Autobiography by Three-Time World Open Class Champion George Lee

George Lee (the first pilot to win three successive World Championship titles, all in the Open Class) is in the process of getting his autobiography published. In the meantime his website is .

For those of us who started soaring in the 1970s, George Lee is a living legend. He is without a doubt one of the most talented glider pilots of the Twentieth Century. I am thrilled to learn that he is working on his autobiography. It should be on the 'must read' list of every soaring enthusiast.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, George joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1962, where he enjoyed a 22 year career flying Phantoms and other RAF aircraft. While in the RAF, he became fascinated by gliding and earned a glider license. In 1970, he entered his first gliding competition and won! Thus began an illustrious career in gliding, which would culminate in becoming World Open Class champion in three successive World Gliding Championships: 1976 (Finland), 1978 (France), and 1981 (Germany). In recognition of this extraordinary feat, George was awarded the Lilienthal Medal, the FAI's highest award for gliding.

After leaving the RAF at the age of 38, George moved his family to Hong Kong to begin a second career flying 747s for Cathay Pacific Airways. In 1999 he and his wife Maren decided to move to Australia, where they currently reside. Here's an excerpt from his website.

"Maren and I left Hong Kong in 1999 and we set about getting a new house, a hangar and an 'airfield' constructed in quick order. The first gliding course took place the next year and the courses ran for ten years, coaching pilots from Australia, UK, USA, Austria and South Africa. Our nearest town is Dalby, some twenty minutes drive away, and the locals have been tremendously welcoming from the beginning. The area we live in is called the Darling Downs and it offers good gliding conditions for much of the year."

George still owns a glider and still enjoys soaring, though not in competitions.

"Competition flying apart, I love gliding for its own sake. Powered flying can be both exciting and satisfying but gliding has a special appeal. There is the draw of being one with the forces of nature. There is the challenge of utilising sun generated thermals over a full day to fly distances of up to one thousand kilometres and even further. There is the peace of gliding and the special thrill of sharing thermals with large birds of prey. Given the hustle and bustle of modern living, to experience peace and to get in touch with our inner selves are attractive options."

I urge you to visit George's website, which contains a large gallery of photos, a brief autobiography, and his blog. The Soaring Café will announce George's book as soon as it becomes available.

Rand Baldwin

Rand is a Soaring Cafe Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief.Fascinated by soaring since early childhood, Rand learned to fly sailplanes while in graduate school (at Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics), and earned his private glider rating at Yankee Soaring in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He joined the M.I.T. Soaring Association in 1974, where he completed his Silver Badge and became a flight instructor. After moving to Huntsville in 1977, Rand flew and instructed on weekends at Eagleville Sailplanes south of Nashville, Tennessee. In 1985, he and a handful of other soaring enthusiasts organized the Huntsville Soaring Club at Moontown Airport. Rand chaired the 1996 SSA National Convention and has served as an SSA Director-at-Large, SSA Governor and State Record Keeper for Alabama. He has set two U.S. national soaring records and many AL and TN state records.

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  1 comment for “Autobiography by Three-Time World Open Class Champion George Lee

  1. John Seaborn
    June 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    George is an inspirational figure with a great story to tell. His keen outlook, deep understanding of competitive soaring and very great range of aviation experience is sure to make for a very interesting book. Beyond this he is proof positive that good guys finish first. I am looking forward to the read.

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