Sunday, 24 April 2011

Glider release: now!

Flying towards the bright side of the mountain ridge, I'm expecting the kick in the seat that will give me a hint when I reach the rising air.
The speed looks stable, the glider 200 ft behind me is following my path nicely, and I can now clearly spot the dozen of gliders already flying along the ridge and using the steep slope as a way to gain altitude as the wind is blowing towards it.
It's deep blue pretty much everywhere today, hot as well, a nice soaring day. The glider I will release is going to stay in the air for at least 5 hours and complete a closed circuit of more than 500 km (300nm).
Here it is, the push feeling in the seat, the speed increases and the rate of climb doubles initially before increasing even more.
Looking over my left wing, it looks like we're in a lift. Or it could be the ridge falling down very quickly. My VSI indicates more than 1500 ft/min when the glider decides to release the cable, and the fun begins...

Flaps up with full ailerons deflection well past a normal steep turn, enough to allow the nose to go down and the speed to settle around VNO / VNO + 20.
When we tow the gliders to a close hill, we usually have quite a bit of height to loose over a short distance, giving us some interesting descent rates of 3-4000 ft/min.
Most of the time, the final approach is flown under a path angle varying between 10 and 15% instead of the usual 5%.
Needless to say that flying-wise, it is a lot of fun, and it sharpens the hand flying skills.
We sometimes get to do some formation flying when two tow planes release their gliders at the same time in the same area.

I included two drawings of the airfield configurations. Being a busy airfield, it can get a bit confusing at times with gliders landing everywhere, tow planes taking-off from three different concrete strips, other tow planes landing between them, and the winch in use at the same time.

Airborne life continues...


Jorko said...

Quite a turn you've made on the first photo!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I replied to the previous topic, but it has not been posted. strange? Irishrover.

Alex M. said...


Frédéric said...

I'd say :
Always double check the glider's release.
Always "watch your six" before steep turning !
Keep on enjoying ! =)

Brian said...

Hey Golfcharlie, I've been reading all your posts and I gotta say I'm really happy for you!
I'm about to start my own Private Pilot License, gotta pass the med exam the 30th of May first but i'm hopeful it will go without a problem.

I hope I get the same luck as you did in your on going career, I live in Argentina so everything is very very different. Just to give an example: normal airlines ask for at least 900 flight hours before even considering you for a co-pilot position.

Keep up the great posts with those pics!


Brian said...

Hi Golfcharlie, i've been reading all your posts from start and I gotta say I'm really glad you are accomplishing what you set out to do.

I hope I get the same luck as you are having once I pass the med exam (may the 30th) and I start working on my PPL. Shame things are so different here in Argentina, an airline (not even the top ones) asks for at least 900 hs before considering you. But considering the responsabilities you are given I don't disagree.

Best of lucks and keep up the pics and videos!


Golfcharlie232 said...

Hi Brian, well, keep up the hard work and it should pay off eventually.

Good luck for the medical exam, and enjoy the flying!