Welcome to Southern Eagles Soaring

Southern Eagles Soaring (SES) is a glider club based at the Butler Municpal Airport located, in Butler, GA. Butler is approximately 55 minutes west of Macon. Southern Eagles maintains a towplane, and a fleet of club Gliders (also referred to as sailplanes). Several members operate their privately owned gliders, either alone or in partnerships.

Flying a glider - soaring - is fun, safe, educational, and a beautiful experience. The central Georgia area is an ideal site for inland thermal flying. Because of the commuting distance from Atlanta, Auburn, Columbus, and Montgomery, our club is comprised of members from Alabama and Georgia.

The Tow

For those new to soaring, this is how we get airborne. The sailplane is connected to the tow plane by a 200 foot rope. We fly a close formation behind the tow plane. The aircraft used for rides and instruction is a two-place glider. The student or guest, usually sits in the front. The FAA certificated pilot sits in the rear. Both positions have controls, and the sailplane can be flown from either position. The two ships climb in formation for approximately five minutes to approximately 2,000 ft. The pilot releases the sailplane from the rope by pulling a lever in the cockpit, and gently banks away to the right...and it gets wonderfully quiet. You may be invited to take the stick and fly the sailplane for a while, if you like! 

The Flight

On a good soaring day, a sailplane can stay airborne until sundown. An ideal soaring day is one in which the air is cool and dry, the wind is light, and the sun is hot. Cumulus clouds gather at the top of warm, moist thermals and mark the lift for us. We can circle under these clouds, gaining altitude as we watch world get smaller. On a good day we can climb a mile (5,280 feet) in about ten minutes, then it's time to head off and do some sight-seeing over local towns and the beautiful country side. We keep an eye out for red-tail hawks or turkey-vultures to soar with. Most gliders perform best in the 60-70MPH range. However, if you're in a rush to get home, most of the newer ships are rated for at least 160MPH. When we decide to land, we can bring the sailplane into the pattern in just a few minutes. Sailplanes take off and touch down around 50MPH.

The Magic

Easing back on the stick raises the nose of the sailplane, and at 50MPH there is very little sensation of forward speed or vertical motion. The pilot and passenger can speak to each other in a normal voice. From a mile up in calm air, we could theoretically do a straight glide all the way [37miles] to Peachtree City in a 37:1 glider. Gliders provide an extremely comfortable perch high above the Fall colors or the Summer greenery. Sailplanes can be quiet and stable, delivering a solid, smooth ride. With their high red-line and G-load tolerances, they can also provide you with a roller coaster ride. 

The Kid in You

He's in there somewhere...


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Last modified June 3, 2022 10:06 PM by CR