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.

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

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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.

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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,

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

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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.”

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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.