Sunday, May 08, 2005

First flight in Grob 103

5-7-05 First flight in the Grob 103, a two-seat fiberglass ship. The club recently reactivated it after having put it in storage for about a year. Since it’s bigger, heavier, and flies differently from the Blaniks, the club rules require additional training, so everyone is clamoring for instructor time in it. The weather was mostly cloudy. There was lift around – several glass ships were staying up – but not really a very strong day. So I flew one 18-minute flight with a CFI. The way it’s built gives it a much more solid feel than the Blanik – none of the rattles etc. The long wings and greater inertia make it roll slowly. But it’s very slippery – it floats forever after flare and before touchdown. We did a few stalls, straight and turning. This ship will hardly stall at all – a lot of buffeting and then a VERY gentle stall. I bet it only loses about 10 feet of altitude.

My flight was fine, my landing fine, except that I misunderstood how the wheel brake worked and reached over to grab the trim handle thinking it was the brake. Later I learned from other pilots that the wheel brake is not very effective in the Grob, so I probably couldn’t feel it grabbing even when I was pulling the right handle. I figure it will take about 5 flights or so before getting signed off in the Grob. It will be a much nicer ship than the Blanik for giving passenger rides.

Aside from flying, it was a very busy day on the ground. That’s part of being in a club – everyone has to share in work. Most of the club is going on a campout next weekend, so some people disassembled and trailered the PW5, others packed up gear for it and a Blanik. I helped T and N get the pitot-static system working again on the Grob. I also helped transfer a half-mile of steel cable (used for auto-towing) from one spool to another.

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