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Permalink 21:29:00, by admin, 261 words   English (ZA)
Categories: solo, circuits & landings, thermaling & soaring, single astir

3100 ft over FAUHThe weather prediction for thermal activity today did not look very promising (in other words: kak) and was very much inline with the previous months poor soaring weather. It however did indicate that a South Easter might blow in the afternoon and this meant that our ridge would most likely work.

The first few winch launches of the Twin resulted in a predictable short circuit flight while the sky looked very unpromising. The runway was changed from 08 to 16 and I took a launch in the Single and was very surprised and HEPPY to find some small broken bits of lift, just after releasing, which after exploiting as much as possible I managed to convert into some height and from there the lift just got stronger and stronger.

Following another glider along the ridgeI peaked out at 3500 feet after about 25 minutes and then scrapped around looking for lift which became more and more broken and weak as the South Easter starting to pick up and blow the already weak thermals away. After this it was a slow glide down to the deck for not my best landing.

Two hours later and once the South Easter was better established, I took the Single up and soared the ridge for a while having lots of fun with another glider up there. Unfortunately for me someone else also wanted to fly the Single and I returned after a half and hour to accommodate them and had a much nicer landing on 16L.

So in the end not a bad day's flying at 231.70ZAR and some valuable soaring and landing practice.


Permalink 15:20:00, by admin, 185 words   English (ZA)
Categories: solo, motor falke, circuits & landings

Last flightAnother sad very day. I arrived at the airfield only to learn that a fellow aviator based in Uitenhage, though not a member of the gliding club, had been brutally murdered at his home in the early hours of this morning. Yet another senseless crime perpetrated by a bunch of animals and supported by a useless, pathetic and most of all, corrupt, ANC government. Apparently two thieves used a ladder to gain access through a first floor window and when he was disturbed during his sleep and went to investigate, was stabbed several times and died a few minutes latter with his wife at his side. The thieves fled empty handed.

Some falkingAt least we can rely on our equally useless, pathetic and corrupt police force to investigate the crime and bring these criminals to justice. Viva Afrika!

On the flying front we had no instructor so there were no gliding operations for the day. The morning weather was not great, but apparently improved towards the afternoon and once I of course hangared the Motor Falke after a short half hour flight and had returned home.


Rather an amazing day for me. Why? - Because today, for the first time, I flew three different aircraft on the same day. This may not sound like much, but I consider it to be rather an impressive achievement and a first for me. Not only this, the lift was good enough to keep us aloft and my paperwork for my glider pilot's license has been signed off.

The day started off windless and I took the Motor Falke for a short spin to practice some circuits as I hadn't flown her in about a month. The first landing was a greaser and right on the numbers; and I was rather chuffed. This feeling was however short lived as during my second landing I doubt that I was concentrating as much as I should have and accomplished another, this time unpleasant first, in that I managed to get the Falke to bounce rather high into the air on touchdown. I think that I was coming in too fast and didn't round out and flare properly and use enough air brakes as I bounced high. I quickly opened the throttle, as we have been taught and was ready to do a go-around but observed that there was still plenty of runway ahead, so I closed the throttle, pointed the nose down and opened the air brakes for a much much better touchdown and landing.

Ridging - Single in distance

So what next? The wind changed to a light South-Easterly and this meant that our ridge should work rather nicely. We moved our operation from runway 08 to 16 and the first few flights by others in the Twin showed that the ridge was working. With this good news we (I actually had help this time) went off to fetch the Single. The launch was good and I really enjoyed my hour flight on the ridge. Most the time while I was up there, I was there with the Twin and I really enjoyed the challenge in making sure that I climbed and stayed higher than it. It was hard work and the ridge was only working in certain areas. I also managed to find two areas of good lift and circled up in this lift from low over the ridge to about 900 feet above the ridge peak. This really felt good. I returned and landed the aircraft with a really nice landing as another member wanted to fly.

After I landed the Twin was ready for its next flight, but there was so much indecision amongst those there as to who wanted to fly: "no you fly", "no you fly", "no, what about so and so" that I hoped in the backseat with an assistant instructor up front. Today I was going try flying the Twin from the back. Just to be safe and to get used to things, the instructor did the take off and I took over during the climb. I headed straight for the ridge and was joined later by the Single. Again I enjoyed myself and using the knowledge of the previous flight I managed to stay just slightly higher than the Single. After about 30 minutes I set the plane up for finals and handed over the controls for the landing.

So how does it feel to fly from the back? Well my first impressions are as follows (after only being a backseat pax twice before):

  • You lie down much more than the front seat, but this was fine as it is similar to the Single.
  • The controls feel pretty much the same, but you can't adjust the rudder peddles so my knees were a bit high.
  • The climb out with the winch feels rather steep when compared to flying front seat.
  • Visibility forward is ok, but not good. But not because of the head of the person in from of you, but because of distortions in the canopy.
  • Visibility sideways and down is poor as the wing is in your way.
  • The controls feels identical as up front.
  • The landing approach is the same, but the timing to flare feels horrible as it feels like you will stick the nose of the plane into the runway.

Backseat TwinSo that's three planes in one day, but wait, there is more.
As the CFI was at the airfield I remembered that I still needed to get my flight test out the way for my GPL License. So I had a quick flight with him from the front seat of the Twin. Flying from the front seat qualifies as another plane in my books, so let's say four aircraft in one day. Nice hey!

Now that my flight test has been signed off I have crossed the last hurdle on my way to my GPL. It's been a long and sometimes (often, especially in the beginning) frustrating journey that has taken just over three years to complete. This all adds up to 397.50ZAR, which sounds a bit pricey, but does include 118 minutes if flying and three winch launches.


Permalink 22:36:00, by admin, 500 words   English (ZA)
Categories: solo, twin astir, circuits & landings

The soaring weather started off looking awesome and by the time I arrived (9 am) the duty crew (of which I was one) had already extracted the aircraft from the hangar and the winch was ready to go.

So things looked promising. We started flying early and at about 10:30 the Twin managed to stay airborne for a good 45 minutes. We were all thus getting excited and awaited our turn. I was just ready to fetch the Single from the hangar, but decided to wait and watch one more flight in the Twin. By then the sky was getting too blue and the cu's were disappearing and he was coming down too quickly. The report back was - no lift. And so the trend continued and I decided to rather fly the Twin than to go and fetch the Single from the hangar.

During my two flights with an assistant instructor in the back as a pax I was pushing to find lift and ended up pushing too hard. I returned a little low after the first exploration for lift (where I actually managed to find lots of sink) and needed to execute a very short and tight circuit. But all was cool and went off well.

Grob Twin AstirFor the second flight I headed off to the same spot as before as before take off I saw some very nice cloud activity in that direction over the ridge. Again, on the way the vario occasionally hit the -5.0m/s stops and it was not looking good. Never before have I experience so much sink around the airfield as today, it was like the vario was stuck between -2.0 and -5.0.

I turned back for 26L and the runway looked a little far away. On the way there I felt a bump and decided to try my luck and succeeded in perform a circle, finding bugger all lift and loosing precious height. By now the runway was too far and I went for my backup plan which was a cross wind landing on the closer, 16L, runway.

I was a little nervous about the cross wind as the wind today had been very unusual in that is blew constantly from the south-west but the speed kept fluctuating between like 5kph and 20kph, but not in gusts, more like wide swells in the ocean. Never-the-less the cross wind landing went of great.

A few hours later I took the Twin for its hangar landing - solo. Interestingly enough this was my first ever solo flight in the Twin. I went solo in the Blanik and from there straight to the Single. It actually flies very nicely solo. I noticed that the controls and most noticeably the elevator was lighter and more responsive, however I also clearly felt that penetration into wind was less (due to the reduced mass from not having a person in the backseat).

So an interesting a nogal very nice day at a rather expensive 149.25ZAR for three winch launches and a whole 13 minutes of flying.

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