Saturday, August 25, 2007

About the Author

Diana Roberts in a Schweitzer 2-33, Sundance Aviation, Moriarty, New Mexico

I am a student pilot at Sundance Aviation in Moriarty, New Mexico. This blog started out as a school project. I wasn't sure if anyone would let me interview them but it turns out that all the pilots I asked were extremely enthusiastic. This has been a fun project and will probably continue after the semester is over.

How did I get started flying gliders ?

When I was a child I use to dream about flying around town. I would take a few steps and then be airborne. Gliding around my old neighborhoods was an incredible experience. I miss those dreams.

Last year while hiking in the Sandia mountains I ran across a few hang glider pilots. One of the pilots spent about 30 minutes patiently explaining the process of flying these giant human kites. Then he put the 80 lb kite on his back, took off running and jumped off the cliff. It was amazing to watch him transform from a average man into an eagle. The idea of hang gliding was becoming very enticing. However, there was one little glitch, I was not about to put a heavy kite on my back and jump off a cliff!

A few weeks later I was sitting in the Copper Lounge with friends having $3.00 burgers and $2.00 martinis when I had a brainstorm. Why don't I find a place in New Mexico that offers glider lessons? Gliders are real planes, not kites. You can control them the same why you control a plane. The only difference is that they don't have engines. The appeal to me was that I could soar around town looking down at my neighborhoods like I did in my dreams.

The next day I found a website for Sundance Aviation in Moriarty, New Mexico. I sent an email to them asking for more information. The owner, Rick, called me about a week later. He spent a good hour on the phone explaining to me what it would take to learn how to fly gliders. I liked him so I decided to take my lessons from Sundance. It was a good choice. The instructors are great and not only have I discovered a new hobby but I have met some wonderful people along the way.

My best flights:

Last summer while taking a lesson from Rick I discovered that he is a tenor. I love opera and one of my favorite operas is Eugene Onegin by Pushkin. I asked Rick if he could sing an aria from Eugene Onegin. He sang to me from the back seat of the Schweitzer. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Rick's girlfriend, Aimee, thinks he should offer singing glider rides. Aimee is right, the music made the experience so much richer.

My next incredible flight was this summer. A friend of mine took me on my first cross country flight in his Stemme. We flew for 6 hours without an engine. We went from Moriarty to White Sands and up to Santa Rosa and back to Moriarty. He let me fly 95% of the time. On our way to Santa Rosa we circled in a thermal with an eagle. There is nothing more beautiful than looking up and seeing an eagle in your thermal. This was definitely the best day of my summer.

If you are interested in learning how to fly gliders here are a few websites in New Mexico:


Jonathan Price said...

So beautiful. I particularly like the picture of the eagle soaring next to you in the thermal.

Thanks for pulling us right into the experience.



Hawk said...

Thank you for a great read and giving me the chance to know more about my friends. Keep up the good work. Everyone has a story that needs to be told.

Your friend,