Flying at 14

Come on Meg! Are you so focused on flying planes that you’ve completely forgotten about gliders, ultralights and lighter-than-air aircraft (Teaching the next generation, June 17 issue)? A 14 year old can solo these.

Perhaps you truly believe that if you don’t have a stack of radios to twiddle with, you’re not really flying? The average pilot acquires more usable experience in one hour of glider flight than in 10 hours of powered flight.   

Next time you’re in New England, stop by Post Mills, Vt. (2B9), and we’ll immerse you in what flying really is, radio free, off grass (or snow). We don’t subscribe to playing the Rating Game, where you get your CFII after a few hundred hours of chasing dials, yet have little practical experience to fall back on. Our goals are maintaining the proficiency and excellence that can save our lives and aircraft when the unexpected occurs. We have no tolerance for the shallow gratification of learning just enough to pass the written, oral and practical exams to get another ticket that won’t save you from becoming another NTSB statistic when the engine quits.

Education is crucial, but it must be balanced with experience, and there are no better experiences than having your feet on the rudder pedals of a glider and having an intimate conversation with the wind at treetop level.

Andy Gelston
Post Mills, Vt.

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