Most of the fun in today's flying was learning to land on tow. The idea is to simulate a double release failure where neither the glider nor the tow plane can disconnect from the rope.

Alan was our tow pilot, which is good, because he's probably the only tow pilot at Hollister who has done this before. The three of us discussed what we were going to do on the ground before going up to give it a go. The plan was this:

Upon reaching pattern altitude, the glider would give the "can't release" signal. Then the tow plane would do the same. The glider would then go to the low tow position and the tow plane would take us into the landing pattern and begin a gradual descent. The glider pilot would have to use spoilers to keep slack out of the line, just like when we'd practiced descent on tow before. Over the runway, the glider would fly just off the ground until the tow plane touches down. Then the glider lands and the two aircraft slow to a stop.

Brett flew the first one since he hadn't done this in a while. I got to observe. The approach to the runway was very similar to a no spoiler landing--and I've seen a lot of that recently. After touch down, Alan hit the gas and we traded control of the glider. Then it was my turn.

The second flight was mostly uneventful. At 1,400 feet, I gave Alan the signal and he returned the favor. As I was moving to low tow he began his descent which caused some slack in the rope and surprised me. But I pooped the spoilers and took care of that easily enough. Then all I had to do was follow him all the way to the ground. It was weird not really having to think about the pattern other than "can I make it if the rope breaks here?"

After we both landed, Alan hit the gas and we went up again. The third flight was just like the second except that we stopped on the runway this before flying again. We got off at 2,500 feet so I could work on cross controlled stalls a bit before heading back in. I tried a precision landing on 24 and was close to landing on the threshold.

We took a short break and flew two more times. Both were pattern tows to work on landings. The first was a slip to landing on runway 31 (with a right pattern) while the second was a precision landing on 24. However, on the last flight we hadn't really planned anything. I got off tow at 1,200 feet and asked Brett what he wanted me to do. He thought for a few seconds and then popped the spoilers open about 1/3 of the way, saying "your spoilers are jammed like this. Do what you need to do to land." So I did. He gave me spoiler control not too far from the runway.

All in all it was a fun session. I'm finally starting to feel comfortable in my forward slips. Flying that right pattern helped, since it's easier to slip the Grob that way.

Posted by jzawodn at September 16, 2004 09:22 PM

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