Saturday, November 8, 2008

Soaring with HATS

I've been a member of the Houston Area Tandem Society (HATS) for two or three years, but my stoker and I have never managed to get together with them on one of their rides. So, when the HATS newsletter announced a Saturday ride in Fulshear, I though we'd give it a try. After all, Fulshear is our usual riding venue on Saturday. This wasn't to be an ordinary ride though. Kevin Shaw of HATS is a soaring instructor and flies regularly out of the soaring filed near Wallis, Texas. Kevin arranged introductory glider rides for any HATS member who wanted to go up.

Since Teambent was riding from the City Hall parking lot at 8am and the HATS ride didn't start until 8:30, we unlimbered the XBike at the City Hall lot and said hello to David, Danny and Ken. Then we cruised over the HATS ride start. There we met, Hugh and Becky, Kevin and Jo, and Mike. All rode beautiful upright machines.

It's a quick 13 miles over to the Greater Houston Soaring Association field just outside of Wallis. I am a licensed pilot but I haven't flown in 20 years or so. The last flying I did was a few glider rides. I decided not to go up, but did convince Liz that she might enjoy the ride.

Jo, Becky and Liz watch while Kevin gives us a tour of what's in the hanger.

It's close quarters in the glider.

Here's the Soaring Field seen from 3000 feet.

Wallis, Texas seen from the air.
We had great fun on this trip and enjoyed meeting new tandem friends. I'll probably follow up with Kevin, our instructor, for a few lessons and maybe certification. We did find that our DF friends suffered under the same misapprehensions as most DFer's. One of them remarked that "One day all Boomers will end up on recumbents." Maybe we can change their perceptions if we continue to ride with them from time to time.