Are you a hang glider or paraglider pilot who wants to try sailplanes? You're welcome to try at Lake Keepit.
We won't get into a discussion about what's the best form of gliding here… but we all know that it's better to be airborne than standing on the ground! The internationally famous Manilla or Mount Borah hang gliding and paragliding site which was the venue for the 2008 Paragliding World Championship is 25 kilometres away. (Remember the German paraglider pilot Ewa Wisnierska, who broke the world paragliding altitude record there, topping out at over 9900 metres?)
Because LKSC is so close to Manilla and Mount Borah, many of our pilots either fly more than one type of gliding discipline or once flew hang gliders or paragliders and instructors are well aware that people who have already flown one type of glider, normally need a lot less training that ab-inito or power pilots.
Many flex-wing glider pilots have the idea that sailplanes are expensive, but that's not really true. Sailplanes have an active life of decades. Many are approved for 12,000 hours or more. A competitive sailplane can be bought second hand for little more than what a top flex-wing pilot will pay over a few seasons for their gliders.
Nobody will try and tell you that flying sailplanes is better than other gliding disciplines, but there's a huge attraction in having an L/D of better 40:1 and a top speed well over 120 knots. In comparison with flying a paraglider or a hang glider, flying sailplanes cross country is easy. In a sailplane, you have enough performance to fly through sink and explore many times more clouds when looking for lift and in cruise, sailplanes are so much faster that you can cover much more distance on a flight.
You may think that sailplane pilots are just a gang of old farts in white floppy hats… the truth is that they're much the same as any other gang of people who fly gliders! If you stay for a beer at the club after a big day, you'll find the same improbable stories about huge thermals, flying with eagles and low saves… perhaps the biggest difference is that most will have landed back at the club and be there in time for a beer!
Many pilots come over to Lake Keepit for a fly in a sailplane if the wind is off at Mount Borah… Sailplanes fly in conditions which would ground most flex-wings and regularly fly triangles and out and returns in over 20 knots.
If you want to try sailplanes, the best idea is to book in for a short series of lessons to see if you like it. Contact the manager at LKSC and let us show you another side of gliding.