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Glider Liz is top of the world in ranking list
IT IS somehow fitting that the world’s top ranked womaen glider pilot should live in Chilbolton, just yards from its former RAF airfield but the connection ends there as home to Liz Sparrow’s machinery is to be found at Lasham Gliding Club, just over 20 miles away near Alton.
Liz’s journeys in her chosen sport are ideally long and smooth but her career path was not predetermined by anything achieved by family or friends. “Just simply I had a trial lesson out of Dorset Gliding Club and was immediately hooked” she recalled adding that just three months later she was qualified enough for her first ever solo flight. “It was exhilarating and I had a huge grin across my face” said Liz in response to a suggestion that sheer terror might play a significant part in procedings.
That happened in 1990 and from then on events moved on a pace with a series of badges passed which are an endorsement for pilots to fly across country rather than stay within local aviation limits.
Liz was quick to point out that gliding is far from an expensive hobby, despite many people’s believes stating” “There is an annual membership of which might be as little as £200 and you pay for the launch and hire a glider. It’s cheaper than golf!”
Most of her flying is now done at weekends where she says that everyone mucks in at Lasham but Liz joined Shalborne Soaring Society in 1992 and soon became involved in local competitions before regional rated races showed her potential and gave her a national ratings.
She flew in Club Class in what are essentially point to point races guided by all manner of maps and GPS systems plotting her route, which typically would send her above Lasham up to Towcester in Northamptonshire and across the Cotswolds to Winchcombe before returning home.
Once airborne Liz seeks out the best thermals to help her climb and explore the route conditions, using her knowledge of cloud formations and the lie of the land to best effect.
Full story and pictures in Friday's Advertiser