Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder's American West -

An interesting article that caught my eye this morning because...

I've been there. And my father had been there as well. He raced there in the 1930's with a modified 4 cylinder Ford roadster. Somewhere... there's a photo of it.

I went there to take a ride in a 'glider'. There was a soaring school there and they had an old Schweizer two seater that would take you for a short flight; maybe 30 minutes if the thermals cooperated.

A biplane towed you off the ground while a ground crewman ran alongside the glider and held the wing tip off the ground until there was enough air passing under the wing for the pilot to keep it steady. That pilot sat behind you and so you had an unobstructed view of all that was happening. And once you reached altitude, the pilot tapped you on the shoulder and told you to pull the big red knob on the dashboard. That released the tow rope and suddenly you were free! Amazing! It was so quiet and peaceful up there as we turned and banked in search of some warm air to lift us higher. You almost forgot that you were sitting on parachute...

It was soon over and you were picking up airspeed in preparation for landing. 110 mph and no brakes. The pilot would tilt the nose down as we sped along the desert floor on one wheel. That tilting would place a long length of wood against the ground and slow you down.

Do yourself a favor, and if you ever have a chance to go it!

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