A simply gorgeous glider for Ailsa’s Theme

Ailsa’s new travel theme is simplicity, and she quotes Leonardo da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Yesterday, hubby and I drove up the road to watch the annual Virginia Air Show. We were intending to actually buy tickets and go inside, but when we drove up, there was no inside parking. The parking in the roads around there was absolutely chaotic, so we decided to watch from the beach; much simpler.

It was a beautiful mid winter’s day, and we sat down on a sand dune to await the start of the show.


It was such a clear day, and we could see the city of Durban quite plainly, even though it’s about 8 km away.


After seeing a couple of jets doing their manoeuvers, I was quite unprepared for this wonderful sight. An AJS-1 glider was being tugged into the air by another plane.


It was the first time in many years that such a spectacle had been seen at the show, and I was totally mesmerised by its silence, and the simplicity of its beautiful lines. It was like watching a beautiful giant bird, as it silently soared overhead,


and even did some aerobatics, which weren’t all that easy to photograph.


Here you can just see the pilot and owner, Oscar Goudriaan. I read in a report that he said about flying in this stunning aircraft, “It gives me a great sense of freedom whilst also challenging my abilities. A good friend once said it’s like having a conversation with nature.”


A glider is a heavier-than-air aircraft that doesn’t depend on an engine to fly but uses thermals or rising currents of warm air to propel it upwards. It sounds like it works on very simple principles, but I’m sure there’s a lot of skill required to fly one of these. Oscar certainly made it look like simplicity itself, and I was enthralled. To my mind, this was the most elegant star of the show.

68 comments on “A simply gorgeous glider for Ailsa’s Theme

  1. I would be terrified to fly one–I’m sure the principles can be simple but math, physics, geometry and all that stuff was never easy for me. Great photos.

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  4. Quite elegant. I can imagine the silence in a plane like that, no engine noise, just the rush of the wind…
    Sounds quite spectacular!

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  6. Gliders are a joy to watch 🙂 I had a trial flight in one once, an older wood and fabric design. It seemed odd listening to the whistling of the wind as we turned and banked looking for occasional thermals to gain some extra lift. The most disconcerting thing is the approach to land – knowing you haven’t got an engine to give you a bit of extra lift if you’re coming in short, not that the instructor would have let that happen! Lovely images of a graceful beast 🙂

    • What an amazing experience that must have been. I was also wondering about the landing bit. It must take such a lot of skill, but what about the very first time one tries it? 😯
      I’m sorry you had to sit in my spam for a while. 😦

      • Most definitely not your fault 🙂 The landing approach is a bit higher than that for a normal fixed wing aircraft and is controlled by spoilers on the upper wing surfaces which disrupt the lifting airflow. I think there is a very high level of training at gliding clubs so they all know how to handle the landing phase. But they tend to operate from large fields where landing can be in whatever direction best suits height and wind conditions (though they do operate from runways too). Totally different to light aircraft where there is a fixed landing direction on a single runway. I really noticed the difference though – so much lift compared to our old Cherokee which climbed very well on full power but glided like a housebrick 😉

  7. such a perfect choice ad! my father used to fly a glider, he loved the freedom and silence … certainly a big improvement on the airforce planes he flew during the war …. so glad you thought to share it here 🙂

  8. really wonderful post , great photos , I can smell the mist in the air , and ( from my suitcase ! ) 🙂 see how gentle breeze caressing your face have nice day my friend with love maxima

  9. Truly, a wonderful day in Paradise. The only thing better may have been watching the gliders from the hammock with an appropriate adult beverage.

  10. If I lived where you do I would not bother going to join the crowd at Virginia Airport, but rather sit just where you were… The glider must be such a thrilling aircraft to fly in… you, nature, the winds and the ground… must be a total adrenalin rush…

  11. Great shots AD! Looks like you had the best view for sure hon. Thanks for sharing. 😀 *hugs*

  12. I love machines that are silent or nearly so…. and that don’t rely on fossil fuel to run. Great catch, Sylvia. I bet it was even better watching it out on the beach.

  13. Wonderful sights to see a glider in real life. I would love to see one. Thermal helps keep the plan stays in the air for a long time but I think the hard part is to find where the thermal area is. Seeing big birds gliding around is one trick, I have be told.

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