Where Engine Out is Not an Option

October 18, 2009 by Craig Fuller

A visit to Tucson this past week meant that I could finally accept the invitation from Phil Kislak to go for a glider flight.

Phil is part of the fine people who make up the Tucson Soaring Club.  The group operates the El Tiro Gliderport and owns all the club buildings and equipment, but leases the land from the BLM.

I enjoyed two flights with Phil on a beautiful day outside of Tucson.

The El Tiro Gliderport is a beautiful field that is actually inside the Ironwood Forest National Monument.  The sites are spectacular aloft and the experience is one I will long remember.  Phil Kislak gave me not only a memorable afternoon of flying, he reminded me of how wide our AOPA’s members’ interests are when it comes to aviation.  I met some great aviators last week who regularly go aloft looking for thermals and never consider where they will land if they lose an engine!

  • Mike Moore

    enjoyed meeting you and having you visit our glider operation. I’m a retired FedEx pilot but have been in GA since 1962 when I learned to fly through the Univ. of Colorado flying club. Made a brief visit (5 yrs.) to the Navy as an aviator and joined FedEx in early ’73. Became interested in soaring after retiring in ’01 and now have an aerobatic sailplane and an aerobatic airplane. Tucson is great as we can fly all year round.

    Thanks for coming.
    AOPA # 01624383

  • Jim McSherry

    Welcome to soaring, Craig! The opportunity to fly a sailplane in such beautiful surroundings must have been fantastic.
    One comment to your closing line : you indicate that sailplane pilots “never consider where they will land if they lose an engine!” The true part of this comment is that we will never lose an engine from a sailplane which has none; but a good glider pilot is *always* looking at where he could land from the present position. It is a frame of mind that power pilots would do well to adopt, in clear VFR flight.

    I hope your brief foray into soaring was as exciting as you hoped. If you would like to re-kindle that enthusiasm a little closer to home, please come visit us at the Philadelphia Glider Council [www.PGCsoaring.org] just north of Philadelphia, about 1 hour away from FDK in the AOPA SR-20. Let me know you are coming, and I will promise you a good local flight.

    Blue skies,
    Jim McSherry
    AOPA #01292737

  • http://1.usairline.xorg.pl Mikl Corg

    Tucson Soaring Club very nyse idea. airline ticket price

  • Rich Hartman

    I have about 4200 hours in single, multi, and jet a/c. I would love to take a glider flight with an experienced instructor….possibly progress on to a rating. Can someone recommend an operation in my general area (XNA…NW Arkansas)?

    Thank You

  • Rich Hartman

    PS: AOPA and its services are great!