Richard Eyer Smith's Excellent Adventures in Paradise

Monday, July 19, 2010


My first thought after I crashed the glider was, "Get out! This thing might explode!"


For a pilot recently transfered to the California High Desert, the thought of earning a glider rating is downright irresistible.

I drove out to the little Mojave Desert airstrip and took a demonstration ride. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. I had flown power planes for about ten years, but I'd never experienced the quiet, bird-like flight of a sailplane.

Oh, I was hooked!

The following week, I went for my first formal flight lesson.

"Bad news," the instructor said. "We don't have a pilot to fly the tow plane to get us airborne."

"Bummer," I said. "I really wanted to get started."

"I have an idea," he said. "You already have your pilot's license and you did seem pretty comfortable in the glider. If you like, I could fly the tow plane and you could just go ahead and solo today."

"Excellent!" I was going flying today after all.

Together, we pushed the glider to the end of the runway. While he went to get the tow plane, I did the pre-flight inspection. Then, just before the tow plane arrived, a car pulled up and a fellow got out.

"I'll hold the wing up, if you like," he said. That would be helpful, as it could be tricky getting started with one wing dragging on the ground.

I climbed aboard and as I continued my preparations, the tow plane taxied in front of me and the stranger hooked up the tow rope.

Neither of us saw the problem.

When I was ready, I kicked the rudder pedals back and forth, the signal for the tow plane to head down the runway and we were off!

In just a few feet, the glider felt light on it's wheel and then I was airborne.

Wheeee!! This is awesome!

We continued to accelerate down the runway with me holding the glider just a few inches above the ground. I waited for the tow plane to lift off.

Mid-field, and it was still on the ground. Three-quarters of the way down the runway and the tow plane still hadn't taken off.

"Odd," I thought.

Now, the runway end was fast approaching, the tow plane was racing along the ground and I was getting worried.

My concern changed to near-panic when I saw what was wrong. The rope had tangled itself in the tow plane's tail. With my weight tugging his elevator down, he wasn't going to be able to take off.

If I didn't pull the red release knob this second - THIS SECOND! - he was going to crash and then I was going to crash into him.

If I did release, he might be able to fly and then I . . . well, I'd go off the end of the runway. Then I would crash.

I yanked the rope release. The tow plane leaped into the air. I flew off the end of the runway and crashed into a patch of juniper bushes. Dust flew everywhere and I had that silly thought about exploding.

Luckily, I wasn't hurt. The glider only had minor damage and I went on to get my glider rating in the next few weeks.

I tell this story because it has a relationship to getting started as a network marketer. I'm at that point, skimming along, just ready to take off in this business. Just like that day in the desert, I have to make a decision. I have to take immediate action or this thing will never get off the ground.

I'm ready to fly!

How about you?
“Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.” -- Dale Carnegie, Author and Self Improvement Lecturer

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