I headed down to Hollister this morning to fly with Jim in the hopes of getting signed off to fly BASA's Grob G 103. The weather was a little chaotic (changing ever 10 minutes) but it was good enough.

I spent about 25 minutes on my pre-flight checks. Jim and I chatted about my previous Grob experience and then headed up. We had a 5-10kt headwind coming almost straight down runway 24.

The first flight was short. We had hoped that the blue hole we saw earlier would still be open, but the clouds got in the way. I got off tow at 1,700 feet as we were getting close to clouds. We flew around a bit and I then tried thermaling. It was hit and miss. I was still getting the feel for the Grob again and kept slowing down in my turns. I caught a bit of lift. Jim pointed me at some clouds near a small rain storm and suggested that we might find lift there. But we were getting low--maybe 1,500 feet. I headed there but only found 6kt sink on the way, so getting low I turned back toward the airport. It was farther away than I expected. We had no altitude for a pattern, so I lined up with the runway and flew a straight-in final. The landing wasn't bad. I didn't get the tail down as far as I should have. It's hard to unlearn all that 2-32 training.

For our second flight, we headed out toward Monterey Bay and hoped to find a nice blue area into which we could climb. We did. We towed to 4,200 feet. Once off tow, we worked on stalls, incipient spins, and slips. We tried a bit more thermaling near the airport but didn't get too lucky. This time I had enough altitude for a mid-field pattern entry for 24.

For our third and final fight, we again headed toward the water and found a blue spot. On tow, Jim ran me thru a bunch of slack rope tests. The first few were rough but I got the hang of it again. That was a relief after my last attempt with Drew a few weeks ago. Once off tow, we did a few more incipient spins and slips. Jim then let me fly where I waned for a bit. He asked me to plan on an entry on the 45 for runway 24 and a no-spoiler landing. (Well, a no-spoiler pattern. I could use 'em near the ground.) I ended up flying a sloppy pattern because it was a bit more difficult than I expected to get the Grob in a good slip and hold it there. We ended up high when turning base to final, so Jim helped me work it into a really good slip. The next thing I knew, we were low off the end of the runway. When I came out of the slip, I didn't get the speed up right away, so Jim dove us down low to pick up speed and avoid any sink. Then we snuck over the fence and landed on 24.

Once back on the ground, we talked about the last pattern and landing. We discussed how I needed to slip better sooner and to make sure that I used left slips in a left pattern. Then Jim asked if I was comfortable flying the Grob. I explained that I still have to spend more brain power thinking about what I'm doing when I fly it, but yes, I am comfortable flying it.

We took care of the necessary paperwork (log book and BASA check sheet), then I parked and tied down the glider with the help of Kyle (the newest tow pilot). When I got home, I called Stan (the BASA flight committee chair) to let him know. My plan is to fly it again on Sunday--either solo or with another pilot in the back.

Posted by jzawodn at May 08, 2003 04:23 PM

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