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  1. #1

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    I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    The title says it all. There are a pair of Bald Eagles that soar around our local field every so often. And today one was thermaling right over the field so I took my electric glider (really a park flyer with a glider like wing and brushless motor, but soars beautifully) up to the thermal with the eagle. We thermaled together for about 5 minutes and then we started to spec out so I had to bring my plane back in before she flew away on me. But for that 5 minutes, it was just me and the eagle. The people at the field were joking me about how the eagle was going to have my plane for lunch and things like that but the eagle didn't seem to mind one bit. It was as if I was just another bird taking advantage of the same updraft. He just did his thing and I did mine. But we were so close a few times. I don't know how you guys feel about this kind of thing but when I am sharing a thermal with another bird there is something magical about it. And when it is something as large and beautiful as a Bald Eagle, well, let's just say it was a little taste of heaven for me.

    Eric

  2. #2

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    So exciting, I'm envious of you and can only guess at the thrill. Here in southern CA we don't have eagles in our flying field, but today a beautiful hawk flirted with a soaring glider. When one joins my thermal, I feel the same sort of thrill you experienced, but likely not the same degree. Treasure it! Thanks for sharing!

  3. #3

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Tunabiker, I will definitely treasure it! Good advise! Hawk or eagle, still a beautiful bird and a special experience. Even when I am soaring with a few buzards I get excited. But hawks and eagles make for an even more unique situation.

    Eric

  4. #4

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    A raven came by just after I tossed my Turbo-S sloper.. usually these guys don't hang around.. this one stayed and played..
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    Sparky Paul
    http://www.angelfire.com/indie/aerostuff

  5. #5

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    NICE PICS! I like your glider too. Looks good in the air. I bet it soars even better. Yea, I just assume that the birds look at the gliders as just an odd looking bird to share lift with. Just as if they were joining buzzards in a thermal.

    Eric

  6. #6

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    The local raptors tend to be "disturbed" when a glider invades their airspace. I guess it's because they fly for a purpose.. eating!
    Ravens seem to fly for fun, but the ones I see most of the time will avoid the plane, it's rare they'll let it get close or even fly with it.
    The plane is a CR Turbo S, a smallish (56" span) wingeron sloper. Handles well in light to moderate winds..
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    Sparky Paul
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  7. #7

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Well I like it. One day I'll have to get a more aerobatic glider. I've never had one with ailerons, glider that is. I don't live near any places to slope soar so I'd probobly get a powered glider. As for some birds liking to just soar and others not liking you in their airspace, I find that the smaller nesting birds will come after my plane and try to strike at it. Or atleast swoop down on it in a threatening way. It's kind of funny. I think they think I am after their eggs or something.

    Eric

  8. #8
    Wayne22's Avatar
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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    I consider it an honor that the birds will share the air with us..I thermalled my Zagi with a hawk one afternoon...but the hawk is a wee bit more suited to thermalling, and he left me behind after awhile...it was a pretty good thermal to keep the clunky Zagi up..

    Although not thermalling, the most amazing site I have ever seen was a squadron of Pelicans..about 6 or 8 of them - follow my delta winged jet around for two complete circles..I was flying high, wide, and slow, and they had no problem keeping up from the inside of the circle..and of all the people watching this, nobody thought to take a picture!!
    All I ask is for a chance to prove that money can\'t make me happy......

  9. #9

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    We get migrating pelicans twice a year thru here... looks like a giant white ball of stuff until the flock gets close..
    Here's some with my EX-Whizard in amongst them..
    The closeup shot, the wind noise from their wings was quite audible.
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    Sparky Paul
    http://www.angelfire.com/indie/aerostuff

  10. #10

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Forum software can't edit images properly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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    Sparky Paul
    http://www.angelfire.com/indie/aerostuff

  11. #11
    Wayne22's Avatar
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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    yup, that them...i had never even see a pelican outside a zoo before, and certainly not flying.....

    Caught your caption....
    All I ask is for a chance to prove that money can\'t make me happy......

  12. #12

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Turkey vultures come thru here northbound in March, and southbound in November. Other than that, seeing any large bird of prey, or even the pelicans is rare.
    I have seen a Bald Eagle... looked like a plank, and a Condor, enormous, and been buzzed by a Golden Eagle while taking photos of belly flowers, but usually it's ravens. No crows. Apparently the two won't mix.
    And a raven won't scavenge a dead raven!
    Over to the west at the Rock in Castaic, or up at Grass Mountain, there's an occasional Turkey Vulture, but they tend to stay in the forested areas, not out over the flats of the desert proper.
    In the springtime, I see lots of snakes dangling below Red Tailed Hawks.. Not a good idea to be a snake out in the daylight.
    Oh, yeah, the Flight Test Hangar at Palmdale has resident Barn Owls.. Ravens share the building on the outside, they love to slope on the west side when the wind is right.. Fly just to fly..
    Must be nice.
    Sparky Paul
    http://www.angelfire.com/indie/aerostuff

  13. #13

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    What a great experience! I remember a new glider pilot trying his first solo flight at our field, a hawk tried to rip it to shreads! He quickly handed my the transmitter and I brought it down with wide, fast circles, but the hawk wouldn't let up. Another newb thought a flyby with his slimer Sig Kadet would scare him off, and he turned on it, too! It took a BVM Aggressor at 200mph to draw him away, then he left well enough alone.

    On the other hand, I have flown with other hawks, packs of seagulls, and once wiht the most beautiful great white owl I have ever seen (made my Spirit 100 look small :O). It's always a special experience.

  14. #14

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Wow Mike, an Owl! Now that would be a unique experience![X(]
    See, I have always thought that soaring is its own unique flying experience. What I mean by this is that you can fly a trainer and then a 3D plane and then something scale and enjoy different flight characteristics. But they all still have a common link: They all need power to stay up in the air. But with a glider, you might need a motor to get you up there (or might not) but once you're up and you cut the power, the difference begins. The feel is completely different than any other type of flying and the sense of freedom is strong and unique. And to take it further, as stated in these particular posts, you are much more at one with the sky and the birds. I just think that flyers who fly powered planes exclusively understand and/or appreciate these experiences.
    Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to start a "what type of flying is better" discussion. But instead I am just expressing why I enjoy soaring so much.

    Eric.

  15. #15

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Out here in Santa Fe we frequently fly slope with ravens and vultures. They both like to see me roll into a loop and I think they feel like they just chased a bigger dog out of their yard. They are not nearly as amused when I roll her nose up at the bottom of the loop and come screaming right back up at them. They tend to spread their wings out stiff, shake their heads back and forth and give me a good old *****ing out when I do that. The do enjoy it enought to hang around and see if they can convince me to dive out again, though. That or they're into 'Big Gals' and have romantic interests in my Gentle Foamy.
    Perry
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  16. #16
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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    We have a few Pelicans here in the midwest and one flock went by during a flying session. Several guys went up towards them but I let them know PDQ not to molest the wildlife. That could lead to a bunch of bad PR. Those with the black on the bottom back of the wing are White Pelicans. I have followed Mo. Turkey Vultures into thermals before though . and I might join some gulls out at the dump... er I mean slope
    Yes dear, I did glue my hand to the airplane to keep from dropping it.

  17. #17

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    inverticle, where abouts are you flying? a friend and i have been flying sailaires up in greene county.
    once in a while a few birds will show up but not very often.

  18. #18
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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    I live in North wast Florida and I soar with buzzards nearly every time I fly my gliders. Sometimes they will check the glider out at maybe 10 feet away. It looks closer than that but I don't want to exaggerate. I fly at home and the buzzards must roost near here. They are around year round. I have several Purple martin houses and it is time now for them to start coming in from South America. I expect 30 or 40 to nest with us every year. They are almost tame. I think they really like people. When they have babies they will dive at the gliders. I think they think it is a predator.

    Jerry
    He who hoots with the owls can\'\'t soar with the eagles!

  19. #19

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Shared a thermal with two Red Tail Hawks yesterday.

  20. #20

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Sometimes I can get my light 3D nitro planes to slow down to idle and do a few flat turns with the birds.They dont seem to have any issues with the noise and often initiate a closer encounter

  21. #21

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Hi all.

    Try to look into the following :

    www.iggnorge.com - Reportasjer - VΓ₯rlige vinder pΓ₯ Bud.

    There is actually a picture of a modelsailplane on a slope. It is escortedt by mot less than 3 seaeagles.

    Wow - would i like tro have been that lucky ******* of a pilot or that lucky ******* of a fotografer !!!

    KR

    hld - OY-9901

  22. #22

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    Amazing picture, Hans. The one above it is interesting, too. (Even if we yankees can't read the text )

    Here's the full URL. You'll have to scroll about halfway down to see the picture he's talking about.

    http://www.iggnorge.com/default.asp?...tent=189&mnu=6

  23. #23

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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    While in Unalaska, which is located out the Aleutian Chain of islands in Alaska's Bering Sea, I soared for hours with the Bald Eagles. I am wondering if anyone has experienced the following behavior:

    Immature Eagles would follow my Bird of Time and Cadbury Eraser Combat wing, whilst the mature eagles would tuck their wings and get as far away as possible. I had three contact encounters with the immature eagles, where one actually got his talon caught in the horizontal stab of the Cadbury Eraser. He twirled to the ground and was uninjured.

    I thought this behavior was unique to Unalaska, so I found a small slope in Yakutat Alaska and same thing occured with my Weasel. Immature wanted to play, and the Mature ran like hell to get away from it.

    Any comments?

  24. #24
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    RE: I soared with a Bald Eagle today!

    How about this for flying with a soarer (I saw this on the TV news):

    A hang glider pilot found a buzzard's egg, took it home. It eventually hatched, but the bird never really left the guy's house. It grew and they have been.. yep, you guessed it, flying together for the last 5 years. The "pet's" name might be loosely translated as "Blondie".
    Best regards,
    Bruno.


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