Their passengers have their mouths wide open just like you.
When it’s time to land, you’ll be elated after taking your glider flight…it might remind you of that day when you first rode a motorcycle. Felt like you were on top of the world.
If you’d like to participate in first class European motorcycle tours, and take flight in a glider, check out our motorcycle tours in France.