On Saturday, September 6th (after my Duo Discus flights the day before), I headed down to South Lake Tahoe Airport to meet up with some BASA guys and test fly the DG-1000 based there giving rides. BASA is considering a DG-1000 purchase and wanted to get some members to test fly one again.
BTW, I took a bunch of excellent pictures on the drive from the north end of Lake Tahoe to the south end.
I was the newest pilot to fly the DG-100. What follows is the flight report I sent to Harry Fox, BASA's president. We were all asked to submit one after our flights.
I had an annoying headache the day I flew but have since had a chance now to review my flight more clearly. When I flew with Charlie in the DG-1000, he flew the takeoff and first 500 feet or so of the tow. We had quite a bit of slack early on but by the time I got the controls things were a bit calmer. I found it easy to fly on tow. It didn't seem much more difficult to control that the Grob or an ASK-21. I was careful not to over-control it, so having thought about it in advance may have been all that was necessary to prevent me from doing it. Off tow (in lift) I got a chance to thermal up over Heavenly before we did a stall, turning stall, and an incipient spin. Thermalling was relatively easy. I had to keep turning the glider into the thermal as it tried to kick us out. But I attribute that mainly to my lack of experience in stronger thermals. Speed control in the thermal was easier than in the Grob. In the Grobs, I have trouble flying slowly enough when there are two of us in the ship. I had no such problem in the DG-1000. And, having flown the Duo Discus the day before for 3+ hours, I found the DG-1000's speed control a bit easier while thermalling. After a bit of that, we finally brought the gear up. I don't think Charlie helped with that. The gear was no harder to raise and lock than that of the Duo (the only other retractable gear ship I've flown). In fact, it seemed to require less effort than the Duo's. The stall was so graceful that Charlie had to tell me that we were actually stalled the first time. I expected it to be more obvious and was waiting to really notice it when he told me. There was very little buffeting. Knowing what to expect, the next stall and the turning stall were fine. The ship didn't drop a wing and recovery was easy. The incipient spin surprised me. The nose dropped quite far and the glider picked up speed very quickly. Even so, we never flew faster than 85 knots during the recovery, but compared to the 2-32 (where all my spin experience comes from) it seemed like a lot. It was a bit disorienting too. After that, Charlie let me do whatever I wanted to, so I flew straight and level, shallow turns, and practiced speed/pitch control and played with the trim. Nothing fancy. In my flight, I never really got a good feel for the trim. I used it but just felt like it wasn't quite doing what I'd expect. Other things I noticed... It's quite quiet inside. Very easy to talk compared to the Grobs. Like the Duo, the glider will pick up speed very quickly and bleed it off very slowly. Turn coordination was easy. Much easier than the Grobs. And the ailerons were heavy, but not nearly as bad as I expected. When it was time to land, I lowered the gear and got us in the pattern. The gear was pretty easy to get down and locked, *but* it took me about 5 tries fumbling with the handle to get an initial grip on it so I could rotate and move it. I wouldn't want to be rushed doing that. On downwind, Charlie noticed that I hadn't tested the spoilers. In retrospect, I think my brain confused my hassle with getting the gear down with a spoiler check. Doh! When I did, the gear alarm went off. Charlie asked me if I heard it and what it was. I said it was the gear alarm and that it didn't make sense because I had opened and locked the gear. I was sure of that. He told me that he purposely unlocked the gear when I was busy doing other things just to demonstrate the gear alarm. With that, I was glad for the gear alarm! The only other noticeable difference in landing was the effect of the spoilers. Unlike the Grob (but *like* the 2-32 or 1-34), the spoilers to require a more nose-down attitude to maintain airspeed. The resulting attitude was a bit lower that I'd have expected. That's it for the flight. I mentioned that I didn't think it'd require much more time to learn compared to the Grob but it would require an emphasis on different things. Having thought about that and my transition to the Grob from the 2-32 and ASK-21, I think they are: 1. Pitch and trim control. The DG-1000 is a slick ship and will go fast quietly, so there's a lot less audio feedback if you're flying too quickly. In the 2-23 and even the ASK-21, I relied on that more than I realized. (The previous day's flight in the Duo helped me to unlearn some of that.) This affects not only "normal" flight, but probably landing too. Speed control is obviously very important then because it's easier to become distracted. 2. Another result of being slick is that it'd probably easier to get out of tow position and/or to get slack line. In the mountains that's expected, but it could happen pretty easily at Hollister, I'd guess. Imagine towing behind the Citabria. 3. Tail/nose weights. I didn't think to ask about this that day, but Charlie did move the weights from the tail to the nose when he flew with Johnathon. When installed up front, the weights are well hidden. I'd want to better understand the weight & balance for the ship and make very sure I checked the nose and tail during pre-flight and than again before takeoff. I did watch him remove the tail weights. He showed me how to unlock and remove the little pole that holds the weights and then reinstall and lock it. It seemed pretty simple. Physically, I was quite comfortable with a parachute on. It's the most comfortable ship I've flown. I found the controls easy to use except for the initial grab to get the gear back down. Visibility was excellent. The extra cockpit room compared to the Duo is great. My only real complaint is the poor placement of the pouch mounted on the right side. It was about 6-8 inches too far back. I mentioned this to Charlie and he suggest that it probably wouldn't be hard to relocate. As for me, I'm roughly 6 feet tall and weigh about 205lbs. Oh, the rudder control was a little funky because of the shoes I wore. They felt like they got caught a few times on the upholstery. That's easily solved by wearing different shoes, of course. Finally, I'm posting all the pictures I took that day: http://jeremy.zawodny.com/pics/dg1000/ That's it...
Posted by jzawodn at October 02, 2003 08:15 PM