A few weeks ago, Gary Boggs of Northwest Sky Sports and confidants Tim O’Donnell and Kelly Cooper occupied Lakeview Airport with a unique sport.
Boggs, a glider pilot by trade, made waves at the airport, which he says has been more than amenable to his cause.
Boggs started flying 35 years ago and was one of the founding members of the Willamette Valley Soaring Club. Shortly after receiving his instructor’s license 11 years ago, Boggs moved to Hood River to give flying lessons and tours.
“I do mostly rides,” he said. Teaching people how to fly is different and takes longer, according to Boggs.
It’s a time-consuming process with no exact science, which is noted by the variance in lessons it takes for one to completely familiarize his or herself with the process.
“I estimate that somewhere between 20 and 40 lessons, they can do it on their own,” he said.
The science of glider planes is not unlike that of a balloon.
The analogy Boggs gives is that of blowing up a balloon and dropping it down a distance, that’s how slow glider planes fall from the sky once in the air.
Getting them in the air requires either a towing plane or a towing truck, both of which Boggs owns.
Towing planes and trucks have spools of wire with a hook at the end that the glider planes are latched onto.
Once the tow reaches optimal speed and the gliders are high enough to manage on their own, which occurs at about an altitude of higher than 700 ft. for longer flights, the tow releases and the planes soar.
In addition, he also owns four glider planes, investments he made once he retired. Make no mistake about it: glider planes are not for transportation, but for recreation.
They result in a thrilling ride and their fun nature is the reason thrill-seekers keep going back. Boggs, O’Donnell, and Cooper were kind enough to take me for a ride. While it certainly isn’t an adventure for the faint of heart, it also isn’t as bad as one might fear.
Truth be told, it was scarier driving in the bed of the towing truck and racing down the runway at maximum speed than it was being strapped into the backseat of a glider plane. It’s more exciting than it is scary, and it’s something everyone should do at least once.
“This is pure fun,” said Boggs. “That’s the only reason to fly a glider.” Boggs, O’Donnell and Cooper have been at the airport for almost two weeks.
For more information, call Boggs at 541-490-5557