I hope you enjoy my blog, a collection of articles and thoughts regarding my interests. I'm a married father of two that loves to write about gliding, hunting, fishing, camping and any outdoor passion. Oh yah, I'm a quadriplegic. I hope this is informative to some, entertaining to others, and interesting to all. Let me know what you think. If you'd like an article for your publication, I've got words I haven't even used yet!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Edmonton Soaring Club Orders Glider With Hand Controls


One way to evaporate those winter blahs is to look forward to a new piece of equipment to master when summer-weather arrives, thereby increasing one's knowledge and skill level  (a nearly-plausible way for a guy to explain the rationality of a 'new toy to play with'). Just the thought of the summer breeze, sunny days, and being active outside can totally transport you into that world, allowing you to forget about the winter storm raging outside. You sit by the window with a contented grin, ignoring the winter wonderland.

We all need something to look forward to, something to remind us that good times lie ahead. Now don't get me wrong, winter is not THAT bad, but when  you're a quadriplegic that's mostly cold-blooded (to the point of being a p.i.a. to the general population), residing 2,500 miles North of the palm trees and need to listen to Jimmy Buffett via satellite, by the end of February it's been long enough.

A new toy? While we're conjuring up a good day-dream, how about a brand-new high-performance sailplane, equipped with hand-controls, a volunteer instructor, a lift to get wheelchair-users into the cockpit, and a Piper Pawnee to tug it into the air ... that oughta do it!

Guess what? I can keep grinning, it's not just a pipe-dream!

 The Edmonton soaring club has ordered a new Perkoz glider that is equipped with hand-controls, just the medicine for a gravitationally-challenged person such as myself. With hand-controls installed, it means that a paraplegic or quadriplegic with some arm function can fly this glider and have full control of all control surfaces, the same as an able-bodied pilot would. It is currently in the production phase and should be delivered to the flying club in time for spring.

Wow! Is this going to be a good flying year or what? This glider will have a glide ratio of up to 40 to 1, meaning flights will be longer and staying up in thermals will be easier, can't wait to try! Compare this with the glide ratio of an electric-wheelchair being 0, and max altitude is eyeball height ... about 3ft, depending on seat-cushion inflation.

Spring fever? Just checked ... my temp is 104f, yep ... spring fever it is! Go ahead winter, blast away, yer time's nearly up. Then the days of the soaring will commence!

The Edmonton club is certainly gearing towards expanding its Freedoms Wings program. Any wheelchair users want to go for a ride in a glider, and even get to totally control it, are encouraged to check out the Edmonton Soaring Club near Edmonton, Alberta Canada, and the CuNim Gliding Club near Calgary, Alberta Canada. They both have the  equipment to lift you into a glider, and now both clubs have gliders with full hand controls! Oh yah, you 'uprights' (people that can walk ... lol) are welcome to come too, these clubs have several gliders, and even the aircraft with hand-controls have conventional controls too!