“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”
In my line of work fear and courage come into play often. They send you to try out a new roller coaster before anyone has ever done so, you do it. When I was asked to Plane glide approximately 4,000 feet above sea level never once did fear enter into my mind frame.
(Photo credit: Michelle Beiling)
Not many things send me into a panic or really scare me easily. I have more courage running through my bones then fear. We drove up the steep hill to reach Harris Hill park, where we would eventually take off from, fear still had not set in. The other ladies of the group were a bit concerned as we spotted our gliders being pulled out on the run way. They are not very large compared to the commerical planes we all flew in on.
The ASK-21 is a two-seat (one passenger, one pilot) glider with a close resemblance to a paper air plane. The unique design has been carefully crafted through the years and you can tell something life changing is about to happen. We all took turns getting acquainted with our pilots before stuffing ourselves into the wrap around canopy. I should take a moment and mention the weight limit is 245 pounds for a reason. Not to upset anyone but to help balance the weight between you and the pilot. Again compare it to a paper air plane, as you soar through the air you need to be balanced to help maneuver and give you the best spectacular views possible.
Here I am getting seat belted into the front canopy area. Not scared of what is about to happen. I just watched my friends go up in the air at all, how hard could it be? That is the thing about fear and courage they really go hand in hand don’t they?
The plane starts driving us down the run way and picking up speed as we zip by the tour guides.
My pilot shows where my “fresh air” will be coming from.
Because, up in the air it will get rather warm he warns.
I can see the runway start to disappear and we are about to take flight behind the plane.
As we started to gain eltitude I realize suddenly we are being held by only a tow line. At one point before we detached we did a down ward nose dip. The glider feeds off the planes altitude and it also relies on wind currents to help it along.
Fear raced through my body. Since it was not a very windy day would this be how our trip would go? Frequent dives toward the ground? I should mention this was a split second of fear racing through my body. In reality it happened quickly but in my mind it felt longer.
“If you want to fly, you have to give up the stuff that weighs you down”
Before I could really dwell on, “if this was a good”, idea we detached from the plane and started to just glide. We soared over the Fall foliage and the Chemung River I had just kayaked on!
Everywhere you look has captivating views of the Western New York landscape. The feelings are so over whelming I can see why people become so addicted to flying.
I had one of the oldest pilots still carrying passengers and let me tell you he was a complete HOOT!
We circled, we soared downwards, we climbed upwards when wind currents allowed us. The whole experience is extremely hard to put into words. It is these moments that make my job so rewarding. If I had let fear consume me I would have missed out on such a gratifying experience.
When we landed I was all smiles, laughter and thumbs up! I could try and tell you all the reasons why you should experience this. My words will never measure up to experiencing it yourself though. If you are lucky enough to be in the Western New York area like myself, make it a point to try this out. I have a feeling you will have such an amazing experience like I did. Going back to do it again will not even be up for debate.
So until we meet again my Plane gliding friends. I will be seeing you real soon for another spectacular gliding ride!