Saturday, June 28, 2008

Two dual flights

Today for whatever reason, no club instructor was available but three pre-solo students came out to the field unaware. I was planning to fly a Blanik because the PW5 is down for partial refinishing, and the Grob is away at Tehachapi. I'm not an instructor, but I'm studying to be one, so I offered to fly with them. Not as instructional flights, but at least to get in some practice and avoid wasting their day. I made it clear that the time was not loggable, and that we would split the tow fee. (One decided not to fly after all for minor medical reasons.) I looked at their logbooks to see where they are in their learning process. As PIC (responsible for the flight) and not an instructor, I planned to fly the takeoffs and landings.

Weather was favorable for thermals. While we were sitting waiting for the day to heat up, several dust devils rolled through the field. One of them picked up a whole bunch of yellow leaves from the ground and floated them up about 50 feet and dropped them on us. Crows were thermaling easily - time to get in the air!
  1. R. is a teenage boy with about 8-10 flights so far. I flew the takeoff and tow (to just above the top of the inversion), and then turned it over to him. After flying around and losing some altitude, we got into a thermal and went up 1000', back to about the release altitude. I wasn't teaching him anything new, just letting him fly and giving some pointers on centering, speed in turns, and clearing his turns. When he didn't find more sustaining lift, I took it back and did the approach and landing (not one of my best) after a 43-minute flight.

  2. S. is transitioning from power and has about 30 flights or so in gliders, including takeoffs and landings. I did the takeoff and then handed it over to him to fly the tow at about 800' AGL. Shortly we spotted a glider not far away, and about 1000' higher than us, so we hopped over to join him and found nice lift, up to about 8 knots at times. S. worked on centering the thermal and I gave him some pointers. Eventually we got up near the other ship and since I was not sure if S. has done many (or any) gaggles, I pointed out how to safely join the circle and keep him in sight. We gained 1500' in the process, way above release altitude.

    Eventually we topped out and went off in search of other lift. There was a visible convergence, so we tried to work that, and found quite a bit of zero sink - and then a lot of regular sink. He gave it back to me at about 1000' above the IP, and I did not find enough lift to rescue the flight, so we brought it back in and I landed it after a 37-minute flight.
So I got 1:20 of PIC time, some practice in flying and observing hands-off from the back seat, and flew for half price. And two students got to fly who otherwise would not have.

1 comment:

Roger Worden said...

Correction: not 120 minutes of PIC time, only about 25. After this flight, I discussed flights like this (a non-instructor allowing a student to fly) with some other club pilots and AOPA. The FAR's do not prohibit a private pilot from turning over the controls to a passenger. Although the private pilot remains responsible as PIC, he can only log the time he spends manipulating the controls. So I can only log the time for the two takeoffs, the one tow, and the two landings.