Sunday, November 9, 2014

Humble Beginnings

You’ve got places to go, there’s gas in the tank, you set out your gear last night, and have your stuff in a heap by the door… you are ready to go!  But admit it.  It’s happened to you, too, rider-readers. The clock read nearly 11pm by the time you got home from work last night, you couldn’t quite wind down, the alarm went off before the sun lit up the sky, there’s a bit of a chill in the air this morning, and…  as much as you love to ride, despite the street cred you stand to earn by arriving at this particular destination on a red Ducati, well, 80 miles of super slab just doesn’t sound inviting this groggy, foggy morning.

So, yeah, I put on my lazy pants and took the car.  Make that, rode in Pilot Guy’s car.  He was driving, anyway.  It was just so… easy.  I even sort of dozed on the way.

But something about rumbling down Ak-Chin’s Regional Airport runway 04, tethered to a Dragonfly Ultra Light Aircraft by a slim cord, with face only feet from the pavement, woke me up.

My God, but we’re flying!

Sonora Wings Aerotow Take Off
The obvious question: could we be launched by Ducati?  I believe the answer might actually be yes.*

We’re not connected to the Dragonfly for long. Soon, the tow rope is unceremoniously detached – poof! - and our tow plane playfully spirals and spins down to earth below us.  We’re left to soar in silence on our own…

Sonora Winds Tandem Discovery Flight

I get to maneuver the hang glider a bit myself (“just like steering a shopping cart”), but the Sonora Wings instructor, strapped in a few inches below me, takes care of some “mild acrobatics,” and the surprisingly gentle touchdown.

A nearly 90 degree lean angle is not generally characterized by motorcyclists as “mild.”

Lean Angle
Me: “Whoa.”

Lunch? I think I forgot to eat.

I humbly dedicate this post, and our exuberant day of soaring, to Mark Knight, who died the very week I had hoped to meet him; to all those that lose their lives in pursuit of flight, whether it be skimming across the earth’s surface on two wheels, or flying a bit higher up, amongst the clouds; and finally, to those, including Marla VandenBerg, who are left behind to grieve their loss.  Some people’s hearts insist their bodies join them in flight.  Joy belongs to those that heed the call.

* It seems it is possible to “self launch” (code for “run off the side of a mountain”) in a tandem arrangement. But, not surprisingly, the first timers tend to stop running before it’s time, leaving the instructor in quite a predicament.


Ken said...

Pilot guy is spoiling you! ...and for good reason. Keep having fun!

Eating On Two Wheels said...

Thanks, Ken. This one was actually my gift to Pilot Guy. But you're 100% right: he spoils me rotten. I keep warning him he'll have only himself to blame...

redninja said...