HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Eric Carden is a man on a mission. He is flying his glider, a self-launching sailplane without an engine, across the country.
“It’s a tight space with a lot of stuff in it. Its been said that you don’t get in a sailplane, you put one on and that’s not too far from the truth,” Carden said.
He and his team left Huntsville for California in May to start the 2,100 mile trip towards the East coast. He landed in Mississippi on Friday.
“After yesterday’s flight it was 77% so maybe I’m almost 80% as of today, somewhere around the 16-hundred mile mark.”
He made it to Alabama on Saturday. He relies on very specific wind and heat patterns to keep the glider afloat for anywhere from three to eight hours a day. It can be a slow process.
“We got stuck near Lubbock Texas for almost a month,” he said.
He says it is undoubtedly worth it.
“Flying gliders is really challenging and engaging, anything with a motor I’ve flown, eventually it becomes mundane,” he said. “But with a glider you have to read the sky, think ahead, a lot of planning. It’s like a chess game in the sky.”
Carden said being in the aviation industry already, this challenge is one he has been wanting to take on for a long time, and he calls himself a lucky guy to get to call it his job for these past two months.
“Its a very small office, but it has a great view,” Carden said.
The team will continue their journey to the East Coast depending on the weather, for more information on his progress, click here.