SES Soaring Stories
Shelly Charles' Georgia Altitude Record


Hail damage on Minimoa.

I was browsing the Georgia state records and the 19,434' absolute 
altitude set in 1943 in an open single really stood out. I was
wondering if you knew any more about that record. Steve Mason -----------
Yes, I have heard the lore behind this feat. This man took a wooden 
and fabric glider [Minimoa] into a thunderstorm over a little airport south of Atlanta. This airport is now known as Hartsfield International, the busiest airport in the world and a similar attempt could cost you your license and possibly more. For the foreseeable future the FAA will continue to prohibit cloud flying for gliders, so I expect this record to outlive this generation of pilots since a record cannot be approved that breaks the regulations. Bravery (and maybe a slice of crazy) 57 years ago looks like it will stand for many years to come, and that is part of the charm of records [actually a lot of easy ones remain unclaimed or unbeaten too]Barring some extraordinary wave conditions, which are rare in this state, this is the only record that looks "unbeatable". regards Chris Ruf former Georgia State record keeper --------------------------
In January 2019 I happened to run to run into Richard Charles at
Stockmar airport. Richard goes by the name of "Buz" and is the
son of Shelly. He and I chatted for a while and I did get him to confirm what I suspected, his father's altitude record should be
1000 ft higher because it is recorded as the height above release instead of total height.

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Last modified 06-Jan-2019 by CR