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Friday Five! – Five Photos from Cross Country Soaring Tournament in Minnesota

Friday Five! – Five Photos from Cross Country Soaring Tournament in Minnesota

Flying in a glider is one of the smoothest, most peaceful experiences you can have.  It is just you, the glider, and the wind.  Oh, and the pilot/instructor if you haven’t fully learned how to fly it.  Getting your license is also quite the accomplishment.  Unlike normal airplane flying, you can’t go around if you don’t like the landing you are going to make.

Gliders don’t have engines, but they are towed up into the air by a tow plane (a normal airplane).  Once in the air, they are slowly gliding towards earth slowly losing altitude.  For short rides, this is fine.

But if you want to go further, like cross-country, you have to find a way to gain altitude.   Skilled glider pilots can circle up pockets of warm air, called thermals, to climb in altitude.  Just like a bird.

However, we humans get competitive about everything don’t we?  You can take your glider to a tournament and try to hit specific vectors in the sky.  I believe there are also tournaments that are based on shear length of flight.

Today’s Friday Five! are from a tournament I went to in Albert Lea, Minnesota several years ago to watch gliders compete.  Take a look!

#5 – A Look Inside the Glider

This is a two-seat glider made by a German company named Grob. There are also single seat gliders.

#4 – The Length of a Glider

grob glider wingspan

Oh, what a large wingspan you have Grob! All the better to glide, my dear.

#3 – Getting Ready for the Tow

tow rope glider

A long rope connects the glider to the tow plane. Both have the ability to disconnect the tow.

#2 – What Happens if You Lose Too Much Altitude Before You Get Back to the Airport?

You land out in a farmer’s field!  Then you call someone to bring your trailer…

#1 – Loading the Glider Up in the Trailer

You and your glider live again to fly another day.

I’d like to point out, if you are just learning or taking an explorer flight your instructor is never going to get far enough away from the airport that you’d have to make a field landing.  This was a cross country soaring tournament, where experienced pilots were pushing the envelope.

What is a First Glider Flight Like?  Watch This…

I highly recommend flying in a glider at least once in your life. Be aware you might get hooked!


Cross Country Soaring, Inc – A gliding outfit just south of Minneapolis in Faribault, Minnesota.  I know from experience that they are top-notch and a fantastic place to get you hooked on flying a glider.

Soaring Society of America

  1. Lish 12 April, 2013

    If I ever feel like slowly plummeting to the earth, this really seems like the way to go. Impressive stuff.

  2. Mary {The World Is A Book} 15 April, 2013

    I’m not sure I’m ready to fly in a glider (my heart was racing watching that video) but it looks like a fun event to watch. This is a whole new level with tournaments. I always learn something interesting from you 🙂