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End of 2016 Season Gliding Flights

TL;DR: I spent another great Saturday up on the airfield at Hope, BC. These were my final flights of the season, and I was focused on strengthening my gliding skills.

Flight 15

Goals:

  • Back into flying after a 5 week break; aim is to fly smooth and speed-controlled gentle and medium turns, flying the takeoff, tow, release, manouvers, circuit, and landing.

Conditions at CYHE:

  • 15ºC at ~10:30 AM briefing, partly cloudy, light rain anticipated to roll through the Hope valley. Some blue sky patches to the east, but cloud rolling in from the west.

Flight record:

  • Flying: C-GVSA (Grob 103)
  • Tow: C-FAXQ (Cessna L-19)
  • Instructor pilot: Dave P
  • Takeoff time: 11:53
  • Landing time: 12:58
  • Logged time for this flight: 0:19
  • Total glider flight time: 0:00

Remarks:

  • I flew the entire takeoff and tow; a little bit bumpy off the field, partly because I didn’t gently pull back on the stick as is preferable, e.g. waiting for the nose and centre wheel to lift on it’s own.
  • Very smooth flying conditions, huge contrast compared to consistent turbulence and bumpiness back in August.
  • Very confidence building experience with flying the entire tow, especially because it was such smooth flight.
  • Released at 3000 ft over the middle of the bowl.
  • Getting back into coordinated medium and steep turns after 5 weeks without flying.
  • Flew the high key point over the Huskey station, still at about 1300 ft., did another coordinated left 360º turn, checked the two wind socks on the field, and flew to the Knoll, Dave took over the low key reference and final two left turns, lined up for the landing.
  • I handled all of the landing, although I was a little bit short (technically landing in the shorn long grass) and I should have flared the nose up a little bit more in the last few feet above the field.

Flight 16

Goals:

  • Practice gentle stalls, more assertive stalls, and stalling into a spin (hard rudder) and recovery.

Conditions at CYHE:

  • Still about 15ºC, light showers rolling through the valley to the west.

Flight Record:

  • Flying: C-GVSA (Grob 103)
  • Tow: C-FAXQ (Cessna L-19)
  • Instructor pilot: Dave P
  • Takeoff time:
  • Landing time:
  • Logged flight time for this flight: 0:00
  • Total glider flight time: 0:00

Remarks:

  • I flew the entire takeoff, much smoother this time with gentle back pressure on the stick, very smooth and predictable flying out from takeoff, good options lookout etc.
  • I handled the entire tow, including a box-the-wash with Daniel in AXQ; went down through the prop wash, to the lower left (a bit too far left,) top left, top right, and a bit of an aborted lower right before returning to the high tow.
  • Released at 3000ft over the center of the bowl again.
  • Practiced a few gentle stalls, more aggressive stalls, slow flight and coordinated (speed controlled) turns at about 40kn.
  • Dave demonstrated the more assertive stall and hard rudder to enter the spin, I repeated this 3 times with good CALL practice and lookout every time.
  • I handle the entire circuit entry, additional turn to lose 200ft to enter the high key at about 1100ft, flew the entire downwind leg to the reference point and low key; flew last two turns and entire final approach; very smooth landing.
  • Quite happy with this flight, reinforcing skills etc, feeling far less apprehensive and evasive about flying today compared to back in late August; cooler temperatures and fairly chilled club operations seem to help.

Flight 17

Goals:

  • Slack rope on tow practice, spin and recovery practice, try to find some ridge soaring lift, circuit and landing practice, etc.

Conditions at CYHE:

  • Still about 15ºC, patches of sun but scattered clouds and mixed weather.

Flight Record:

  • Flying: C-GVSA (Grob 103)
  • Tow: C-FAXQ (Cessna L-19)
  • Instructor pilot: Andrew N.
  • Takeoff time:
  • Landing time:
  • Logged flight time for this filght: 0:00
  • Total glider flight time: 0:00

Remarks:

  • Flew the takeoff, again a little bit bumpy and bounced back from the front to back wheel, but I corrected it rapidly.
  • Andrew called out the various options on the climb up from the field, but suggested that I should be able to do this early next season.
  • Practiced slack rope exercises 4-5x on the tow, with Andrew demonstrating and lining up the slack rope for me; I corrected appropriately the first time, went the opposite way the second time, but handled the 3rd time very smoothly after Andrew demonstrated the technique again (ruddering opposite the tow plane.)
  • Released at 4000ft over the bowl, immediately did the CALL technique in preparation for altitude loss exercises, Andrew called it out over the radio.
  • Practiced a gentle stall, then an assertive stall with a spin; Andrew had me practice this a few more times, to reinforce the idea of using counter-rudder first (exclusively,) to halt the spin before leveling the wings with the alerons, then pulling back on the stick to exit the dive and slow down to 55kn / usual flight.
  • From there Andrew took over and flew us towards the ridge of the bowl, trying to find patches of lift; there were only tiny hints of very small bubbles of rising air, nowhere near what was required to gain significant altitude.
  • I flew part of the ridge in the bowl towards the east, but didn’t find any lift. Helpful reminder of “rules of the road” with VSL approaching us, with the ridge on their right etc, but turned away long before we were close enough to precipitate a turn / giving way to them.
  • Practiced more steep turns (40-50º) and keeping consistent speed throughout.
  • Flew to the high key (over the Husky station) and did ths SWAFTS check, seemed to be lined up and ready for the circuit at about 1150ft.
  • Came in quite high to the reference point and low key, I did two conclusive left turns (with Andrew’s prompts) and wound up high over the trees on the east end of the field, at about 550-600ft. Had to use a lot of spoilers to lose the height and speed.
  • I handled the approach and flare well, but was prompted to put the spoilers back to about half from full, and this made VSA accelerate just as I was beginning the flare, so I inadvertently overcorrected and lifted up and landed long, albeit smoothly and controlled.
  • Interesting ending flight to the season! I’m surprised that it’s already been 17 flights into my gliding career, but I still have a lot to learn early next season, and have a ton of reading and PSTAR / radio course preparation work to do over the winter. Hopefully I’ll make it back out here next Saturday for the hangar disassembly and season close mini party with familiar club members, etc. Onwards and upwards!
Ashley Theiss's Picture

About Ashley Theiss

Ashley is a full-stack Lean tech entrepreneur, web developer, designer, photographer, DJ, and aspiring glider pilot, active the Vancouver tech community.

Vancouver, Canada http://ashleytheiss.com

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