Sunday, August 28, 2005

Spins in the Blanik L-13

I should have done spins a long time ago, but for various reasons I never got to them until now. The FAA does not require spins as part of the PPG practical test, they just require that you demonstrate awareness of them. I had done a lot of reading about them, and had done them a number of times on my simulator (Sailors of the Sky), so I felt if the situation came up I would know how to react. I know, I know: that's not the same as having training... so this weekend I arranged it with an instructor.

My biplane ride (see last week's entry) included a 2-turn spin, so I knew what I was in for. The downward part was not bad, but entry was kind of extreme: it seemed to me that the nose was quite high and we winged-over, like entering the spin from a chandelle. Maybe that was intentional, since it was a "thrill ride".

We took the L-13 up to 4000' AGL and the CFI demonstrated the first one. Then I did two myself.

You really don't have to nose up much, only about 30 degrees. Then when it stalls, kick in the rudder. The nose drops, and then it starts turning as the nose points to the ground. I know it's not vertical: according to the Blanik specs the nose is only 60-70 degrees down, but it sure feels vertical. But there was none of that wing-over effect, it just smoothly went down and started turning. With a turn rate of about 3.5 seconds, it was not at all disorienting or dizzying.

Full opposite rudder, push the stick to about the center position, and it comes right out of the spin after just part of a turn. CFI emphasized not pulling out of the resulting dive too sharply.

I think both of my spins were about 1.0 to 1.5 turns. I earned a "very good" in my logbook. People on the ground said it looked like fun - and it was!

1 comment:

Bill said...

Told you they were fun ;) Never flown a Blanik, but did a lot of spin training in a Ka13. You don't acually have to "raise" the nose to induce a spin. Just hold it level with the horizon, put on some slight bank (pretend you're in danger of undershooting your approach and so you're trying to conserve height by flying slow and not banking much into your final turn - yeah, I know, terminally stupid thing to do for real, but it's been done) and over-rudder into the turn (this is the critical bit). Then as she stalls, try to hold off the wing drop with the stick (without easing the back pressure to fix the stall - this is the other critical bit) and keep the rudder on. She'll slide into a spin as sweet as you like. I'm told it's these kind of spins that catch you by suprise and do the damage down low. I guess the moral of the story is to understand that you don't need your nose to be raised above the horizon in order to cause a spin, it can happen from what looks like a perfectly normal flying attitude. Anyway, glad you enjoyed your spin-training. Stay well.