I had another two-hour ground session with Jim this morning to go over more of my required training. We talked a lot about ridge soaring, medical factors, oxygen usage, and so on. It became apparent how much I need to read up on the stuff I've had no experience with.

After our ground sessions, I had glider 64E reserved for some flying time. I checked the schedule and found that it wasn't very busy, so I planned to get a few short flights in so that I could practice landings.

Before I went up, I chatted with Jim about what we had left to do. He figured we have 4 hours more of ground training (2 more sessions) and then one session of flying, during which we'll fly another test checkride. After that, I'll be able to fly with an FAA examiner for my real checkride. (Gulp.)

I got on the schedule for a flying session next Thursday morning and then two ground sessions next weekend. Just for fun I tossed in one more solo flight session on Sunday. It can't hurt to get a little more practice in, right?

It's hard to believe that I could be flying for my license in a couple weeks. Yikes.

Anyway, on to my flights today.

I took a 3,700 foot tow for my first flight, so I could practice a few turns and get a feel for the glider. I always like to have a few extra minutes on my first flight. While circling around 3,000 feet 4 miles northeast of the airport, I head a Citabria make a few radio calls in the pattern and land. The voice on the radio sounded familiar. Then I remembered that my friend John was taking a 3-day intensive tail-dragger training course. I wasn't sure it was him, but I figured there was a good chance they decided to fly down to Hollister for a change of scenery. I head him take off and then enter the pattern again a few minutes later. This time I got on the radio and asked, "Citabria on crosswind, is that John?" It was.

Anyway, they flew several more landings and takeoffs. Meanwhile, I practiced some 360 degree turns and then headed back to land. There was no lift to be found. Well, almost no lift. As luck would have it, the smooth air became rather bumpy in the pattern. I hit zero sink and then 1-2 knot lift on downwind in the pattern. Murphy is funny that way.

For my landings, I had planned to flare over the 31 numbers and touch down abeam the "H" in HOLLISTER along the runway. Much to my surprise, I did (mostly). My first landing was a little rough, but really not bad. Much better than usual for me.

Once back on the ground, I entered the flight into my log book only to realize that was my 100th glider flight! It's hard to imagine that I've done this (in one form or another) 100 times already.

My next two flights were to 2,300 and 2,100 feet. That gave me just enough altitude to fly around for a few minutes before getting into the pattern. My next two landings weren't as good. I came in a bit low on one and a bit high on the other, but in both cases I was able to adjust and land just about on target. I had to float a bit on the low one and really jump on the brakes for the high one. But it worked. Apparently, when I really concentrate on my landings, they're not as hard as I thought.

Posted by jzawodn at March 08, 2003 09:53 PM

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