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A First Time Glider Pilot

By Leon Cziske

The reaction was about the same, no'matter where I stopped. The inevitable question "whatcha got in the trailer?" The answer, it's an airplane trailer. The step back, sideways twist of the head, the hooded eyes and the "you're trying to kid me" look.

Actually it's up there, and I'm chasing it so we can take it apart and put it in the trailer as soon as it lands. Again the look.

After the third time I found "hauling hogs" worked pretty good.

My first experience chasing a glider was, - well, an experience.

Bob Holliday asked me if I wanted to crew for him during the Kowbell, and I said sure no problem.

Put the wings on, launch, jump in the van and go.

Original plan was to head west and/or north. The first leg worked out well. Radio contact was good and the traffic was light.

From Dodge City to Garden City I discovered transmitting from outside the van afforded better communications.

From Garden City to Scott City communications began to deteriorate. The last clear transmission was at Scott City, Bob told me to stand by while he decided which way to go. From that point on all transmissions were hissessessesse's.

Checking the map, I decided to go to Tribune; there's a small truck stop at the intersection of HWY; 96 & 27, which would give me a place to work from.

After a sandwich and a cup of coffee I discovered Bob was headed for Goodland. OK Crank up the van and head north. Mt. Sunflower is 20 miles west of hwy 27, didn't stop this time.

Rolled into Goodland after 19:00, and found Bob had landed at Holyoke Colorado on hwy 385.

Exited INT 70 at Burlington, Colorado, and headed north. Secondary roads in Colorado tend to be just adequate with minimum signing. I was beginning to wonder if I was on the right road when I saw a sign" Holyoke 92 miles" AGGH!!! What a kick. Two hours later I roll into Holyoke.

I know I'm in the country when I ask the girl at the quick trip where the airport is and she tells me to go down the road to the big cornfield. I ask her if there's a sign?? She says yes. I say thank you and press on.

Well I found the airport, found Bob and found the sailplane .... Hoo-Rah!

We managed to get the bird in the trailer "with the help of two flash, lights", pick up all the parts and pieces and returned to the terminal.

Washed up and worked out the kinks while trading experiences.

Talked it over and decided to drive to Burlington; see how we felt and work from there. Got to Burlington, let's go to Goodland. Colby next. Colby's good. Hays isn't that far (yes it is).

By stages we arrived at Bob/s house at 0700 in the morning, 22hours and a thousand miles later, about three times the distance Bob logged for the flight.

The trip was informative, surprising, and by and large fun. The folks I met on the way were friendly and helpful. I have to say I enjoyed it and look forward to doing it again.


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Published and maintained by Jerry Boone, Hutchinson, KS