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I'm 20 Woo Hoo!


Permalink 20:45:00, by admin, 512 words   English (ZA)
Categories: solo, circuits & landings, thermaling & soaring, ASW 20

Rather an exciting weekend for me (*understatement of the year*).

Collecting GNTOn Saturday we drove through to Bloemfontein to collect our new toy, an ASW 20F, that I purchased a share in along with two other guys. We drove for 12 hours flat to collect the plane and to have her ready to fly today.

So Sunday morning, early, we rig her and haul her out to runway 26 for a winch launch. The more experienced partner took the 20 for it's first flight and 5 minutes later, as there was no lift, he returned.

Rigging GNTSo now it's my turn. First off the 20 is a new ship for me in that I have never flown one before, this plus all the extra levers in the cockpit, like the flap lever and retractable landing gear lever added to the complexity of the task at hand. I got a good briefing on how to use the flaps and some general flying and landing tips. I also sat for a good hour in the cockpit mentally going through landings and take offs and also pushing and pulling all the appropriate levers and controls. When I felt that I was ready we hooked her up and off I went to land safely 5 minutes later.

GNT's first FAUH landing

So how was it?

Damn nice! (*understatement of the year number 2*).

Here are my initial reactions, when compared to the club's Single Astir.

  • First thing I noticed, during the launch, was that it was really quiet inside the cockpit with minimal whistling wind noise.
  • Next off, when signalling too fast using the rudder requires some aerelon input is required as the plane tends to yo-yo from side to side.
  • One also does not feel the tension releasing through the yellow release knob when releasing from the winch cable.
  • The landing gear is hideously difficult to retract, i.e. the final bit where the gear doors are locked closed.
  • The controls are very nice a light and require very little input and are responsive.
  • The seating position is great and forward visibility excellent.
  • The trim knob is horrible as it needs to be unscrewed to unlock it, then moved, then screwed to lock it again.
  • The landing was a little more tricky in that due to the flexible wings, when you flare the fuselage actually climbs a little while the wings stay behind and this creates a floating (almost ballooning) sensation when landing.
  • The air brakes are not as efficient as the Singles, I would say about 85% as efficient.

Soaring GNT on the ridgeI took another launch and then later in the day another launch when the ridge was working very weakly. It was awesome as I could spend a little time getting used to the plane and brought the speed right back to 80kph with flaps at 4 (thermal flaps). I could feel every little bit of lift and took very little lift to get her to climb. Never-the-less my altitude was slowly dropping and after about 15 minutes I headed back to land.

So a super successfully weekend, a new plane plus getting to fly it. Cost of three winch launches 120.00ZAR.