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Sailplanes at Torrey Pines

Sailplanes at Torrey Pines

March 2, 1953: A sailplane soars above the ocean at Torrey Pines, near San Diego.

Los Angeles Times aviation writer Marvin Miles reported in the March 9, 1953 Los Angeles Times:

Ever ride the wind?

Ever slide down a sunbeam, wheel on a fountain of air, skim like a gull in the sibilant laugher of space?

There’s a thrill in soaring that can’t be matched by the flashing speed of a jet fighter or the massive strength of an intercontinental bomber.

It’s a breathless sensation of pure flight, with no dependence on the shuddering drone of engine power, only the jubilant whisper of an updraft–buoyant, invisible ally of sailplane enthusiast.

At Torrey Pines, a world famous glider port near San Diego, I watched the long-winged ships launched over the high cliffs, saw them caught deftly by slope winds deflected upward from the sea, followed them as they played 1,000 feet aloft like varicolored falcons in a helter-skelter merry-go-round.

The grace, the ease, the freedom of this flight call seductively to the groundling, for here is personified – perhaps better than in power flying – the ancient lure of escape into the trackless realm of the birds. …

March 2, 1953: Motor winch on truck is used to launch sailplanes at Torrey Pines. The planes are towed by a wire cable that is dropped when the craft has become airborne. Credit: Phil Bath/Los Angeles Times.

March 2, 1953: A score of sailplanes gathered at Torrey Pines for a day of soaring. Each rests on one wingtip, due to the fact each craft has a single wheel. Credit: Phil Bath/Los Angeles Times.

March 2, 1953: Sailplane maneuvers above cliffs and sea near Torrey Pines, favorite flying area for several national and international champions. Credit: Phil Bath/Los Angeles Times.

These four photos by staff photographer Phil Bath accompanied Miles’ story in the March 9, 1953, Los Angeles Times.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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