Sunday, May 04, 2003

Cloud base

5/4/03 - Got there way before anyone else, so I washed the Blanik and did most of the preflight inspection, except for things that take two people or a few items I didn't understand. There were broken clouds at about 4500' so we waited a while.

Again with P. He released us at 2000' AGL because we were in lift, and then we (mostly he) worked weak lift all the way up to the cloud base. It turned out to be higher than reported, and we topped out at 5000', staying up for 45 minutes. He showed me how the darkest part of cumulus can have some pretty strong lift just below it - we flew some very straight lift and kept going up and up. I also played with the trim and now I think I understand it. I did many circles, getting the hang of flying by attitude (pointing the nose along the horizon) and keeping the yaw string in my peripheral vision, only occasionally glancing at the instruments.

Really good tows - he gave it to me at just 100' the second time out. Good practice with spotting traffic. We had two others in our thermal for a while - that's kind of cool. I'm having a lot of trouble remembering to use rudder at the beginning of the turn! Stick & rudder, stick & rudder!

We did another flight of 25 minutes. I could steepen my banks, I guess, I haven't been even doing 30 degrees. He did a 50-degree bank that made my head swim a bit - that'll take some getting used to. I flew to the IP, planning ahead by about 200', did the whole landing checklist and followed along in the pattern. First time, there was quite a wind, so the downwind leg went really fast. By the time we were done, it was nearly 100% clouded over, so the lift was gone, but we did loiter in zero-sink for a while.

Only one other guy flying today, so I hung out and learned about tying down and securing.

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