ONCE UPON A THERMAL by Richard A. Wolters


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Tired of writing dog books, aging but longhaired Dick Wolters looks about for a new thing, is waylaid by soaring (some call it gliding or sailplaning). The present book is about how he writes The Art and Technique of Soaring (1971) for his ""swinging editor."" Thermal's exciting stuff with powerful reader identification. Wolters trains in New Jersey and finds that soloing is a long way off: a glider pilot must learn to think almost constantly, except for very rare moments when he's utterly alone in the silence of the great heights and can just sit there. Nearly all the rest of the time he's either searching for thermals (updraughts of warm air); being whipped above by a thermal; trying to get out of dead air; or is looking for a farm to land on. He's thinking and reacting hard because his life depends on it (no motor, you know). Wolters begins training cavalierly, gets sucked into developing more skills than he first wants, wins badges for height and distance flying, and finally enters the grueling ten-day National Championships. Now he's thinking of hot air ballooning -- but it doesn't seem half so thrilling as soaring, at least not to us. We're ready for our first lesson.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1974
Publisher: Crown