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Suicide Mission

22/11/2009

Permalink 17:38:18, by admin Email , 388 words   English (ZA)
Categories: solo, circuits & landings, thermaling & soaring, ASW 20

Today was one of those exciting days at the airfield - but for all the wrong reasons.

There was a fairly strong south-westerly blowing (30 kph) and we all headed to the threshold of runway 26 to start with winch launching. It was there that we witnessed attempt number one of a Cessna C150, who was practicing circuits, trying to hang himself on runway 26R's threshold fence. Those that know our airfield are well aware that it sits high on a type of escarpment and that the runway thresholds (left and right) are at right angles and fairly close to the edge of the escarpment. When runway 26 is in use and the wind BLOWS there is often serious amounts of curl over that can catch the unwary pilot by surprise and drag them down. Power pilots can generally power out of this predicament but more than one glider pilot has landed on the wrong side of the fence.

Today our C150 friend was playing with fate. He set up a long finals, LOW, routing straight for the curl over that would greet him a few hundred metres short of the threshold. Large amounts of power (well as best as the C150 can do) were required to get him over the fence. Not satisfied with tempting fate only once, our fearless pilot friend, whom we had now determined, with a quick phone call to the aircraft's operator, was accompanied by a an "instructor", went for his second badge.

This time we all watched in amazement, you know, that weird yet fascinating feeling one has when watching say, a house burn down or those slow motion re-plays of some horrible accident on the television, as out fearless friend went for his second badge.

Weighing our Falke - Nothing to do with the C150 in this story.Again, long finals, but this time really LOW. For the first time at our airfield I witnessed how an aircraft flew finals, into a strong headwind, BELOW, yes, BELOW ridge height and thus airfield elevation. By some miracle, or with the assistance of an army of guardian angles, they some how managed to drag the aircraft over the fence and plonk it down on the other side. Whew!

Well, after that, our flying for the day was just plain dull. I had two short flights in the 20, fighting in the very very broken lift for 40 minutes of air time.