Passport: Cross Country Soaring

Posted at: 07/16/2013 7:29 AM

(ABC 6 NEWS) - If you are hoping to feel on top of the world, look no further than the unassuming Fairbault, Minn. Municipal Airport.

Don Ingraham is the flight instructor, and owner/operator of Cross Country Soaring -- A glider school and experience in Fairbault.

"Most people think the engine is actually what keeps you off the planet, but that's not the case," Ingraham said. "We use a different means."

The means: catching thermals. Thermals are marked by fluffy, cumulous clouds.

The glider is towed up into the air attached to a tow plane. Then, a lever releases the tow rope. The tow plane hangs a left, and the glider is left to soar on its own.

"On a perfect day, we could glide until the sun sets," Ingraham said. "We could keep catching thermals to climb to higher elevations as we need to."

Speeds vary, depending on the conditions of the day, wind speed, and whether you're soaring against or with the winds. During my soar, we were down around 40 mph, and up to about 90 mph.

Cross Country Soaring offers one-day excursions as well as glider lessons, to become a certified glider pilot. Their website has all the details on their offerings.