started soaring lessons today

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Pops

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It will also make you a better powered aircraft pilot. Dan
 

lurker

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went again yesterday (sunday). i've looked up the as k21 on google, seems it's a very good sailplane to learn on. stalled it 3 times at the request of the instructor, it shudders a bit, nose dips, recovers easily, not too awfully frightening. i need to work a lot more on rudder coordination. i'm learning lots, and undoing some preconceptions about how flying works. first day i was somewhat frightened by the whole thing, takeoff, flying, landing. now i'm beginning to get comfortable with flying, and only the prospect of taking off and landing spook me. i suppose we'll get to that in due time.

everyone has been very nice, very positive. the field is conveniently located 15 minutes from my door. they operate only on the weekends. in theory i'm supposed to use an online system to schedule flights, but they're telling me if i show up at 4 or 5 pm i can pretty much guarantee a flight, with good (though waning) lift and smooth air. meanwhile i can help out as ground crew. i've paid my annual membership, and now i just pay for the tows as i go.

at this point i don't really plan to fly sailplanes indefinitely, but instead learn power-out flying and especially landing, then use the skills with an ultralight. but who knows, i'm signed on for a year. plans change and the appeal of a self-launch glider is there.

three things i've learned:
a light hand on the stick makes makes life easy.
you can judge airspeed more or less by the sound of the wind.
it's every bit as fun as it looks.
 

lurker

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went up again saturday. i went early to help mow the airstrip, which may have been a mistake. by the time we got around to my flight, i was hot and tired. much heavier hand on the stick :(
we towed to 2,000 ft., circled around practicing attitude, rolls, airspeed, and the instructor had me do what i believe was a power-off immelman, nose up into a stall, roll right, rudder right, and next thing i know i see the grass rushing up at me. so i center the stick and we come right out of it, but then we immediately do it twice more :eek: i didn't get sick, but my head was spinning for a minute. we wafted around a couple more minutes, then he had me do the approach, explaining that i needed to keep the airspeed up about 15 kts above stall in case i needed the margin, since there's no power option. i think he's trying to edge me slowly toward landings. :eek: again

not as satisfying as usual, guess i ought not to cut the grass on days i'm flying. this weekend is busy with other stuff, but will try to get in another flight on sunday.
also went up to the local airport on monday and bought a logbook

if this stuff bores you guys, say so and i'll be quiet.
 

Topaz

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Complete awesomeness, lurker. Congratulations. I just saw this thread. I would've chimed in earlier, but I'm right up to my nose in "life stuff" at the moment.

Sounds like you're doing great. Approaches to landing in a glider (no go-around) seem scary until you've done a few and get used to TLAR and planning ahead. After that, it's just a yawn and practice until you can stop where you want, when you want. Take it one day at a time and enjoy yourself! :grin:
 

BBerson

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the instructor had me do what i believe was a power-off immelman, nose up into a stall, roll right, rudder right, and next thing i know i see the grass rushing up at me. so i center the stick and we come right out of it, but then we immediately ....
Sounds like you did some wing overs or stall turns. The Immelmann is a half loop with a roll to upright at the top of the loop.
Hard to do in a glider, I think.
Have fun!
 

lurker

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Approaches to landing in a glider (no go-around) seem scary ...
TLAR...
enjoy yourself!
scary? heck yes! i think i'd prefer a longer shallower approach, but instructor knows best. the possibility of a do-over just never occurred to me.
TLAR? what's that?
enjoying immensely.
Sounds like you did some wing overs or stall turns.
....
Have fun!
the instructor said something about a chandelle, which is apparently up, whereas we went DOWN, mostly.
Congrats.
It's on my list for some day ...
thankyou. i'm doing this now because i have always wanted to fly, and it dawned on me a couple of years ago that i do not have an infinite supply of "someday"s. i was going to try hang gliding TWO YEARS AGO and health problems intervened. i'm 61, probably as healthy and strong as i'm ever going to be.
yes, it scares me. i'm not going to tie myself to a tree in a lightning storm, but i mean to confront this fear and beat it. and have fun.
 
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bmcj

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I didn't get sick, but my head was spinning for a minute. we wafted around a couple more minutes.
Some days, the body just isn't quite up to par. Remember, there is no harm or shame in letting the instructor know that you might be sub-par for the day and ask to stay with gentler maneuvers. You can always cover them in a later flight, so no need to make yourself sick or uncomfortable. You're in this for the enjoyment, so do what is enjoyable.


I would've chimed in earlier, but I'm right up to my nose in "life stuff" at the moment.
It's amazing how work and the need for money always seems to get in the way of flying. There ought to be a law against that! :gig:
 

lurker

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Some days, the body just isn't quite up to par. Remember, there is no harm or shame in letting the instructor know that you might be sub-par for the day and ask to stay with gentler maneuvers. You can always cover them in a later flight, so no need to make yourself sick or uncomfortable. You're in this for the enjoyment, so do what is enjoyable.
it's not like i totally sucked, i was just tense, too heavy a grip on the stick. usually i can manage it with just my fingertips. i tended to overreact, then over-overreact. just tired, tense. diving repeatedly toward the ground didn't help either, though in retrospect i'm glad we did it. not going to freak out about it, just be aware.

It's amazing how work and the need for money always seems to get in the way of flying. There ought to be a law against that! :gig:
yeah that sucks. no kids and early retirement helps. there's not as much money as i'd like (is there ever?) but i have time.
 

Topaz

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...TLAR? what's that?...
Literally, "That Looks About Right". It's a system of setting up your pattern by looking at the angles to things on the ground. One of the things glider pilots realistically face every day is the possibility of outlanding in some field somewhere, away from an airport. As such, you don't know the field elevation, and so you don't know your pattern altitudes. So what we do - or at least what I was taught - was to become very familiar with the downlook angles to landmarks at various parts of the pattern. Once you start working off of the angles instead of memorizing numbers on the altimeter, you can do a good pattern for any random patch of ground, even if your altimeter is completely non-functional. This will also help you learn to adjust your pattern to the immediate conditions, something we also do as glider pilots. Power pilots are taught to generally follow a fixed pattern, using fixed turn points and altitudes relative to the runway. Gliders don't have the luxury of adding power to extend a downwind, for example, so we learn to adjust our pattern to the immediate condition of the airplane. If you're low and need to cut the downwind short, do it. High? Extend the downwind long. And the same for every leg of the pattern. You'll get a lot of instruction on that.

One of the instructors at my soaring club set up an online tutorial for TLAR, using Google Earth views of our airport, Skylark Field (CA89). It's going to be a little confusing at first glance, until you identify the two parallel dirt runways. But it'll get the idea across.

It's something to start practicing right away, especially as your instructor is flying the pattern for you. Start looking at the angles for a correct pattern. Pick out things like the end of the runway, your desired touchdown point, a tree near the runway somewhere... Start memorizing those angles.
 

lurker

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thanks, i'll check that out.
yeah, that's what we've been doing, about 30 degrees, and yes, it looks too steep. i'm getting used to how tight the sailplane turns.
i believe my instructor is actually letting me fly the approach with a lot of coaching ("turn right here, keep your airspeed up....") but he's definitely handling the contact with the ground part. there's this house just before the start of the runway, and i wonder if they know there are student pilots coming in over their roof....

i'm seeing little bits of this that feel oddly familiar, from swimming (feel the water) and motorcycling (leeean into the turn, ease it, don't jerk it)
 
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bmcj

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Lurker, I finally got around to checking out your club link. It looks like a good club and has decent rates! I am taking the liberty of posting the rates here:

Fee Schedule

Membership categories and costs
Full Membership $1,000 for 12 months membership
Student Membership $500 for 12 months membership
Senior Membership $500 for 12 months membership
Provisional Membership $250 for 90 days
Reciprocal Membership $25 for 90 Days

Aircraft Rental & Flight Instruction
Note: Only Provisional and Reciprocal Members pay aircraft rental fees and flight instruction. Full and Student members get these benefits as part of their membership.
ASK 21 Rental $60 Per Hour
ASK 23 Rental $55 Per Hour
Flight Instruction $25 Per Flight

Towing Fees
These fees are paid directly to Tow Corp and are used to maintain the tow plane. Everyone pays tow fees.
Pattern Tow $25
Rope Break $20
2,000 Foot Tow $43
2,500 Foot Tow $48
3,000 Foot Tow $53

Misc Costs
Trailer Storage in Hanger $50 per month
Aircraft Storage in Hanger $100 per month
Rides Including Tow $125 per ride. (Tow to 3000 Ft)
 

lurker

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i'm hearing that this is the very cheapest way to learn to fly.
the instructors seem to my uneducated eye to be very good.
the site is not 100% up to date. it's a little confusing.
i've paid my annual membership fee, $1000, and now pay anywhere from $24 to $53 for a tow. that's it. everything else is included. so i'm guessing for $2000-$2500 i can get sufficient training to qualify for my glider license, which i will probably go ahead and get, even though no paper is needed for far103. sometimes the paper is handy, even if you don't use it for its explicit purpose. for example, if i decide i want a mitchellwing b-10, they want some evidence that you know how to fly.
 

StarJar

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i'm seeing little bits of this that feel oddly familiar, from swimming (feel the water) and motorcycling (leeean into the turn, ease it, don't jerk it)
I think learning to fly, is one of the most interesting learning 'curves' there is. I distinctly remember that it took me about 8 hours to start to feel comfortable. Then I got amazed at how much things became easier.
I believe there is sort of a 're-wiring' process going on inside. Even when you sleep, the brain is figuring things out, and with every lesson, the 'wiring' gets finer and finer. That's when crosswinds get kind of fun, and challenging, because everything thing else has been wired in subconciously.
Probably the same with surfing, or riding a horse in a race.
Every new experience, when flying, is a learning one.
I remember I was just learning in powered planes, and we were following a slower plane in the pattern. My pattern speed had me creeping closer and closer to a slower plane in front of us. I suddenly realized I had been pushing on the toe brakes, trying to slow down! That was part of my 're-wiring' experience. I was also releived my instructor hadn't noticed!
 

bmcj

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I think learning to fly, is one of the most interesting learning 'curves' there is.
And the rewards and experiences are so much greater than other endeavors as you reach your milestones... first landing, first solo, successful checkride, and (for gliders) your first thermal climb, first ridge soaring flight, first successfully navigated rope break, first off-field landing, first spin recovery, first cross country, and setting new personal bests in times and distance.
 
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