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First Flight, part 2

Posted 04-15-2008 at 06:54 PM by Crumb

The take off is a bumpy ride down the grass runway. But it is very short. Before I know it the glider is rising. (But my stomach stays on the ground.) It lifts above the ground before the tow plane and the glider pilot has to keep down so as not to lift the planes tail and send it into the ground.

Once the tow plane starts to lift the glider things feel more solid. It is a nice time for me to look around and enjoy the experience, but for my instructor it is the most challenging part of the flight, following the tow plane.

The plan takes a left turn and we fly back over the field to climb to 3,000 feet. At 3,200 feet George (my instructor) pulls a stomach dropping up and down maneuver and I pull the yellow knob to release the tow rope. The tow plane goes left and we go right.

Now all we hear is the rushing of air around the glider and the distant hum of the tow plane. It is very cool being up there. The lessons on the first flight were minor. A little rudder practice, a few turns, some orientation. The view is amazing, the day is perfectly clear and I can see Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens all completely covered in snow.

The whole thing is over much too fast. After a good 20 minutes of glider flying we are approaching for our landing. Approach should begin at around 1200 feet, parallel to the runway to the right of it. Then with two well timed and positioned left turns the glider is lined up with the runway and dropping below 500 feet. Using the dive brakes to control the speed one should be able to pick a spot and land on it.

George executed a very soft landing and brought the glider to a halt just short of the stop line.

I was ready for another, but with the busy day it would have to wait until the next day.
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  1. Old Comment
    inland wave's Avatar
    Oh Crumb, how exciting! Can't wait to hear about your next flight lesson.
    Posted 04-19-2008 at 09:39 PM by inland wave inland wave is offline
  2. Old Comment
    ceptimus's Avatar
    Takes me back!

    We normally only tow up to 2000ft in the UK (thermals here are usually smaller but closer together than in the USA - also cloud base is probably lower, on average).

    The pawnee is a powerful tug. I was normally towed by a Super Cub, though I was once towed up by a Tiger Moth (old low-power biplane); I was flying a K8 glider that time - the Tiger Moth pilot was a keen sailplane pilot himself and at 1000ft waved me off (signalled for me to disconnect from the tow) as he knew we were flying through good lift.

    You'll love it once the weather improves enough for you to do a few more flights - then you'll start doing most of the flying yourself - first while you're up high, then the take-off and aerotow and soon after that, the landings! :)
    Posted 04-21-2008 at 07:11 PM by ceptimus ceptimus is online now

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