The first time at the airfield was a rush of exhilaration as people pulled gliders out from the mammoth hangar and started to inspect them. I had been flying with my dad since I could walk but on this day, my dad took me to a special flying club called ÃÂYork Soaring AssociationÃÂ.
We pulled one of the sleekest, most aerodynamic and fastest gliders they had out to the grass runway as my instructor gave me a couple of tips about the glider. He helped me get into the glider then got into the backseat of the glider. As we waited on the runway, he gave me a quick briefing about the controls and the instruments.
The sound of an engine roared to life behind us and got louder until it was beside us. The pilot in the tow plane gave us a wave as he opened his throttle and took-off.
After a couple of minutes we heard the drone of the plane getting louder as he came in for his landing. He pulled up in front of us as a couple of people attached a rope to the back of the plane then to us.
The instructor asked if I was ready and I said, ÃÂIÃÂm ready!ÃÂ He closed the canopy and gave a ÃÂthumbs-upÃÂ to the person holding our wing who then levelled the wing. The tow planeÃÂs engine then grew louder as the rope slowly became taut. The engine then gave a mighty roar as the tow plane pulled us behind him up into the air.
We climbed slowly behind the plane until we were at two thousand feet above the ground at which point we released the rope from the tow plane and made a hard right turn as we pulled three GÃÂs. We levelled out and the only noise audible was the rush of air over the canopy.
The instructor asked if I wanted to do anything special so I asked if we could do a couple of loops-de-loops. He said, ÃÂSure why not?ÃÂ as he lowered the nose of the plane to pick up speed. At one hundred and twenty miles per hour he pulled the nose back as we went vertical then looped all the way over at four and a half GÃÂs. Then we went back vertical but instead of looping he pushed the nose down as we went to negative GÃÂs and the loose stuff in the canopy went into the air. All the fun we were having left us at only one thousand feet above the ground.
ÃÂTime for landingÃÂ my instructor said so we came down with the runway straight ahead. We passed over the bull ring that was having a festival at only one hundred feet below us with the music filling the cockpit. As we soared over the beginning of the runway, we gently touched down at fifty seven miles per hour and came to a rest about four hundred feet after touching down.
As we got out of the plane, he asked me how I liked the flight and I responded with exhilaration, ÃÂIÃÂm hooked!ÃÂ