started soaring lessons today

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lurker

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didn't fly yesterday.
it was my own fault. went to the online signup system, clicked on a time slot, watched the little spinning thing on the screen, when it stopped i checked to see if i was in, and the timeslot showed as still available. no big deal, i thought, sometimes it takes a while for the servers to update. went and did some carpentry, checked back an hour or so later and the slot was taken. great, i thought, i'm in. got to the field with time to spare (1pm), and another guy had the slot. when i asked, one of the guys said there's a "confirm" button. oops. no problem, they said, hang around, we'll jam you in somewhere. then a steady stream of revenue-generating walk-ins started arriving, and by 7pm i was hot, tired, hungry, and grouchy. i figured i wouldn't enjoy it much or get much out of it, so i went home.

i'm going to sign up for next weekend just as soon as i get done here.

i'll have that talk with my regular instructor about his plan. i'm sure he has one, i just don't know what it is, yet.
 
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lurker

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went soaring again yesterday (saturday) and today. yesterday i talked with my regular instructor Gary about the "plan", and he asked how i thought i was doing. i told him i was comfortable floating around, almost comfortable with the takeoff and tow, and not at all with landings (and the wingovers) so we went up and flew the pattern 3 times (with a wingover just to liven things up) and did landings. 1st was rough, 2nd and 3rd were good.
today was with jere, not my regular instructor. we did a 2000 ft flight, (low ceiling) practicing turns, found a thermal and then lost it, landed(again rough). so we did once more around the pattern, and he said i nailed it.
the contrast between the two instructors is interesting. gary, my regular instructor is thorough, well-regarded by his peers, seems to go by feel, seat-of-the-pants, reserved. jere is AF-trained, by the numbers, very forthcoming. i like the contrast. i learn different thingss from them, and different ways of thinking about what i'm doing.
no soaring for the next two weekends. my other expensive, time consuming hobby requires my presence in 1864.
 

lurker

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was going to go soaring this last weekend, but got rained out. will try again saturday and sunday. this makes 3 weekends i've missed.
they keep a cartoon on the counter. monday-thursday the weather is sunny and calm. friday, cows are getting lift, flying about over their pasture. saturday, rain and wind, and sunday cats and dogs are falling from the sky amid lightning.
seems about right.
 

Topaz

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was going to go soaring this last weekend, but got rained out. will try again saturday and sunday. this makes 3 weekends i've missed.
they keep a cartoon on the counter. monday-thursday the weather is sunny and calm. friday, cows are getting lift, flying about over their pasture. saturday, rain and wind, and sunday cats and dogs are falling from the sky amid lightning.
seems about right.

Heh, yeah, that does sound about right. Hang in there. It's frustrating, but the cycle is bound to get out-of-sync with the weekends eventually. Until then, it's a good time to study for the written!
 
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And don't be afraid of flying on a less than perfect days. I can still remember a day at about my 6 hour mark when I was sure the instructor was going to say it was too windy and gusty to fly. I learned more in that one lesson about getting a tail dragger on the ground in cross winds than all the other days combined during that period. After the first 2 landings it was actually fun!
 

lurker

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saturday was rained out, but i got in two flights sunday. the weather was cloudy all day with a steady breeze. nice, smooth soaring, but impossible to see anything above 1,000 feet. was relieved to pop out of the grey mist and see the field below.

the first flight was not as bad as i expected, since i haven't been able to go for about a month. apparently i haven't forgotten everything. landing was a bit rough. second was better, nice smooth landing, stopped right in front of the pawnee tow plane, which was waiting to go up again. all in all, i think it went well. i'm getting comfortable enough to look around more and do approach and landing with some confidence. will try again next weekend.

the club is beginning to address the growth issues. we have plenty of students and pilots, and we're covered for instructors and tow pilots on the weekends, but we're pretty much booked up. we're hoping we have enough retired people to be able to support ops on fridays or mondays if we have the available resources.

on another note, i recently bought a $20 hd digital video camera, (i won't call it junk, but you get what you pay for. or less) and will try to attach it to a hat or headband so i can take hands-free video while flying.
 

lurker

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soared again today. i usually go later in the day but this time i signed up for the 11-12 slot. the weather has been cool and grey, and it was like that at 9:30 this am, but was clearing by the time i got to the field at 10:15. apparently the 10am guy didn't show, as they were getting the tow plane out as i arrived, so i helped get the ask out of the hangar, and talked with a guy who has a very nice ultracruiser down at the far end. so anyway, at 11 we hooked up and towed to 3,000 feet and there wasn't much lift, except the occasional patch, which the vultures were kind enough to direct us to. we did general stuff like rudder coordination and flew for just about the whole hour. my landing was IMO pretty good, smooth and uneventful, floating about half the length of the field in ground effect and stopping right in front of the waiting pawnee tow plane. my instructor gave me a bit of a hard time because i let the air speed drop from the desired 55 knots to under 50 in the final approach. i'm having a bit of trouble taking this all in. the last minute of the flight is very busy, and i'm having some difficulty being mindful of it all in the moment. but all in all, a very pleasant time, and i think i did ok. 12 oclock guy didn't show at 12, nor was he there at 12:15 when i left to do another commitment. i can't imagine just blowing off an appointment when the weather is so nice, especially with a schedule as crowded as ours is.

the instructor off-handedly remarked on "when you solo", as if it might be something that might happen in the future, so i'm taking that as encouragement.
 

Topaz

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Sounds like me in my early lessons. It's easy to feel overwhelmed at first. You won't know how or why, but at some point you'll realize that you're ahead of the airplane much more than you were before, and you're catching things like airspeed drops before they really develop.

Sounds like you're right on track. How are you doing with tows? That's another one that you'll be sure you're never going to get right until one day, you just do and from then on it's much easier. That was a fun day. :)
 

lurker

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they've said all along that i do the tow well, though it seems jerky and awkward to me. i have little difficulty keeping the towplane more or less in the center of the windscreen, and i'm getting better at anticipating the next move, especially since i'm getting better with the rudder. they tell me there's a training exercise called "boxing the wake" which frets me some, maybe because i can't see the wake. some days my comfort level is more or less, but overall it's getting much better.
 

Topaz

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they've said all along that i do the tow well, though it seems jerky and awkward to me. i have little difficulty keeping the towplane more or less in the center of the windscreen, and i'm getting better at anticipating the next move, especially since i'm getting better with the rudder. they tell me there's a training exercise called "boxing the wake" which frets me some, maybe because i can't see the wake. some days my comfort level is more or less, but overall it's getting much better.

Sounds like you're doing better than I did. Took me several lessons to "get the hang" of doing the tow. Then it clicked and I had it. Boxing the wake is a matter of feel and visual perspective on the towplane. I found it challenging at first, but it's another thing that sounds harder than it actually proves to be.

Here's a nice tutorial (with video) that my club uses: Lake Elsinore Soaring Club
 

BJC

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soared again today. i usually go later in the day but this time i signed up for the 11-12 slot. the weather has been cool and grey, and it was like that at 9:30 this am, but was clearing by the time i got to the field at 10:15. apparently the 10am guy didn't show, as they were getting the tow plane out as i arrived, so i helped get the ask out of the hangar, and talked with a guy who has a very nice ultracruiser down at the far end. so anyway, at 11 we hooked up and towed to 3,000 feet and there wasn't much lift, except the occasional patch, which the vultures were kind enough to direct us to. we did general stuff like rudder coordination and flew for just about the whole hour. my landing was IMO pretty good, smooth and uneventful, floating about half the length of the field in ground effect and stopping right in front of the waiting pawnee tow plane. my instructor gave me a bit of a hard time because i let the air speed drop from the desired 55 knots to under 50 in the final approach. i'm having a bit of trouble taking this all in. the last minute of the flight is very busy, and i'm having some difficulty being mindful of it all in the moment. but all in all, a very pleasant time, and i think i did ok. 12 oclock guy didn't show at 12, nor was he there at 12:15 when i left to do another commitment. i can't imagine just blowing off an appointment when the weather is so nice, especially with a schedule as crowded as ours is.

the instructor off-handedly remarked on "when you solo", as if it might be something that might happen in the future, so i'm taking that as encouragement.

I'm a power pilot, not a glider pilot, but there likely are similarities to the learning processes.

There will come a time when you understand what the "picture" out the canopy should look like for various maneuvers, and you will instinctively operate the controls to make it so. That is also when you will begin to relax and become comfortable.

Enjoy yourself: You are at the early stages of one of the greatest adventures and expression of personal freedom available to mankind.


BJC
 

Brian Clayton

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soared again today. i usually go later in the day but this time i signed up for the 11-12 slot. the weather has been cool and grey, and it was like that at 9:30 this am, but was clearing by the time i got to the field at 10:15. apparently the 10am guy didn't show, as they were getting the tow plane out as i arrived, so i helped get the ask out of the hangar, and talked with a guy who has a very nice ultracruiser down at the far end. so anyway, at 11 we hooked up and towed to 3,000 feet and there wasn't much lift, except the occasional patch, which the vultures were kind enough to direct us to. we did general stuff like rudder coordination and flew for just about the whole hour. my landing was IMO pretty good, smooth and uneventful, floating about half the length of the field in ground effect and stopping right in front of the waiting pawnee tow plane. my instructor gave me a bit of a hard time because i let the air speed drop from the desired 55 knots to under 50 in the final approach. i'm having a bit of trouble taking this all in. the last minute of the flight is very busy, and i'm having some difficulty being mindful of it all in the moment. but all in all, a very pleasant time, and i think i did ok. 12 oclock guy didn't show at 12, nor was he there at 12:15 when i left to do another commitment. i can't imagine just blowing off an appointment when the weather is so nice, especially with a schedule as crowded as ours is.

the instructor off-handedly remarked on "when you solo", as if it might be something that might happen in the future, so i'm taking that as encouragement.

I am about 35hrs into my PPL. You get to a point where everything "clicks"......that when you feel like a pilot, instead of just a passenger being told what to do. Things become unconscious reaction, just like driving a car for the first time vs years later. Thats when it becomes really fun....
 

Pops

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I am about 35hrs into my PPL. You get to a point where everything "clicks"......that when you feel like a pilot, instead of just a passenger being told what to do. Things become unconscious reaction, just like driving a car for the first time vs years later. Thats when it becomes really fun....

Looking back, I'm sure you can see your learning plateaus.
Dan
 

lurker

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sunday morning as i was leaving the house at 10am the weather was gorgeous, clear and still, cool but warming. by the time i got to the field at 10:15, there were thin clouds building up and breezy. by 10:45 we were having to untangle the windsock. my instructor suggested maybe it was too gusty, and i agreed that we should wait and see if it settled down. and it did, so we decided to go up.
by the time we got hooked up it was gusting 10-15 but we concluded it would be "educational", and to proceed. caught a strong side gust as we cleared the tree line, then bounced around up to about 2000 ft where it smoothed out. flew around looking for lift, but found mostly downdrafts. after a while it was time to come down, had some trouble lining up due to gusts out of the west (strip runs north-south), dropped it in right over the outer fence. on final approach i was thinking to myself (please pardon the language) "o sh1t, o sh!t, o sh!t i can do this, o sh!t, i can do this...", instructor took the controls at the last moment, landed just fine.

back at the hangar we agreed that we really shouldn't have gone up, and shut down the field for a while. gusts were up to 40 at one point. but i had a blast, haven't had that much grin on since my first landing. reminds me to be glad i'm alive. sometimes it seems to be getting mundane, and then this comes along and it's all new and exciting again, and mundane will be good again, too, at least for a while.

i'd like to thank all of you who have offered advice and encouragement. it's been immensely helpful. now i'm gonna go schedule for next week.
 

Rob_O

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i'm having a bit of trouble taking this all in. the last minute of the flight is very busy, and i'm having some difficulty being mindful of it all in the moment. but all in all, a very pleasant time

I took a demo ride with the local club last weekend. Takeoff and climb were great, flight was great and in the last 30 seconds all hell broke loose! Very different from anything I have done before and a bit overwhelming the first time around. Good thing the guy in the back seat knew what he was doing
 

lurker

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I took a demo ride with the local club last weekend. Takeoff and climb were great, flight was great and in the last 30 seconds all hell broke loose! Very different from anything I have done before and a bit overwhelming the first time around. Good thing the guy in the back seat knew what he was doing
fun, ain't it? got a link to your club?
 

bmcj

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I took a demo ride with the local club last weekend. Takeoff and climb were great, flight was great and in the last 30 seconds all hell broke loose! Very different from anything I have done before and a bit overwhelming the first time around. Good thing the guy in the back seat knew what he was doing

Care to elaborate on the last 30 second part?
 

lurker

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went out again saturday afternoon, beautiful weather. two flights, one to 3,000 ft, 2nd to 1,000 ft to practice approach and landing. found a thermal, circled around some, lost it while avoiding Werner in his glider, returning from tullahoma. from reading instructor's scrawl in logbook, he thinks my landings are better than i think they are. i feel like i'm getting decent at this, but there are a couple of spots where i feel like i'm stuck.

but i think i've finally got an idea why my landings seem so rough (to me). i've always had a very literal, linear mindset, and while normally if i thought i was about to do something stupid i'd adjust, i've accepted with soaring that i know almost literally nothing, so i slavishly await and follow instruction.

so on final approach instructor keeps saying "keep the airspeed up", which means keep the nose down, long after i want to level out, and then he abruptly pulls the stick back, and then later tells me i've tried to fly into the ground. that sounds bad, really bad.

so i've suggested that at some appropriate moment he says to level out, and he seems good with that, so we'll see how that works out next time.
 
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