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» Aeroseum, Gothenburg
» Glider soaring, Ridali
» Tartu aviation museum
» Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
» Smithsonian's National Air and Space museum, Washington DC
» London Science Museum
» Riga aviation museum
» RAF Waddington Air Show 2008
» Goodwood Festival of Speed, United Kingdom
» Duxford IWM, United Kingdom
» Flying Legends air show 2008, United Kingdom
» London Imperial War Museum, United Kingdom
» Prague Kbely, Czech Republic
» Old Aeroplane Company, Australia
» Ansett Transport Museum, Australia
» War Memorial, Australia
» Canberra NASA Deep Space Communication Complex, Australia

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:: Glider flight in Southern Estonia ::

During a fun weekend, I was driving around in Southern Estonia and enjoying both the scenery, as well as the roads. In the early hours of Friday, I noticed a place name with a familiar ring to it. Ridali. It's the home to an aeroclub, where they extensively fly gliders (or sailplanes). I know because I have repeatedly been to their website for two things. When I was younger, I seriously considered getting a glider. Lately, I had been thinking about going up in a glider with a pilot for a fun recreational flight - the price is a little over an Estonian kroon for each meter of initial elevation.

Unlike the recommendation on their website, I had not booked a flight in advance. It was only 9 am, so when I arrived I that there was just one person there apart from the guard. Luckily he was very friendly and fun to be around. It turned out that it would not be a problem to go up for a glider flight that day.

Since nobody else was at the airfield yet, we pushed out the planes from hangars onto the grass airfield together. A Wilga and a smaller plane. I was surprised to find out that the Wilga is was designated as an experimental plane and actually came in forms of kits during the Soviet times to do resource extension. It showed that it's old, but it seemed sturdy enough and is bound to be ideal for short grass airfields such as this.

An hour or so later, others showed up, a glider was swiftly prepared. As we waited on the airfield, it was interesting to see that one could balance the glider to stay upright on the ground in the wind that blew across from us.

We then took off from the airfield and later released the tow cable, I found that the windy autumn day made for a bit of a bumpy ride. The best gliding season was said to be over, but we struck lucky. There were quite a few rising air columns, which meant we had an option to also go up, not just fall down. The experience was nice and relatively quiet. Sure, there was quite a bit of a whooshing noise - much like in a car. But the lack of engines meant there was no humming nor rumbling noise. The plane is very light and you feel connected with the outside environment.

On the instrument panel, there were compasses and gages relative and absolute speed, absolute altitude meters and altitude meters showing the delta or how much you rose/fell for every distance unit you flew. Mostly the airspeed was under 100 kmph, but we reached as much as 120 kmph during some bursts.

Some time later, it was time to land and continue my trip in Southern Estonia. I had other things planned - among them a visit to the Tartu aviation museum (visit report).

Photos of the visit and flight
Official website of Ridali flight club


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