Sunday, October 09, 2005

Two passengers

Saturday I took two friends for rides in the Grob 103, M and his son K.

K is a 13-year-old who goes to my church and is somewhat interested in aviation. He'd been waiting all summer for our schedules to coincide. The day was hazy and about 75-80 degrees, a cold front having just gone through. Wind was about 12-14 kts at 45 degrees to the runway, and I decided it was OK. (Later I checked and that works out to a 9-10 kt crosswind component. I was comfortable with the wind, and it did not cause any problems on takeoff or tow.) Lift was forecast at 250, and it that's about all we got. We took a 3800' tow, nearly to the top of the haze layer and a bit below the few clouds that were around. About 5 minutes into the flight, I noticed I had no yaw string! K was OK with the flying and turning, so I went ahead and worked some of the weak lift and zero sink, and we got a 31-minute flight out of it. The crosswind was still present at landing but not a problem - I even got a compliment from someone on the ground about my nice straight landing.

I had tried to take M before in the Blanik L13, but since he's 6' 7" he was too tall. But he fit in the back seat of the Grob just fine. He gets motion sick but has been soaring once before and wanted to go again. I promised to take it easy. The wind was still about the same, brisk but not too strong. (This time I added a yaw string! I think we should put that on the daily inspection checklist.) We again went to 3800' and let off in light lift which promptly disappeared. We flew around a while and found less lift than last time. I think the haze/smog was inhibiting the heating of the ground, and the wind was blowing out the thermals. M had a good time looking at the nearby lakes and finding the route we had driven in on. There wasn't much lift to work with and M started to feel slightly ill after about 20 minutes so we came down, making it a 26-minute flight.

I was high on late downwind and base leg, so I used a turning slip to bring us down, which worked quite well. Landing in the crosswind was again OK - I seem to naturally find the correct slip angle for a straight approach. But I let my speed get low at the very end and probably stalled at about 3" to 6" above the ground - a bump but not too hard. So that's on my things-to-practice list... I have never done that in the Blanik or PW5, so maybe it has something to with the apparent attitude from the cockpit, or the effectiveness of the spoilers... I need to watch the speed more closely after the flare.

Another thing to remember with the Grob: an instructor pointed it out and I have noticed it too. The Grob rolls into a turn rather slowly, so you need to start the turn from base to final just a bit earlier than you might think, or you overshoot the approach and have to make a more-than-90-degree turn to final, which is NOT a good thing.

I'm up to about 39 hours of logged time.


Anonymous said...

Your loss was someone else's gain: the stable air made for excellent wave conditions saturday. Pilots out of WS were pushing up against FL180 east of San Jacinto.

lisabrinick84331422 said...
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