Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ups and downs (mostly downs)

The weather forecasts looked good for soaring today (77-80 on the ground, much cooler aloft, no wind), and for some the conditions worked. But not for me this time. There seemed to be an inversion up to about 4500' MSL or so. Some of the big ships who got above that could work lift up to 6000' or more. But I never got above release altitude in the PW5. I found some heavy sink, and the little lift I found was no more than zero sink. I was down in 22 minutes. J also flew the PW5, for 55 minutes, but most of his time was down low. I think it was because of the heavy cirrus clouds that came in after noon. I really want to get in some good soaring. I haven't had a long solo flight since last spring! And my next goal is two 2-hour flights for my Bronze badge.

The PW5 is really fun and easy to fly! Its handling is so light that it's nearly effortless. The audio vario was acting up, though... noisy, scratchy... so we need to check the speaker system.

I still need to work on my aiming point. I seem to aim about 50-100' too short, and end up trying to float into the box. I know why, and I know what I need to do, but by the time I get lined up on final with my altitude and speed correct, I forget to carefully look for the marks I need to hit - I just seem to aim for the beginning of the "smooth" area of dirt, which is much too early.


Anonymous said...

The #1 problem w/being a "weekend flyer" is well... Being a weekend flyer! Gotta fly when you and the glider are available at the same time...

I contemplated buying my own glider, but thought "I'd still be in the same weekend-predicament". So no-go on buying until I'm (permanently) retired and (I learned this from powerplane ownership) I live very close to the gliderport ie fly when conditions-are-best and play w/the dog the rest of the time.

Now, the SSA has done studies on "why people leave gliding" and the #1 reason (by far) is "rigging". So the instructors out in the desert admit tie-out (w/covers) is what they'd do.

60 days to mega-lift...

Anonymous said...

If you approach gliding the same way you do power flying, i.e. go to the airport for a 1 or 2 hour flight, with the intention of going to play golf or something with the rest of the afternoon, then rigging and other little inconveniences can easily drive you away from gliding.

If you become a committed cross country pilot, flying 5 hours at a time and devoting the entire day to your flight, then rigging becomes a relatively minor issue.

The worst part of rigging, by the way, is not putting the wings on, but taping the gaps afterwards.