Saturday, April 30, 2005

PW5 second flight

An interesting day, weather-wise. Rain a couple of days ago, so it wasn't exactly a post-frontal day. High cirrus until about noon, then that cleared out and the sun started heating things up. We could see CU in the distance, but all clear air at our field. Early landers said there was a lot of lift but a lot of sink too. When I went up, it took quite a while to find ANY lift but I eventually kept finding decent stuff. (Hard to tell how strong it really is - the vario in the PW5 seems really nervous to me - big swings up and down. I don't think I'm flying in and out of it that badly. But maybe that's just a result of how light the ship is compared to the Blanik.) I was up about 5800' MSL when CU started forming right where I was, and it just got more and more puffy over the next hour. I topped out at 6300' MSL. Up in the 5-6 range there was lift all over the place - but BUMPY! Bounced me around pretty good - I'll just have to get used to that, since the PW5 seems to react really fast. I stayed up an hour - that's our club's time slot size, and I thought another guy was going to want to go up again. (I should have checked by radio - he had already left!)

VERY smooth landing, right in the box. Having two inflated tires instead of a hard tailwheel makes it much nicer. It was so smooth and quiet that no one from the club noticed I had landed.

Some dual glass ship joined me in a thermal for a while. He was higher, so it was easy to keep an eye on him. I've gaggled before, but this time I think I was climbing faster than he was, and he was making a bigger circle, so I tended to climb up inside him which made me a bit nervous. I lost sight of him a couple of times but we were never quite at the same altitude so it worked out. He eventually headed away before I topped out.

I also shared a thermal with some seagulls at about 4000' AGL.

Next time I definitely need to try the Camelbak. A water bottle just doesn't fit in the PW5's pocket.

I practiced again keeping track of my location with a map. We have a topo map that's been conveniently marked with names of local landmarks. (I haven't gone far enough yet for a sectional to be useful.) I spent a bunch of time thermaling over a little lake with a campground, and realized I had camped there with my parents when I was about 10! At the time I had no idea where we were... but the name on the map and the layout of the lake matched my memory.

At the end of an hour I was pretty well done anyway. The PW5 takes a little more concentration than the Blanik, especially for speed control.

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