Saturday, May 22, 2004


5/22 - Ground school with T, 2.5 hours on aero and ground tow procedures, stalls, spins.

One flight. Variable head/crosswind about 10-15 kts, but I had a real good takeoff. I intended to go to 4000' AGL and try the test sequence, but I pulled off at about 2800 AGL because I kept getting lots of slack - lots of turbulence! I did put up the landing gear - first time. I found a bit of lift and stayed up about 25 minutes. Really got bounced around a lot, tough to have good speed control when thermaling.

On approach, wind was strong right down the runway. Instead of shortening my downwind, I extended it. Fortunately I was high. I used too much spoiler then had to close them up and try to extend my float. I had to avoid a glider in the right front spot. Touched down about 50' short but very smooth and very straight. When I stopped, I had a nice headwind so I "ground flew" for a good 15-20 seconds before letting the wings down.

J suggests I not worry so much about hitting the front of box 1 - I just need to touch down IN box 1 and stop IN box 2. He's right, since my rollouts had been quite long in the beginning before I got good with the break, I've been tending to try to keep all the box length available. I should aim closer.

J suggests M's approach to slack removal: don't yaw, just get dead center and level and let the glider bounce the slack out gently two or three times.

C gave me a cable spool to use for half the autotow cable. I took it to the field to check it out... the right size, but it needs a wooden hub instead of cardboard.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Written test practice

5/15 - No soaring.

Worked a lot on the ASA written test practice guide. Glider test is NOT the same as power, so there's a lot I can skip... but I do some of the power questions anyway. Really going well!

E6B is really nice!

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Ground school

5/8 - Ground school with B.

Three pattern flights. Pretty good - I'm writing this later and don't remember any details.

Ordered a Sporty's E6B flight computer.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

10,000 feet !

5/1 - Ground school with M, about 4 hours on FARs, airspace, VFR, charts, preflight checking. Also new ideas on diving approaches.

Then a solo flight in N8. A big day for firsts and personal records:

  • First time using my radio gear (handheld, headset, and joystick-mounted push-to-talk button.
  • First flight with a map, using it to identify landmarks.

Awesome lift - 800-900 ft at times. Also awesome sink - 800 to 1,000! I thermaled to 8600, 9300, then 10,300, my highest ever!

J. came over in the PW-5 and shared a thermal for a while.

With over 9,000 ft, I flew over to the ridge, about 8.5 miles across the valley. The night before, I had calculated how high I needed to be to get there and back to the IP, and so it was an easy decision. I got back to the IP area with about 3K to 4K to spare, so I practiced some new stuff: turning slips, and dives with spoilers (up to 80 knots). I also did two straight-ahead stalls.

Then it got interesting. I got to the IP at 1000', but in sink. Apparently that distracted me enough that I didn't finish the FUSTALL checklist, so I wasn't trimmed for 55kt, and I did not get a look at the wind sock. Sink continued all the way on downwind. I closed flaps to half (should have closed all the way). I ended up cutting the corner, in front of the racetrack, not doing a base leg, and hardly using spoilers at all. Then when I was in float, I was about 15 degrees crooked. I misunderstood the crosswind (it was from the right and for some reason I thought it was from the left), and straightened up just before touchdown. Then because I had the wrong wind in my mind, my corrections on the ground were wrong. I didn't touch a wing, and didn't drag the nose, but I was all over the place. Not at all smooth!