- Your Voice
Terry Ketron/Special to The Explorer, Tow plane pilot Andy Durbin takes off from El Tiro Gliderport with a glider in tow. Once at the predetermined altitude, the glider pilot will disconnect the tow rope and each of the aircraft will turn in the opposite direction from each other. The sailplane pilot will then look for lift from thermals, which are rising columns of warm air, or ridge lift, rising air generated by wind blowing up the side of a mountain ridge, in an attempt to stay aloft longer. Some pilots have flown hundreds of miles by means of these naturally generated sources of lift.