Soaring Club Visit

This weekend was the start of the camping season for Georgia and I. By “camping”, of course, I mean going to our air conditioned travel trailer with plenty of hot water and satellite TV. We spent Saturday getting the trailer opened up and restocked, raking up the twigs and leaves that accumulate on the lot every winter and generally getting ready for the summer.

Yesterday, we stopped by a soaring club that is near the campground. I was very impressed by just how friendly everyone was. We were greeted right away and welcomed to hang out and watch the goings on. We were encourage to look over the sailplanes and all our questions were answered. Overall, I was impressed and almost ready to join the club on the spot.

Unfortunately, the only negative was a big one and it made me decide to hold off another week before making my decision. I had asked about tow pilots and I was told that the club has at least 15 members qualified to fly the tow plane. Yesterday though, despite it being a beautiful weather day, there was not a one on the field. One of the members was making calls but could not find a pilot willing or able to tow that day. With no one flying, we ended up leaving after about an hour.

I will give them another chance and stop back next weekend. If it turns out that tow pilot or CFI availability is a common problem, that would probably stop me from joining the club. I hope it was just a one time thing yesterday. It is still very early in the soaring season here so maybe they just haven’t gotten into a routine yet. We will see.

  • David says:

    Interesting…your musings about soaring have got me thinking along the same lines.

    Thanks for the updates!

  • Tom says:

    If you decide to give it a try David, please let us know how it goes. I am very interested in hearing about it.

  • Julien says:

    Hi Tom,

    Do you know what the requirements are for becoming a tow pilot? That could be one way to gain flying experience without breaking the bank. Also, did you consider soaring clubs that use a winch launch rather than a tow? The rule of thumb is usually that the winch is half the price of the tow.

  • Tom says:

    Julien,

    I do hope to get checked out as a tow pilot once I get my glider rating just for the reason you mention. It is a good way to get some air time with someone else picking up the tab. I don’t know of any clubs around here that use ground tow. Air tow is the norm here. But, tows at the club I am considering are pretty cheap ($25) for a 3000 foot tow.

  • Peregrine says:

    Keep up the good work.

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