Sunday, September 14, 2008

Flying the Duo Discus

I’ve been hanging around glider pilots and the Morgan County airport for about three years now. Several pilots have told me that I need to get a ride in Lynn Alley’s Duo Discus. Not wanting to show my over-eager side I never asked for a ride.

I’ve bumped into Lynn several times and I’ve found he has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. The other day he was telling everyone about his cracked ribs, but he tells it in such a way that really grabs your attention, “So there I was water skiing in the dark…” After his brief story he looks at me and says, “Do you want to go fly in the Duo Discus?” At first I was wondering if he was really talking to me. I hope I didn’t look like…well, stupid as I picked my jaw off the pavement and wiped the drool from my lips. In a shaky voice I said yes.

You may not understand my reaction because a plane is just a plane. Isn’t it? For the uninitiated this is one of the most beautiful sailplanes you’ll ever see. Even pictures really don’t do it any justice. This is a German engineering marvel that you must see up close to appreciate its real beauty.

The top picture is from the manufacturer’s website and shows the latest Duo Discus with a longer cockpit and winglets. The second picture is Lynn’s plane on final approach to Morgan County airport.

So there I was, sitting in the front seat of a Duo Discus and not really believing that I was about to fly this thing when Lynn catches my attention by saying, “You have the controls.” I run through my checklist, give a thumb’s up to the wing runner (Lynn’s daughter, Peggy) and make a radio call to the tow plane. Moments later we are rolling down the runway and it gently eases into the air. After 2.6 hours of joyous flying we landed.

I finally have flown a Duo Discus. FYI...used ones fetch $120,000 - $140,000.


Tobi said...

The part about you wiping drool off of your face was so funny. I can relate. Just not about a Duo Discus.

Is the Duo Discus like the Ferari of sailplanes? Just trying to get a handle on the awesomeness.

Warren Evans said...

The Duo Discus is not without flaws. The gear can only be raised and lowered from the front seat and the seat itself is like sitting on a bucket. After lamenting these facts for a while after he bought the plane, Lynn finally flew it and said "All is forgiven!" It is a well coordinated plane that is easy to handle and has no bad vices. It even handles well by low time pilots like me. Is it like a Ferrari? No that would be Italian. It's more like a BMW 7 series.

Joel said...

I'm just jealous that you get to go and fly. that would be awesome just in itself.