Another masterpiece from Bobby Bailey. Taken at the Flytec race and rally last autumn this again shows off the sheer joie de vivre when flyers get together. At around 2.27 there is one of the best videoed loops I have ever seen and it then smoothly goes into a textbook spin. As if that wasn’t enough, the glider does it in a perfect “amphitheatre” between the clouds that shows off the perspective superbly. Now, unless you have been there yourself, I cannot adequately describe how playing amongst the clouds like this can be a peak ecstatic experience. It can have the most pragmatic (on the ground) individuals going all spiritual on you when they attempt to recall what it is like to feel like this:
“Oh I Have Slipped
The Surly Bonds of Earth...
Put Out My Hand
And Touched the Face of God ”
The full poem is called “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee who was a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War. He came to Britain, flew in a Spitfire squadron, and was killed at the age of nineteen on 11 December 1941 during a training flight from the airfield near Scopwick.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless falls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor eer eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.