If you've ever wanted a bird's eye view of Butte County there's now a program that can give you just that while soaring thousands of feet in the air. Garry Lee had a vision 3 years ago of bringing a glider program to Oroville, and in March that dream became a reality. Lee was able to purchase a glider that was once used to train pilots in the Air Force. Now he and several other local pilots volunteer their time to take people up for rides over Oroville. A tow plane is used to get the glider in the air, and once the pilot reaches the desired altitude a cable that attaches the two planes is released. There's no engine in a glider so everything is dependent on speed and altitude. In other words, the higher you are in the air, the longer you'll be able to stay up. The flight can last anywhere from 15 minutes to just under an hour with the glider usually coasting at speeds between 40 and 55 mph.
Tow plane pilot and flight instructor Robert Kearbey says, "They just can't believe how quiet it is, how amazing it is to stay up for so long without an engine."
Table Mountain Aviation not only offers glider rides, but instruction on how to fly them as well. No previous flight experience is needed. Pilots who have been helping get the program off the ground say it is a truly rewarding experience to see people enjoying their time in the air.
"I think that's the most exciting thing. To see somebody smile after they come back from the trip and land. They get out there and they're scared to death and (after) they say 'oh that was so easy'," says Kearbey.
If you'd like more information about glider rides and pricing we've posted a link under Newslinks.