Joan Leonard from Bardfield Saling, near Braintree is no stranger to high flying. She may be 83 years old but having already enjoyed hot air balloon rides both in this country and over the Serengeti Game Park in East Africa, she was not to be deterred when her family gave her a voucher to try her hand at gliding.
She arrived at the Essex & Suffolk Gliding Club at Wormingford near Colchester full of enthusiasm and was soon getting her briefing before her flight.
Securely strapped into the front seat and with an instructor flying the aircraft from the seat behind her, she was launched into the air at 70 miles per hour, climbing at 45 degrees to reach a height of nearly 2,000 feet. The acceleration on take-off was like a racing car – 0 to 60 in about 2½ seconds, but after the initial climb the flight became a lot calmer, circling above Essex with views across Suffolk and as far as the estuaries and the coast.
Good views are fine but the flight also gave Joan the opportunity to try the controls and to see how it is that gliders manage to fly without engines and looking at Joan’s smile it is easy to see how much she enjoyed the trip!
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