Busy day yesterday

Yesterday was an interesting day, despite us only getting a few things accomplished. The first thing was a birthday present that R arranged for me — the Vertigo Mile in a glider. The glider idea was hers, but the Vertigo Mile was mine. I ended up in an acrobatic glider, some 5000 feet (or a little over a kilometre and a half) above African Lion Safari, at the SOSA Gliding Club, just south of Cambridge. We did a whole host of acrobatic routines, then took a 200km/h dive to the landing strip. We’d have done more, but I was sick as a dog afterwards. Here’s a photo recap:
The course looked easy enough. Some loops, a Hammerhead or two, a Half Cuban 8, and some rolls (already my stomach was turning):
gliding_course_outline.jpg
After signing a waiver, I was given a parachute and some instructions about not pulling the rip cord until after I was out of the plane. Luckily, my rock-climbing experience allowed me to strap it on without losing future offspring.
gliding_parachute_prep.jpg
Once in the cockpit, I was strapped-in tightly. Little did I know that about 40% of the ride would be spent hanging from said straps.
gliding_strapping_in.jpg
R was able to capture some fantastic pictures of me in the air. If only I’d been able to hold a camera on the inside. With 4Gs of gravity pulling on your arms, you’re lucky if you can scratch your nose.
gliding_roll.jpg
Below is a composite image of a loop. Left to right. Notice how the glider’s facing different directions. Yeah.
gliding_loop.jpg
And yes, much of the time was spent upside down, as can be seen in the following picture. My straps could have been tighter. We also did some weightlessness, some extended heavy gravity (where I could feel consciousness leaving me), and some fantastic stalls where the glider came to a complete stop before diving again. In these moves, there was a dead silence in the cockpit.
gliding_upside_down.jpg
We finished up by diving at 200km/h and pulling a half roll onto the runway. Didn’t have to use the parachute after all, though I had thought of using it at several points during the routine.
gliding_landing.jpg
I put on a brave face while in front of the pilot, but I was really very sick. We drove home and I napped for a couple of hours before heading on to our next exciting activity.
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Yes, after the acrobatic gliding, I got into the Laser and took one last outing before we brought the boat home. Bellwood Lake was pretty much empty — of people and water. The water levels were so low, we had to carry the boat 25 feet beyond the base of the concrete launch platform.
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We lead such fantastic lives, or so everyone else thinks. In truth, I took it easy — I’d had enough adrenalin for one day.
laser_sailing2.jpg