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21/06/2009

Permalink 22:48:00, by admin Email , 343 words   English (ZA)
Categories: solo, motor falke, twin astir, circuits & landings, backseat training

I've been planning now for a while to have a flight test in the Falke to get my Pax Rating (or Air Experience Rating to be politically correct because this is what the Soaring Society of SA now calls it). In gliding circles things work a little differently and when one gets one's license it does not entitle one to automatically take up paxes (passengers). You first need to building sufficient experience (in our case 100 solo hours or solo landings which ever comes first), go through a flight test and have CFI approval.

This has been on my agenda for quite a while now, but generally when arriving at the airfield one tends to gets busy and preoccupied with getting the show on the road that things like this tend to be de-prioritised or even forgotten.

Sunset runway 16

Today I went up with an instructor in the Falke for this flight test and it included lots of simulated engine outs and precautionary landings. The wind was calm so we could basically take off and land in any direction which gave us lots of options. Today I learnt that at 350 feet into calm air one can relatively easily and safely do a complete 180º turn and land downwind in the Falke. Anything less than 300 feet and you're going to have to land ahead.

So now it's just a matter of completing the paper work and I'll be able to take some people up for a flight. Cool hey!

After this we flew gliders. The wind was calm and it was hot, but due to the high blanket clouds there was no lift what-so-ever and we just flew circuits. I again gave the backseat in the Twin a go and took three winch launches and did very well. One of the landings was a huge amount of fun as we landed "downwind" (very light breeze, like <5kph) and rolled along the length of the runway to the launch point.

I really enjoyed today and learnt quite a bit. One never stops learning in this game! Cost 270.75ZAR.

14/06/2009

Permalink 21:20:00, by admin Email , 512 words   English (ZA)
Categories: solo, motor falke, twin astir, circuits & landings, single astir, backseat training

For today the weather forecast predicted a light-ish northerly wind and a dead sky as far as thermals go and they were bang on. However, as we have had four weekends in a row without flying gliders most the members were desperate to get airborne and so the gliders were hauled out to runway 34.

I started my day with a short flight in the Motor Falke and practiced two circuits including a nice cross wind landing with a light breeze that went off very well.

I am starting to get into this backseat flying thing in the Twin and it's actually rather fun. I took a winch launch (my third ever) with an instructor into about a 25kph wind and all went off very well. During the landing I noticed, too late, that I was actually well off the centre line to the right, but I managed to avoid the bushes and it was only during my next landing that I figured out why.

When sitting at the back you have no direct view ahead as the person in front of you has their head blocking the way and as I was flying a right-hand circuit I needed to look down the right side between his head and the canopy's frame and as it turns out I tended to aim were I was looking, i.e. a little to the right. After having realising this during my second circuit I landed nicely in the middle of the runway.

A little later I took a winch launch in the Single for a little practice and ended up flying a very short circuit due to the shitty launch height of about 850 feet.

Later in the day the wind switched to more westerly and we changed runways to 26. One of the members had found some nice wave lift a few kilometres from the airfield when flying the Falke and he insisted that I give it a go in a glider. The tug and roped were hauled out and I took my first backseat aerotow (which was a breeze by the way) to try and find the lift. Unfortunately for me I released too early and missed/couldn't find the lift so it was a slow float back to the airfield for a nice hangar landing.

Cattle on the airfieldAll-in-all quite a successful day at the airfield today: A short flight in the Falke with a nice cross-wind landing. Two backseat winch launches in the Twin, a winch launch in the Single for practice and a backseat aerotow in the Twin. Unfortunately no soaring but lots of gliding and practice at a cost of 267.55ZAR plus an aerotow.

A very real problem at some of the airfields in Africa, even the ones officially licensed by the CAA are pedestrians and other domestic animals that graze there. Today we twice needed to herd cattle off the runways. The fences are constantly being repaired but the locals feel nothing about steeling the wire, breaking down the fence poles and letting their animals run loose. Dangerous and a sad state of affairs.

07/06/2009

Permalink 13:07:00, by admin Email , 69 words   English (ZA)
Categories: no fly day

The weather was not ideal today as the wind was blowing a fair amount and the sky looked rather dead from a thermalling point of view, though flying was possible unfortunately all the crew did not arrive for duty and so flying was cancelled for the day. This is getting to me a real pain is this is now the forth weekend in a row without proper glider flying. :'(

31/05/2009

Permalink 13:03:00, by admin Email , 10 words   English (ZA)
Categories: no fly day

RainSadly, again noflying this weekend due to the more weather.

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