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"Thumbs up!" signaled Tony Wiederkehr, my pilot. The red piper tow-plane attached to us tightened its rope and revved down the runway. Within seconds, solid ground fell away beneath our sail-plane. Tony leaned forward and said, "See that big yellow T-shaped handle?... pull it hard!" With a clunk the tow rope fell away and we were on our own. The only sound was a gentle whoosh of air past the cockpit. We were flying on nothing more than solar energy.
Imagine soaring like an eagle high overhead, rising and gliding effortlessly? that's the principle of sail-plane flying. There are clubs all over the world, with enthusiasts from ages eight to 80. Pilots seek a strong thermal, an invisible whirling vortex of air, and ride them upwards, sometimes to over six thousand feet.
To try your hand in a sail plane, head north on Interstate 25 to the Owl Canyon Gliderport 15 miles north of Fort Collins. Take Exit 281 at Owl Canyon, go west a half mile to County Rd. 7, go north three miles to the gliderport sign. It's open every Friday during summer. If you're heading south, visit the Fremont County Airport, 25 miles south of Colorado Springs on Hwy. 50, three miles west of Hwy. 115.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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