It'll be interesting to see what sort of flight restrictions and checkout procedures the flight committee put together. No matter, I look forward to flying it for years to come.
Now begings the process of selling one or two of our other ships to help pay back the members who are loaning money to the club for the purchase.
Anyone wanna buy a pair of Grob 103s? Or a Pegasus?
The forecast was for no lift around Hollister, but we headed to the airport anyway. Lance wanted to work on his Grob landings and I wanted to work on my back seat flying it the Grob. So we took turns flying, him in the front seat and me in the back seat.
We did five 2,000 foot pattern tows (2 for me, 3 for Lance), landing on runway 31 half the time because 24 was busy. Then I flew high tow and lance flew a high tow (both to 6,000 feet). No lift to be found really. A few bumps and zero sink here and there, but that was it. The clouds down south (Panoche and beyond) looked quite tantalizing. Very high and distinct. Probably 8-9,000 feet.
After those, Lance and Darren took 64JJ up for some Acro. Mike and I followed in 15M. Mike got a chance to fly the Grob from the back seat while we looked for 63JJ. We eventually found 'em and got to watch a wing over. After that, we headed back together because the sea breeze was blowing.
Though there was no lift, it was a fun day. My back seat landings are quite getting better.
This my report from Friday, September 26th. Lance and I intended to take the Grob and 1-34 down to Panoche. But the weather didn't cooperate.
The low clouds around Hollister didn't clear until well after noon, so we gave up on heading to Panoche. Instead, Drew suggested we get used to landing at other airports. So Lance and I sat down to pick some airports, get the important details (frequencies, runways, elevations, etc), and so on.
That took an hour or so because we over-prepared. But it was a good exercise, to dig thru the books, stare at the charts for a while, and to write it all down.
We had planned to hit South County, Watsonville, Salinas (oooh, class D), and then Bikle (no "c" in Bikle, we're told). However, it was getting late, so we decided that South County and Bikle were the logical choices. Bikle is useful heading to/from Panoche, and South County is useful if you get low on the way to or from Mt. Hamilton.
Lance and Russell flew in 9KS while Brett and I flew in 15M. Alan towed us each roughly half way to South County and we flew right traffic for runway 32. After landing, Lance and Russell flew a second pattern at South County. We followed them in for our one and only stop at South County.
Then we towed back over Hollister, releasing above the airport and glided to Bikle. Finding Bikle from the air wasn't as hard as I thought. Given the utterly crappy visibility, Brett provided one simple hint and then it was easy.
Again, 9KS went first. After one landing, Alan towed them to 6,000 feet for some acro fun while we landed. I came in a bit too high for my first landing there and decided to do another to refine the practice. The second one worked quite a bit better. We then towed back thru the valley and glided back to Hollister for my first back seat landing in the Grob.
It turned out to be a good way to spend an afternoon when there was *zero* lift and very poor visibility. Now I'd be comfortable landing at either airport and probably many others I haven't seen. Drew's slowly pushing us farther and farther from Hollister. :-)
Speaking of seeing... Brett snapped some close-up shots of Bikle (and probably South County) with my camera and I took a few on the ground there. I'll get 'em on-line over the weekend.
If the weather this weekend is like it was today, there's not gonna be much of a contest. It'd be fine to practice landings but not much else.
On Saturday, September 13th, we had excellent local soring conditions around Hollister. A bit after noon, I took a 6,000 foot tow in the 1-34 and released over the 2nd ridge by the Tin Roof. There was nothing.
What follows is the flight report I posted that night on the HGC Yahoo Group.
The lift was strong on the first ridge today--mostly around Three Sisters. I took the 1-34 up for an early (around 1pm) flight when several gliders launched on Panoche toes. I towed to 6000 over the second ridge, since that's where the local lift always is. But it wasn't. The air was very smooth. No lift, no sink. I listened to the guys struggling at Panoche as I waited to lose some altitude, assuming that the lift must be a bit lower. It was. Eventually I made my way to the tree sisters and the "bowl" nearby. I didn't find anything until I got below 5000, but between 4000 and 5000 it was good. Three or four times I got low and climbed back up to 5000. Meanwhile, the guys in Panoche were calling for Alan to head down in the Pawnee. How odd. I stayed up about 1.4 hours. About 20-30 minutes before I headed back, Lance and Darren arrived in an ASK-21 to prove that the lift was still there and quite good. Hopefully they'll describe their flight. They got higher than I did and stayed up as least as long. After 30 minutes or so, I got too low for my comfort in the 1-34 and headed back (and found lift on the way!). I'm still experimenting with how low I can be and safely return in the 1-34 on a windless day. When I landed I noticed a real absence of gliders on the ground. After a break to eat and hang out, Darren and I launched in Grob 15M around 3pm and headed back to the same spot. The lift was even stronger than before. The extra 2 hours to let the rocks heat up made a real difference. There were good 4-6 knot thermals and an occasional 8 knot. Lance and Joyce came along in 63JJ after flying some loops and found good lift with us. Steve headed back from Panoche (the only one who didn't need an tow back, I believe) in Pegasus CA and joined us in a thermal long enough to out-climb us. We experimented a bit on the way back (took a few detours) and found that every group of exposed south, west, or southwest facing rocks were producing lift. It's not often that local Hollister lift is better than Panoche! In total, we flew for an hour or so before heading back to call it a day at 4pm. But it wasn't for lack of lift. We flew 70 knots back to the airport and found lots of zero sink and 2 knot thermals along the way. How unusual. 63JJ followed not far behind. The sea breeze didn't arrive until 4pm or so. And even then it wasn't very strong. Did anyone try going west? Maybe out toward Fremont Peak? We discussed it early in the day, but I don't know if anyone tried it. Anyway, the BLIPMAPs for tomorrow look very similar so far. Get down to Hollister and enjoy it. :-)
It was a good day to fly indeed.
On September 13th, several of us got together for a ride in Brian's Cessna 182. He took us on a tour of the typical 300km X-C flight out of Hollister. It was excellent to see the area from a power plane. We also found and photographed a few new airstrips. I took a number of pictures.
When we got back, I took the 1-34 up for a flight over the east hills. The lift wasn't great, but I was able to stay up for a while. We got back kinda late because of a mechanical problem with the 182's engine, but it was well worth the time.
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...
Okay, I'm posting this about a month late, but better late than never...
On Thursday September 4th, I headed up to Truckee again. On Friday morning, I awoke to a surprising amount of fog and low-level clouds. My plan was to meet Steve Ford at Soar Truckee around 10am so that we could fly together in the Hollister Gliding Club's Duo Discus (9DD). (I had flown there for the first time just a week before.)
I got to the airport, found Steve, and asked what was up with the weather. There had been quite a bit of rain the day before and there was a lot of moisture in the air. They said it'd be gone within an hour and it was.
While waiting for the weather to clear, we sat down with a sectional to talk about typical X-C flights out of Truckee. Steve said suggested that we either head north or east/southeast. The BLIPMAPs seemed to indicate that it might be stronger to the north (and possibly there'd be thunderstorms), but both seemed quite doable. So we decided to just wait until we got in the air to see how things looked.
It began to clear, so Steve and I spent some time getting the glider ready and then I gathered up my stuff and hopped in to get used to the Duo. It was my first time flying in the Duo, so I wanted to get comfortable with the controls and whatnot. There's really not a lot of room in the front seat for carrying extra stuff.
We launched a bit after noon with cumulus clouds popping all over the place. From the ground it looked great. We could head in any direction and find good lift.
Steve flew the tow while I got my oxygen equipment on and adjusted. We released at roughly 8,900 feet and Steve got us centered in a nice 6 knot thermal. I then took the controls and didn't give them back for about 2.5 hours. In fact, I was so busy flying and having so much fun that I never thought to take any pictures (doh!).
We talked about cross country decision making, cloud selection, and looking ahead to try and read the sky. Within a few minutes, I had picked my fist cloud and pointed the Duo at it. We arrived and found strong lift: 8 knots. I stopped for a few turns and then headed onto another cloud that was actually the beginning of a cloud street. The on-board computer told us that the thermal was averaging a whopping 13 knots, so we climbed to the cloud base rather quickly! Once we got there, I flew along the bottom of the clouds to the end of the cloud street. Even at 85 knots we were still getting about 4 knots of lift. It was amazing. I couldn't believe the conditions. I decided to head north.
Before I knew it, we had left the vicinity of Truckee. Each time we got out of range of an airport, Steve would call out our next safety airport (he was navigating, I was flying). Over the next two hours, the airports went by and we hopped from strong thermal to strong thermal. I spent quite a bit of time flying at 80 knots between thermals.
At one point we flew bast the Black Rock Desert--the home of Burning Man. I should have taken a picture. Oh, well. Next time.
About an hour and a half into the flight, Steve asked how much farther I wanted to go. He suggested that we use a well known turn point to mark our maximum distance from the airport. Spalding was the closest, so he put it in the flight computer and I got us there. I lost a lot of altitude along the way, probably 5,000 feet. So I spent some time looking for a way to refuel. Eventually we got back to a reasonable altitude and I decided to fly just a few more miles. I wanted to get 100 miles from Truckee before heading back.
Roughly 2 hours into the flight, Steve put Truckee back in the flight computer so that I could navigate back. I turned us around and discovered two troubling things:
The ride back was more challenging. Lift was harder to find and I wasn't flying aggressively enough--because I felt like crap. But we pressed on. At the 3 hour mark, we were getting a bit low and I was struggling with lift along a ridge. Steve suggested a few strategies for working it and they helped, but it was slow going. I was still feeling bad, so we discussed our options.
Steve noted that we were near Nervino airport. We could land there and get a tow back to Truckee. I decided to use that option. The only problem is that the airport was about 12 miles away on the other side of a mountain ridge. We had to gain some altitude (which we'd been trying to do for a while) to climb over it and make it to the airport safely. I gave Steve the controls and let him work us back up and over to the airport. He did an excellent job.
On our way in, Steve called Truckee to get a towplane headed our way. We landed and had a bit of time to stretch our legs. I felt better after being on the ground for a few minutes. The towplane arrived and towed us back to within a safe glide of Truckee.
Off tow, I got the controls again and worked us toward the airport. I had to actually look for sink in order to get us down to pattern altitude. I think I even cracked the spoilers at one point.
We landed uneventfully and put the glider away.
Total time in the air was about 4 hours. 3:20 on our first leg and 0:40 on the way back. Other than feeling like crap after the first 2 hours or so, I had a great time. I look forward to more dual X-C practice next year--after I've figured out how to stay in the air longer than 2 hours without feeling sick.