Gliding is an incredible experience!
Imagine cruising through the sky, turning and climbing, outracing ultralights and balloons, and leaving the world behind. Imagine escaping from the bustle on the ground, being free of the congestion, noise and heat.
You can see for miles. Your head is perfectly positioned to take in the view, and there are no pillars or posts to obscure it.
The lack of an engine can be eerie the first time but millions of birds fly without an engine, so why shouldn't you?
At first you fly in formation behind the tug (tow plane). Once the instructor pulls the yellow rope release you'll bank gently up and away from the tug. It's at this point that you first realise just how graceful flying is. And you'll discover that you actually don't feel high - it's an abstract feeling, just like playing with Google Earth, or looking at a map.
The next fifteen minutes passes too quickly! You'll see roads you've never seen before, and really appreciate how the countryside starts at the Dunstable Downs. If you live close enough, your instructor may be able to fly over your house!
Your experienced instructor will teach you the basics of flying gliders. This will certainly include turning, as everybody will tell you - gliders do a lot of turning! If the weather is right this turn will probably be in rising air, or a thermal.
Gliders use thermals to gain height. They then glide over vast distances, at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour, all the while slowly descending. This 'down hill' glide will be towards the next thermal and the process will begin again.
Gradually things on the ground become larger, and then, unfortunately it's time to land. Your instructor will go through landing checks to make sure you are still safely tucked in. One loud clunk (as they open the airbrakes) followed by what will almost certainly be the smoothest landing of your life.
The only problem with returning to the ground is, well, it's the ground and you're not flying any longer!
Don't forget your sun glasses, sun hat and of course the camera - who needs Google Earth when you've seen it for real!
Every flight advertised on this site includes a three month membership so you can come back and experience it again and again.