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Jul 02, 2011, 07:17 PM
glider pilot in training
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How i define a good day

The way I Define a good day
My day today started at about 6AM when i woke up an i was at the field by 7 am. The sun was just starting to peak out from around the treeline as i sat up my canopy and started putting planes together. I knew today was going to be a good thermal day.

I could feel it on my skin already in the form of the blast of dry still air of the nearby farmers field as i sink my first high-start's stake at it's edge. by 7:30 i have both my high-starts rolled out and set out both my 20 foot collapsible poles are ready, their cassette tape streamers both pointing at the dead center of the field. A quick break with first bottle of iced water under my canopy gives me a few minutes to watch heat haze build up the tilled field. I wish i brought out my Bird of time out, it's going to be a wonderful day.

First up the line is my 2 meter fling, Arrow straight and it just floats off the end at the top and it's tail is already popping up and the wings rocking, within half a turn i'm rising so i roll it into the turn and something catches my eye, it's either the big hawk or a small vulture following me up the thermal. After about 2 minutes of turning in my usual lazy circle search pattern to feel out the edges of the thermal the bird has closed the gap to about a hundred foot.

I try my best to keep the distance between my plane and the bird but I'm flying against a pro and the gap is closed in just a few seconds and it's as if it formed up on my wing, matching me turn for turn, I relax back into my chair for a quick sip of my water as my new flying friend backs off and reopens the gap to fifty or so foot.

After about 20 minutes of circling i decide it's time to come down and land so i peel off an head into the still air when i hear it. My partner in this wonderful ride starts chirping and screeching at me as it peels off and slowly follows me down. I hop up and walk over onto the landing field as i make my final turn and settle into my approach all the while my new friend the bird is chirping as if he's cheering me on, At about30 or 40 foot out my fling touches down as smooth as glass and slides to a stop about 2 steps in front of me.

With one last chirp my flying friend take off once again. Winging it's way back off to the thermal giving me a good long look at him. Rusty brown tail feathers and spotted wings. I looked it up once i got home, It was a red tailed hawk.

It could have shredded my plane in a heartbeat but he didn't, I suspect he was curious of this odd yellow and blue bird in his area. I consider it a wonderful experience.
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