88: A Gift Of Soaring & Soaring Across America: Bill Palmer & Eric Carden Interviews

Bill Palmer is our first guest pilot we will hear from on this episode.
Bills soaring journey started in 1991 when his wife gave him a glider flight for his Birthday . It was with the now famous Bob Wander in Minnesota. Bill had recently qualified as an A320 captain with Northwest Airlines at the time, but had not flown gliders before nor had any exposure. He started with The 2-33 northeast of the Twin Cities. With the private check ride approaching squashed by winter, he picked up the following May (as Minnesota melted) and decided to simply push for the commercial, which he then completed.

He continued to fly with the Minnesota Soaring club until 1995 where he flew an ASK 21, ASK 7, K8, & an SGS 1-23. Some pilots would do cross country trips with their own gliders, mostly downwind dashes with
a crew to follow in a trailer. Not having access to a crew, Bill put that out of his mind and enjoyed taking friends for rides and working through the A through Bronze badges, and completed the silver 5 hour
duration and 1000 meter gain flights. Bill would have to wait 23 years to complete the silver distance.

Bill moved to San Diego California in 1995 and didn’t seek out soaring there until 2012, after a couple of moves he realized that Sky Sailing was only about 40 minutes away. He checked out in their Grob 103,
102, and SGS1-26 and 1-36 and had a fun time being able to climb to 12,000 feet and play the how-
long-can-I stay-up game, while stretching his goals all within gliding distance of the airport. 

Bill is also the author of the book “Understanding Air France 447” Its About An A-330 that crashed into the Atlantic North of Brazil in 2012.   

His Soaring goals are to Learn to use the water ballast in his ASG29, for longer and faster cross country flights and hopefully a 750K. Bill also wants to continue to share his enthusiasm to
current and future soaring pilots to fan their aviation flames and ambitions.

(38:00) Soaring Tales with Dale. Dale brings us a story on this episode about bow wave. Have you ever experienced this?

(41:30) We also have a very special Tips & Techniques segment for you on this episode!
Eric Carden has an exciting journey ahead of him this coming summer as he attempts to cross the the entire United States in a glider! Eric started flying hang gliders in 1993 while a sophomore in college, he briefly flew paragliders, and started flying sailplanes in 2015.
He also owned and operated a powered ultralight business for several years, flying and teaching in weight-shift and three-axis aircraft. He has taught others how to fly hang gliders and powered ultralights. In 2011, he started giving beginner to advanced coaching of paraglider,
hang glider, and sailplane pilots in thermaling and cross-country (XC) flying. He has created a free online thermaling and XC course and He’s passionate about soaring (especially cross-country)… and about helping others have more fun soaring!
To pay for his fun, he works as a mechanical/aerospace engineer. 

For our Safety soaring Segment we go back to Oshkosh 2019 Where we interviewed Riley Speidel live on location under the wing of her aircraft for the 50th Anniversary Celebration. All this and more now on Soaring The Sky!

2 comments on “88: A Gift Of Soaring & Soaring Across America: Bill Palmer & Eric Carden Interviews
  1. Eric Carden says:

    I enjoyed talking with you, Chuck! I apparently failed to explain one key part of why I chose a 13.5m-span glider… my desire for an ELECTRIC powerplant. GAS-powered 15m and 18m self-launchers are probably at least as capable at self-launching as my electric 13.5m glider (MORE capable in at least some ways). I just didn’t want the extra complexities and maintenance costs of a gas-powered engine. As far as I could tell, though, no 15m or 18m ELECTRIC-powered gliders could self-launch as capably as the 13.5m glider I chose. It’s electric…! 🙂


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