Sunday, April 01, 2007

Some work and some fun

Saturday we did some more maintenance work on the Grob 103. We took out the seats and some of the interior coverings so we could clean and lubricate all of the accessible linkages. One of our club members has over the last couple of weeks installed several replacement instruments and repaired the landing gear doors. (He's qualified as an aircraft mechanic - it's great to have him as a member!) That's one of the nice things about being in the club: I get to learn to do minor work on the gliders, and there's always someone who has done it before. All that needs to be done now is to get the weight and balance recalculated. That was supposed to happen yesterday, too, but the inspector had a foul-up with his equipment, so it'll have to wait until next weekend. We're all eager to get the big ship flying again, for several reasons:
  • It's a more attractive ship in which to take someone for a ride.
  • It's more comfortable than a Blanik L-13 for some larger club members
  • It soars beautifully. I think I can feel the lift much better in the Grob than in the others.

The afternoon shaped up into a really nice soaring day. Lift was plentiful and relatively strong. The ground temperature heated up to 86F, about 6 degrees higher than forecast and 10 degrees higher than my calculated thermal trigger temp. My thermal tops forecast was 5200' MSL and the NWS's was 6685.

I took off about 2:00, and had a weird tow. The tow started off fast, about 70 kt instead of the usual 60. I kept getting strong lift on tow, got out of position on the high side and got *lots* of slack. I never lost sight of the towplane but did have a big loop of rope under me. I was able to get it out but it was the worst I've ever seen - I usually have very little slack line. The next time the vario showed a really high rate of climb, maxing out at 10kt, I released, at 2600' AGL = 4100' MSL. I got into the lift right away and took it up to a bit over 5000' pretty easily and went in search of more lift. In three or four decent thermals I worked it up to 6000' MSL and that's where it seemed to top out. I cruised over to the Ramona Bowl and back... not very far, but in a different direction than I usually fly.

When my hour was nearly up, I tried some stalls, but the PW-5 doesn't really stall very much for me. It just kind of mushes down. I then tried pulling up more steeply, and it stalled but it pretty much recovered itself.

After I landed, with a 0:56 flight, the next fellow took off at 3:36 and got a 2.5 hour flight nearly to Elsinore, returing on strong shear line lift. I heard some folks got to 7 and maybe 8,000 feet.

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