I arrived at the Hollister airport a bit early this morning because traffic was so light. After Jim arrived, we talked about what to do today. The plan was to tow to four or five thousand feet in the hopes of finding enough lift to take us higher. There was no wind on the ground, but the lenticular clouds near some of the mountain ridges led us to believe there might be sufficient wave to keep up aloft.

Flight #1

Our glider for the day was six four echo (64E), one of the SGS 2-32 trainers. Our takeoff was uneventful. Well there was a very minor crosswind that took me by surprise, but it wasn't terribly significant. The rotor above 1,000 feet wasn't much to write home about. Around 4,000 feet we found some weak lift and promising looking cloud formations, so we released to try our luck.

We didn't find much. There were some zero sink areas, but no substantial lift. So rather than sit in the same spot not doing anything, we opted for practicing some maneuvers. Jim demonstrated a few side slips and then I got a chance to try them. They were easier to get the hang of than I expected.

After messing around with slips a bit, we didn't have a lot of altitude left, so we made our way toward the pattern entry point and prepared for landing. As I began the landing checklist, Jim noticed that he had forgotten his handheld radio. Glider six four echo only has a front microphone, so it was my day to make all the radio calls. That went well except for the time than I announced us on downwind when we were on crosswind. Oops.

My first pattern and landing were pretty good. The altitude was right on and I was able to land with 1/3 spoilers. We did bounce a bit, but that's because I accidentally jerked back on the stick when we touched down the first time. We quickly came to a stop and setup for the next takeoff.

Flight #2

Our plan for the second flight was to tow higher (roughly 6,500 feet) so that we'd have the necessary altitude to experiment with stalls, full stalls, turning stalls, and forward slips. Before I knew it, we were at altitude and released. This was my best release so far. Smooth, good alignment and speed, etc.

Once off tow, Jim started with a couple demonstrations that he asked me to mimic. We basically did stalls until I suggested that we try something else (because the stalls were starting to get to me). So them we did a bit with slips.

Before long, we were nearing 2,000 feet so we headed back toward the pattern entry point. I hung out there for a while and burned off some altitude circling around. Then Jim asked if I could fly the pattern and land without any help. I told him I'd give it a shot. (My first landing must have impressed him a bit?)

This pattern was a bit more tricky because we had a plane ahead of us that was flying a really long pattern for runway 24. So I called on the radio and declared my intention to land second. Jim suggested I slow down to give him some room. We flew most of the pattern at 60mph rather than the more traditional 70mph.

Part way into our base leg, Jim asked how things looked. I told him we were a bit too close to the runway and turned away to compensate. He pointed out that the crosswind had increased (I hadn't noticed that!) so we turned away a bit more.

Turning onto base, Jim asked how things looked. I had to really think about it. When I finally made up my mind, I decided we were a bit high and pulled the brakes out between 1/2 and 1/3. Once we turned final and got closer to the runway it became apparent that (1) we were no longer too high, (2) I wasn't flying fast enough, (3) I really needed to compensate for the crosswind.

After some adjustments, I managed to land just a bit right of center at roughly the normal spot on runway 24. Given the added wind, it wasn't too bad. And I didn't bounce the second time around. :-)


Once back on the ground we had a chance to discuss more of what I had done. The most important point that Jim made had to do with estimating the proper height and glide slope coming off base and onto final. If he asks how things look and I have to really think about it, odds are that we're on the right slope and I should use roughly 1/3 of the brakes. If we were too high or low, I'd likely notice and not have to think very hard about it at all.

Next week I'm scheduled to fly on Thursday and Friday morning. I figured I'd make use of the decreased activity at work during the holiday time. Thursday we'll probably work on more slips, skids, and possibly introduce spins. And Jim wants to get me to the point that I'm doing the whole landing pattern myself. He'll just be along for the ride. I'm looking forward to that myself.

Oh, I also boxed the wake again and got to perform a couple more steering turns. I don't remember which flight those were part of anymore.

Posted by jzawodn at December 27, 2002 02:06 PM

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