Flying a Grob sailplane

I lucked out today getting my very first sailplane ride on what turned out to be a near perfect thermal condition day. Many thanks to sailplane pilot Nyal Williams for the invitation and to pilot, Ron Clarke for an extraordinary flight. IMG_2730 Winds were gusting over 20 when I departed MQJ in my Rans S7 for the short 30 mile hop to Alexandria, Indiana to meet up with the glider guys. I figured it might be a good day for sailplanes based on how much the up and down-drafts slammed me around on my short flight. Luckily I was right about that. IMG_2711I know a lot of you ladies have your glider rating and after today I’m going to have to figure out a way to make it happen for me too. I was more than a little surprised at the basic stick and rudder skills that a glider constantly demands. And what a blast doing slow, tight turns while listening to the audio variometer’s pitch rise, fall and rise again as we tried to stay in the lift. I seemed to get fixated on watching the instrument itself which is silly since you can hear the pitch constantly changing. Better to focus your sight outside and fly the aircraft. IMG_2724I can see myself flying an imaginary line of cumulus clouds cross-country, sailing from one cloud to the next searching for the ultimate lift. What I’m having a little more trouble visualizing is climbing out tethered 200′ behind a Pawnee trying to hold that precise perfect position. I know I can do it but that part’s going to take a little practice. Same thing with the landing. The approach is very similar to what I’m used to but I don’t typically drive it on to the tarmac like we seemed to do today. I slow it down with flaps, let the speed bleed off and usually full stall with a flare vs. the sailplane’s “spoiler on” approach and plant the main wheel near the numbers landing. They both work, just something that will take some practice. IMG_2720 I flew home, checked my Facebook and found this very nice follow up note between the guys, cc to me…..

Judy was very lucky to experience the good conditions today and seemed to very much enjoy the flight . She actually was well able to fly the glider and would have no difficulty getting a rating . My summary of the flight : * 3 minute tow to 2000 agl . * 1 hour flight covering over 50 miles Alex / Marion / Elwood / Bonges Restaurant / Alex. using just 4 thermals . * Average climb rate for whole flight 4 knots * Best Thermal average 7 knots * Best altitude 8300 msl . * Winds 320 / 15 Tell her I enjoyed showing her how efficient gliders are ! Ron (ZA)

I shot this short video of our approach & landing in the Grob and you can immediately hear the audio variometer.

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