Monday, January 01, 2007

Passenger flight

My younger daughter N wanted to go for a flight for her 19th birthday, so we went out on Saturday. The forecast was mixed... it had the potential to be a good day if it heated up enough. We took off about 1:30. I flew from the back seat to give her the better view. No one was reporting any decent lift, so we took a 4000' tow to ensure that we'd get a decent flight time of we didn't find any lift. We found a little bit of 1-kt lift late in the flight, not enough to sustain us. So we ended up with 27 minutes... a bit more than a sled ride but not much.

Critique: The variometer in the back cockpit only goes up to 5 knots, so on tow I found myself looking around her head to see the one in the front seat. This proved to be a bit of a distraction. Just as I was getting ready to release, after visually clearing left and right, I noticed I was a bit out of position high, and lost sight of the towplane. I nosed down a bit, caught sight of it again, and released immediately.

On final approach, I seemed to be a little high at the last minute, rounding out very close to the start of the landing box instead of well in front of it. Again, I think the view from the back seat is a little limiting, and I think I was looking around her head to the right and left for alignment, instead of having a clear straight-ahead view. So I kind of fixed on my aiming point incorrectly, and ended rounding out AT it instead of BEFORE it. That has not been an issue on previous flights from the rear seat. But it all worked out... we didn't float very far, and touched down and stopped well within limits.

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