June 2017 Gliding Flights

Flight 20

This was only my second day of flying in 2017, so I’m still focused on “shaking off the rust” of putting skills development and familiarity with flying on hold over the winter off-season.


  • Flying the takeoff, tow, refreshing gentle and medium turns, heading holds, circuit, landing.

Conditions at CYHE:

  • 14ºC, mostly overcast, some low altitude clouds up on Hope Mtn, maybe around 4500’MSL; higher altitude cover above that.
  • 60% POP of 2-3mm rain showers, might roll through the valley.
  • NOTAM: construction and rock blasting, 2NM, up to 1000’AGL, about 15-20km to the west of CYHE.

Reviewing CISTRSCO and SWAFTS:

  • Controls
  • Iinstruments
  • Straps
  • Trim and ballast
  • Release
  • Spoilers and flaps
  • Canopy
  • Options and…
  • Straps
  • Wheels and water
  • Altitude
  • Flaps
  • Traffic
  • Spoilers

Flight Record:

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


  • First flight of the day, still trying to brush off winter rust and rebuild confidence.
  • Tow requested to 3000 ft, released at about 2900 ft,
  • Flew takeoff, tow; takeoff was moderately bumpy but flyable, announced options calls up to 1000 ft.
  • Flew over to bowl, practiced gentle and moderate turns; found some lift on the W side of Dog Mtn and climbed from 2500 back up to 2900.
  • Crossed over Hope valley to Hope Mtn, entered at about 2600 and climbed back up to 3300.
  • First serious experiences with navigating distance from clouds, mountain side.
  • Mediocre speed control, especially rusty on left turn away from Hope Mtn, but first enjoyable soaring of the year.
  • Flew back over to camp, NW of airfield, but did quite sloppy procedure and entry.
  • Turned a bit too early over the low key point, and did anything but a crisp left final turn; essentially did a sweeping left gentle turn and tried to line up to the airfield late; workload of spoiler position, coming in high on altimeter, and too fast basically inspired low confidence and high stress/anxiety in my landings.

Debrief / Training

(See whiteboard drawing photo or vector.)

  • Helpful to review circuit altitude goals, SWAFTS, airspeed gauge in front seat of VSA, etc.
  • Big leap forward in visualization of circuit, approach, and landing.
  • Multiple side points made about workload, getting organized earlier in the process, bala etc.

Flight 21

  • Andrew L, 2000 ft bowl tow with 2300 ft release, quite bumpy and not very confident on the rudder for first 200 ft.
  • Not enough time to focus on practicing trimming for speed.
  • Practiced using spoilers at altitude, maintaining 55kn at half spoilers
  • A few coordinated gentle turns, focusing on speed control, organized at about 1600ft exit over the camp
  • Got through SWAFTS enroute to high key, but wasn’t especially crisp and perpendicular on the entrance, although mindful of compass heading
  • Workload still felt high but appropriate, relatively organized on high key to low key circuit leg.
  • Moderately crisp turns into final but not as sharp as they should have been; turned too early on the base leg, so came in a bit high and fast, had to use a lot of spoilers while balancing airspeed.
  • Landed moderately, applied too much brake.
  • Felt very helpful to focus on the circuit entry and procedures down to touchdown, as per Andrew’s debrief after today’s first flight.

Flight 22

  • Andrew L, 1800’ bowl, circuit practice and landing only
  • Practiced trimming for 55kn flight, helped reduce stick focus intensity.
  • Hit the 1500’ over camp mark ideally, used spoilers to get to high key at 1100, while doing SWAFTS, clean perpendicular flight to W end of field, called each of the height goals and IAS at 52-53kn, had time to check both wind socks on ends of field, entered low key at 800, had time/workload available to call out turning time, Andrew recommended waiting a bit longer, completed clean 90º turn to base leg, clean 90º to final, coming in a bit fast, modulated spoilers properly, let the nose drop and overcorrected, hit min landing speed and retracted spoilers, put the nose down to speed up, then appropraitely flared and rounded out for a clean, relatively short but smoother landing, easier on the brakes and still OK distance down field.
  • This flight felt like 40% of the workload from today’s first flight, probably because of such tighter circuit procedures and speaking out each thought/step.
  • Feeling a lot more confident and accomplished after these circuit flights! 😃

Went for note taking (i.e. writing this post) and a late lunch break at about 4:00 PM.

Decided at about 5:20 PM not to try to fit in another flight, as VSA was still up in the air with a Fam flight.

Wrapped for the day and helped stow VSA for the night.

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