July 15, 2016

Day Ten — Epic Odyssey

Luckily, the weather has improved — so today we venture into another type of flying machine, courtesy of Blanik Aircraft. Based near Prague, Blanik designs and manufactures an advanced, all carbon fiber glider aircraft. So off we go this morning to Benesov Airport (LKBE), a grass airstrip about 30 minutes from Prague. Our host is the CEO of Blanik, who has arranged for three of his gliders and aerobatic pilots to introduce the Epic team to a Blanik aviation experience. With our pilots sitting front seat, the Blanik pilots directly behind, and the Wilga tow plane in front, the gliders are instantly airborne, climbing quickly until release. As the day is still overcast at 2,500 feet, the gliders stay low, but the Blanik pilots are still able to take each participant through a series of hammer stalls, loops, and low passes. It is both exhilarating and serene, the peace and quiet complemented by the thrills of the aerobatic maneuvers. Everyone has a chance to glide and universally comes away with a smile of appreciation. The rest of the group enjoys a free day to further explore the charms of Prague. That evening, we all gather for a group photo by the river, followed by dinner on the terrace of the Hergetova Cihelna, a restaurant overlooking the Charles Bridge. This is our last night in Prague — AND in Europe — so we wander the streets, enjoying the music, lights, and sights of this entrancing city. Tomorrow, onward to Russia!