Saturday, August 19, 2006
J and L took off in the Blanik just a few minutes before I would have, and they ended up getting at least an hour flight. It turns out that a shear line, which I had been seeing in the distance all early afternoon, worked its way into the valley and they were able to fly it over to the "S" ridge and back. I probably could have too... I've used convergence lift before and this one was quite visible (the Serengeti sunglasses help a lot). So by 3:30 I was kicking myself for not having gone up. I should have trusted my instincts and gone up even though the wind was blowing out the thermals - that shear line was really obvious.
I finally got my PDA / GPS system working again. It seems that one of the airspace files I use was corrupt or at least causing SeeYou to crash. I went back to a smaller airspace file and now it's working fine.
Next opportunity: club trip to Tehachapi over Labor Day weekend. We'll take a Blanik and the PW5.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
- The SSA awards the A, B, C, and Bronze badges for successive levels of soaring accomplishments.
- The FAI awards the Silver, Gold, and Diamond badges
The Bronze Badge is supposed to signify that one is qualified and prepared for cross-country flights. The requirements for the Bronze Badge are:
- Have received the C badge
- 15 solo hours in gliders, including 30 solo flights
- 2 solo flights of 2 hours each
- 3 solo spot landings
- 2 dual spot landings with instructor with no reference to altimeter
- Pass the written exam with at least 80% correct
Our club ran a Bronze Badge / Cross Country workshop last winter and then administered the Bronze written test. I had already fulfilled most of the solo time and flight requirements, but still needed the duration and no-altimeter spot landings. All last summer and winter I seemed to have bad luck with the thermals. But I finally completed the 2-hour flights in June (see "Longest Flight So Far") and July ("Booming day! Best flight yet").
Today I completed the two no-altimeter spot landings. That's really not an issue - I've been in the habit of doing the whole pattern by visual angle estimation for a long time. I never look at the altimeter in the pattern, and don't always use the vario either. The first time I consciously did a no-altimeter landing was as a surprise requirement of the last flight of my Practical Test.
I was never very motivated by the A, B, and C badges. At the time I was much more interested in getting my Private Pilot certificate. But the Bronze seemed a bit more significant, and I'm rather proud of that tiny metal pin.
I'm now looking ahead to the Silver... I've already exceeded the required altitude gain a number of times, but I've never recorded it on a barograph or logger. So that's my next step. The distance goal will be a little tougher, and I've been doing a bit of planning for my first true cross-country flights.