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Skim through the skies over the Green Mountain State in a newly restored 1959 American Champion, two-seater airplane with veteran pilot and photographer Shirley Chevalier to learn what prompted her to take up flying at age 40, and what’s kept her climbing into the cockpit for more than 20 years.
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Humans have thought about flying under their own power since they first looked up at the sky. Hang gliding is a way to fulfill that fantasy. For many, the image of hang gliding is running off a small hill and staying up for a few seconds. With the proper training, hang glider pilots can launch off the side of a mountain and stay aloft for hours at a time, thousands of feet up in the air. Host Marianne Eaton takes a lesson at the Morningside Flight Park in Charlestown, New Hampshire and then joins a pilot for a tandem ride at 2500 feet.
A flight in a glider is unlike any other airplane experience. No engine. No noise. Just the sound of the wind and your own thoughts. Gliders fly on rising pockets of warm air called "thermals." These are the same thermals hawks use to soar to great heights. Gliders can climb thousands of feet and, under the right conditions, travel great distances. Vermont provides a number of ideal locations for soaring. One of them is Vermont's Mad River Valley, home to the Sugarbush Soaring Association. Located at the Warren Sugarbush Airport, the Association is made up of about 150 members who come from all over New England to fly glider planes. The Association gives glider rides to those interested in possibly learning the sport. It also sponsors a summer youth camp for two weeks, giving kids between the ages of 13 and 17 a chance to learn to soar. The learning curve for young people is fairly steep. Adults can expect to spend up to forty or more hours to learn to soar, depending on their abilities. But the first step is taking a glider ride. Host Marianne Eaton visits the Warren Sugarbush Airport and joins Ron Webster, president of the Sugarbush Soaring Association, for a glider ride high above Vermont's Mad River Valley.