Two Great Landings and No Flipped Gliders
Sun May 20, 2007 3:04 pm
[ Currently: Listening to Tom Petty ]
My class on Thursday afternoon was canceled (gotta love when the instructor is sick) so with nothing to do that afternoon I decided to head out to the flying site to hang out and watch. It was a nice day, sunny and not too hot. I got to watch the WillsWing pilots test fly a bunch of gliders. (WillsWing is the local Hang Glider manufacturer. They test fly every wing they build.) What a job that would be. Drive up the mountain, fly down, fill out a report, drive back up again. I also met up with a pilot I met online (www.hanggliding.org) named John. He has an excellent write up of his learning experiences that I read through at least a couple of times. http://www.johnwright.com/hanggliding/. His brother was out for a weekend of Hang Gliding fun. There were a lot of people flying that day, more than I have seen before. I was really cool to see all those gliders in the air at once and to meed the pilots later.
Friday I got to do another tandem flight. This was pretty much the same as last time, except I forgot some of the landing procedure (wish I could have less time between lessons) and Rob had to correct me. I got us there though and Rob was able to set it down in a nice no step landing. After that it was break time as John's brother was flying his second radio assisted solo flight. Rob uses the radio to talk you through the landing procedure and guide you in. Then it was off to the bunny hill for my first flights with the Falcon. The Falcon is a good beginner glider but unlike the Condor that I flew last week, it is a real Glider, not a trainer. With the Falcon's smaller wing area it takes more speed to get it in the air, but it is much more responsive to control than the Condor. I also found it much easier to hander on the ground.
There was no babying this lesson, we went right to the top of the 90 foot training hill. It was a little intimidating to stand all the way on the top of the hill with something I have never flown before. I went for it anyways and noticed the more responsive controls right away. I think I even over controlled a little on the first few flights. I soon got the hang of it (no pun) and Rob was little more than just a ride to the top of the hill. He didn't have much to do. I was getting good at maintaining a consistent speed, while keeping the wings level. Once you get low to the ground you have to begin to break by pushing the bar out. Pushing out too much and the glider will rise, so there is a tricky balance. I found myself slowly easing the bar out as I approached the ground, and gradually increased the “bar out” as the speed reduced. I had a few no-so-great landings but I never whacked the nose or flipped the glider (like last week.) I had a couple of real nice no step landing that made me feel quite confident. I was able to get about 15 or so flights in before the sun went down. I was really a lot of fun.
Video of two of my flights:
After the lesson we talked about buying equipment and the next lesson. I would really love to buy a nice new shinny glider but I am leaning towards buying a used one now. A new glider would cost me about $2900 and thats without the harness, reserve parachute and helmet. Also if I bought a new glider now I would have to wait a month or two before I could buy the harness and stuff. However I could get a whole setup used for about the same as the cost as a new glider. That would get me flying right away. I would also have to wait until the middle of July before the new gliders are available. So I think at this time it makes more sense to buy everything used and later on upgrade one piece of equipment at a time. I have also started looking at how to store and transport the glider. I should have enough room in my garage for the glider but it may be a tight squeeze. My Dad's Suburban would be ideal for transportation, but I don't necessarily have access to that everyday so I think I might have to build an elaborate rack for my Civic.
I decided that I would not be comfortable to solo on my next lesson. I am not very confident on the approach. I was able to schedule another tandem lesson for next Friday and then I should be ready to solo on Sunday. This will give me only one day between lessons instead of a whole week and I think I will be ready come Sunday.
The level of excitement continues to grow.
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