Saturday, November 05, 2005

A useful sled ride

The forecast for today was lousy, 250' lift and a 5000' inversion top. No one was staying up. But since I had not flown for a while, and not much at all yet in the PW5, I wanted to fly anyway. With very stable air, no traffic, and essentially no thermals to pursue, I decided to use the time to finally try out my PDA/GPS combo, work with the speed-to-fly indicator, and work more with the radio controls in flight.

The main problem with the PDA/GPS is that the screen is not bright enough to see with my sunglasses on. I kind of got the hang of looking at some of the numbers, such as the AGL, airspeed, etc. (After reviewing the trace on the ground, its recommended speed-to-fly seems consistent with the STF indicator on the vario. But I want to learn more about the flight computer settings for next time.) The numbers for the glide ratio required to reach an airport are WAY too small. So... I think I'm going to have to shop for gradient sunglasses.

Aside from the stuff I was doing with the instruments, it was just pleasant to fly around. In stable air, the PW5 takes only a very light touch on the stick. I found a little zero-sink. A 4200' tow turned into a 30-minute glide.

My landing was straight and very smooth... but short. I think I am using the runway as a visual cue for the landing area, and that is just wrong. I've made a note for next time to specifically look for the landing-zone cone.

I'm now up to 39.5 total hours.

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