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Doc Bryant

Short Final for 22 December

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From Avweb's twice weekly on line newsletter....Short Final:Overheard December 18, 2003, at a local gliderport...A moment of silence everyone, for today we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the tow plane.Doc Bryant

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Laugh if you like, Louis. But that was correct. Gliders were flying before powered planes. Otto Lilienthal did some of the first hang gliding designs that the Wright Brothers followed in designing their first gliders. The Wrights developed a small wind tunnel to do the research that led them to powered flight with a man aboard.The first powered flight of a model aircraft was by Samuel Langley of the Smithsonian Institution, but was not be scaled up successfully to the size needed to carry a human pilot. His design was too flimsy, and failed miserably in the man-sized version.Jerry K. ThorneEast Ridge, TN

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Gliders indeed may have been invented first. I have no problem conceeding that point.But when was the last time you took the Glider Shuttle between DCA and LGA?Oh how thankful these glider types (or sail plane enthusiasts) should be. Without tow planes they would be out looking for two large trees and a larger gum band to slingshot them into the skies.Doc Bryant

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Funny you should mention that rubber band idea. Think of a very BIG Bungee cord! One of the first books I read about gliders when I was in high school mentioned that very method of launch and also winch towing from one end of the runway to get them up into the air where thermals are nearby for a better lift skyward.Jerry K. ThorneEast Ridge, TN

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And don't forget "auto tow". I got checked out for that behind an old ford pickup when I earned my glider add-on rating in California. Almost was an IFR launch due to all the blue oil smoke from the beat up old truck. :-)Ed Weber a.k.a tallpilot

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Jerry and Ed are absolutely correct. Aeroplanes and trucks were only invented so that glider pilots could get up in the air more easily. Before these adjunct devices, they had to drag their gliders all the way up a hill - very tiring.I'll go even further, Jerry, and say that airplanes are really only good as chase planes, and trucks as land transport, for the true pioneer of flight, the aerostat.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/54345.jpgCelebrating 220 years of human flight! Not only that, but at the 200th anniversary, the replica flew with no problem, in a rain storm at that! I was there.Although a Van's kit is somewhat more practical, I'll give you that.Best regards.Luis

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Virgin Gorda?Mighty good Blue Marlin fishing in that neck of the woods!And wonderful Aerostat Brother Luis. Although I still am partial to a Zeppelin.Doc Bryant

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