Exciting, fast and quiet... . .
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Of course, you sometimes see them flying over Central Zeeland. Maybe you've checked them out for a while, those big white silent birds, which on a sunny day try to turn around in upwind areas in order to fly as long as possible. Maybe you're wondering: What kind of people are they? Is that fun? How's it going? What does it cost...? If you ever have these questions, read on. If you become curious after that, ask for more information at ................................ and if you really want to taste if flying is something for you, make an appointment to go on a gliding flight.
Hoverflying, as free as a bird, high above the landscape, a wonderful sport. Again and again glider pilots are caught by the game of slowly hovering down and then circling up again in ascending air. After flying for a while you feel one with the plane, one with the currents in the air. It does what you want. Often it is 'hard work' to get the glider well centered up in the thermic bubble and sometimes it is 'kneiter' good glider weather. Then almost every thermal bubble is hit and you can fly hundreds of miles on solar energy. Hundreds of miles without an engine. On a day like this you know one thing for sure: 'there is no better sport than gliding'.
Hoverflying is a sport with many highlights. Step by step, you're getting into that world. There is always the radiant feeling that you have improved a personal performance and immediately after that you start thinking about the next challenge, better, further, higher or even faster. This sport continues to fascinate both the beginner and the advanced kite.
At the starting point
From the hangar the gliders are pushed to the take-off point. When the weather is sunny, it also radiates from the faces of the kites, because then it promises to be a beautiful flying day and that's why you can see the kites regularly looking at the sky while pushing. There's plenty to do at the starting point. First the planes are carefully checked, pilots help with take-off and bring landed planes back to the take-off site. Someone keeps on a list the times of the take-off and landing of the aircraft and a take-off leader indicates who's turn to fly The instructors teach the novice pilots and of course there's coffee, i.e. it's one of those days where even time flies.
You fly a glider like a motorplane, only the engine is missing and therefore the plane has to be brought into the air in a different way. This can be done by means of a winch (an engine of about 260 hp on a truck, which rolls a steel cable of more than one kilometre fast) or behind a motorplane. Starting with a winch is the least used starting method in Midden Zeeland. We almost exclusively take off with a tow plane. Towing is comfortable and you're usually towed directly to a thermal bell, but it's more expensive than winches.
When the sun heats the ground, the lower layer of the air becomes warmer. That warmer air is lighter than the air above it. Such a layer of warm air can sometimes grow to a thickness of about 60 metres and then suddenly let go and take off in a trunk. This is thermals It is the engine for glider pilots, but also many birds use this huge invisible source of energy. If you manage to keep circling in that rising air, the glider goes up with that rising air, sometimes a few thousand meters. As a result, the flight can last for hours and you can travel long distances. The Dutch endurance record for thermal flying is 10 hours and 24 minutes and the furthest flight in 'straight line' from the Netherlands is no less than 905 km long.
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