Gliding at Benalla Airfield
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On the 2nd March 2009 we were lucky enough to have joined a group of co-workers who were going gliding at the Victorian State Gliding centre in Benalla.
Benalla is situated at the foot of the Great Dividing Range in north eastern Victoria, with flat plains to the west and Mount Buffalo to the east.
When gliding the pilots chase hot thermal winds that travel from the western plains which provide up drafts for them to gain altitude. The force of these is unmistakeable when your in the cockpit, and just as a wedge tailed eagle will spiral we were being pushed up at a rate of over 500ft per minute.
John was our pilot an english chap, and a great guide who talked us through every step and even let us take the controls for part of the flight
When we first took off in the glider we were towed from the runway to 4000ft by a tug plane, in this case it was an old crop duster.
To the south east we could see tall colums of smoke from the fires that were still burning and had recently ravaged Kinglake and surrounding communities, to the east was Mount Buffalo standing 5652ft high, to the west was the long plains to the horizon.
The flight was so quiet we were able to communicate without having to raise our voices. We were all a little worried before our flights, i don't know why we had all flown in jets before and this was far safer plus they gave us parachutes :)
After each of us had landed we couldn't wipe the smile off our faces from pure thrill and exileration.
Thanks Coops, Tomo, Zac & John....