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Gliding - now I get it

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Gliding - now I get it

Old 16th Dec 2020, 08:19
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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You always learn from a good instructor, and with a great many hours I still have annual checks, usually it’s routine but not always.

it was a cold January morning, the canopy was misting, so close it at the last minute and it clears on the way up the wire, no problem at all, not until the instructor pulls the release at 200ft. At that height you need to take the correct action, there is no second chance, with the canopy still misted and the only vision out of the DV panel, that concentrates the mind. Never ever get complacent !.
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 08:31
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
Never flown at Culdrose, but the lack of undershoot in the way it was described does clarify why landing on the runway was useful.

What does intrigue me however, is, why, with such a known hazard, you were never made aware of it from your first flight. Every club I've flown at includes hazards as part of the initial airfield fam flight briefing on the ground and then in the air with an instructor prior to being allowed to fly solo as an experienced pilot so for a student pilot, this was a serious lapse in the training standards.

As for smoking, sorry, even in a "different era " I never saw anybody dong this near, and certainly in, a glider and I never have subsequently. It's always been a golden rule, for very obvious reasons, smoking and gliders don't get on well. Even the Dutch. happily noted for lighting up anywhere didn't.
To illustrate the approach, here's a aerial shot taken from Google Earth (the runway number has now changed to 24). The valley below the threshold is the cause of the sink, and you can see the obstructions in the undershoot, the lights on poles are on a grass slope leading up to the threshold, as the runways at Culdrose sit a bit higher than the surrounding land:




I agree, I definitely shouldn't have been smoking. Never done it since, although I gave up smoking that same year. I've no idea why there had been no briefing on the apparently well known hazard on that approach. It may have been because instruction there was a bit disjointed - the instructors never seemed to share information about students, especially, I believe, civilian students, and relied on the brief notes in each students training record, often read a few moments before each flight.

There was a split in the club between the service and civilian members, as civilians were only allowed to be honorary members. This created tension as the majority of the day to day work, from aircraft maintenance to all the various jobs around the field, was done by civilian members who'd been there for years. Part of this was that many of the service members would go off to sea for 6 months every year or so, and many only did a three year tour there, anyway. Civilian members also had to pay higher charges, something that rankled with those long standing members that did most of the work there. Being a service club did mean that we had a couple of Chipmunk tugs, though, that were maintained and serviced by RNAS Culdrose.
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 09:27
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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I have only just read the posts which refer to smoking in gliders. The instructor who checked me out to carry passengers in a Bocian used to smoke while airborne. His cockpit check included the materials for rolling and lighting his own. He claimed that it was safer to use own rolled cigarettes because, if he dropped it, it would go out. Unlike manufactured ones, it didn't have the chemicals designed to keep them burning.
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 10:03
  #104 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
To illustrate the approach, here's a aerial shot taken from Google Earth (the runway number has now changed to 24). The valley below the threshold is the cause of the sink, and you can see the obstructions in the undershoot, the lights on poles are on a grass slope leading up to the threshold, as the runways at Culdrose sit a bit higher than the surrounding land:




I agree, I definitely shouldn't have been smoking. Never done it since, although I gave up smoking that same year. I've no idea why there had been no briefing on the apparently well known hazard on that approach. It may have been because instruction there was a bit disjointed - the instructors never seemed to share information about students, especially, I believe, civilian students, and relied on the brief notes in each students training record, often read a few moments before each flight.

There was a split in the club between the service and civilian members, as civilians were only allowed to be honorary members. This created tension as the majority of the day to day work, from aircraft maintenance to all the various jobs around the field, was done by civilian members who'd been there for years. Part of this was that many of the service members would go off to sea for 6 months every year or so, and many only did a three year tour there, anyway. Civilian members also had to pay higher charges, something that rankled with those long standing members that did most of the work there. Being a service club did mean that we had a couple of Chipmunk tugs, though, that were maintained and serviced by RNAS Culdrose.
I had a look thank you, and yes, there are obstructions evident on the approach to the runway. However, there also appears to be a question of "fixation " as to why it was essential to reach the runway when there appears to be adequate grassy areas to the right which could have been used as an alternative. landing area given the circumstances . The safety regime as you describe matters, appears to have been lax to minimal. As for the civilians complaining, their status, and increased fees, has always been the case in every GSA, and is fully justified by virtue of them being civilians, same applied to me when I left the RAF, so they have sod all grounds for complaining.

And so to this classic.

Apart from the modesty involved in the rest of the posts, and thanks for the tip about the McReady ring, useful bit of kit I agree, albeit sometimes it was prudent to ignore, such as when flying in still air, coming back from Eindhoven to Bruggen one day, ...ring said, no problem, local knowledge said ..no way, marshy ground, Roermond, bits of the Maas and rising ground with forests being somewhat prominent in my survival instincts here....and no mention of John Willy's little bit of plastic either, or was this just for us mere mortals ?......even more amazingly, I knew how it worked !....but then, as I say, comes this.......

" After 5 days of struggling I managed and climbed to 5,000m until hypoxia kicked in."

Lets see if I've got this right...you went in search of wave, for five days, and when you did encounter it, happily climbed 5000m.....without oxygen ? You see, when I went wave flying, there were a few little rules and regs, strangely mandatory, such as having a charged oxygen cylinder on board, and going on oxygen at FL 80 if established in a wave climb the official height being FL100.... as the song goes, oo !,...oo,! stayin alive! "
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 10:42
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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K & C

A ranking Victor pilot got checked out the Swallow and after a few days more practice thermaled upwards towards cloud base into which he disappeared at about 4500'.. The Swallow (as I remember) had no AH only a turn and slip but he thought he would give it a go anyway. Over the space of about an hour, and falling out of the bottom of the cloud several times before making a recovery, he eventually landed and informed the bus that he kept losing control at around 7500'. Commenting on his lack of success, he said that even in the JP with some instruments "covered", and unusual attitudes, he never lost control as quickly as in a glider.

Rivets - Ditto for me:

My gliding instructors were quite often a "tetchy" bunch, and I am not sure if that was because of a tendency to see how far the stude would go before he became aware of his precarious situation.? Having check rides seemed to be more stressful than going solo, does the team think that it might be that a boosted confidence level just before solo, makes for a calmer, thinking pilot.?

I never encountered the same with power instructors, the best being a woman and German, closely followed by a Zimbabwean Airforce, sharp and pointy fella. Both excellent, reassuring but meticulous in their cockpit drills and manner.

IG

Last edited by Imagegear; 16th Dec 2020 at 10:58.
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 10:53
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
I had a look thank you, and yes, there are obstructions evident on the approach to the runway. However, there also appears to be a question of "fixation " as to why it was essential to reach the runway when there appears to be adequate grassy areas to the right which could have been used as an alternative. landing area given the circumstances . The safety regime as you describe matters, appears to have been lax to minimal. As for the civilians complaining, their status, and increased fees, has always been the case in every GSA, and is fully justified by virtue of them being civilians, same applied to me when I left the RAF, so they have sod all grounds for complaining.
Unfortunately, that grassy area is uphill, with quite a slope. The curved lines of mown grass sort of show the contour of that mound below the threshold, the lane at the edge of it is about 30ft lower that the piano keys. It all happened very quickly, too, or at least seemed to as I remember it; this was around 40 years ago now.

I agree, the safety regime wasn't good, with hindsight. At the time I didn't really know any different, as this was my first experience of flying, apart from air experience flights when in the ATC. The onus on maintaining continuity during training seemed to be on the student, not something that was made very clear at the time. It was pot luck which instructor you went up with, often decided just minutes before a flight, and it wasn't unusual to have to try and tell the instructor whereabouts I thought I'd got to on the syllabus, as he'd never seen me before. They were also a bit lax about signing off each stage on the training record, as I recall - looking at it one instructor signed off five categories on the same date, probably at the same time; the same instructor that sent me solo signed them, and he wasn't one I'd flown with often.

The civilian/service thing was, I think, exacerbated by the fact that almost all the long term club members were MoD civilians, many of whom seemed to do the bulk of the work. Inevitable, given that the civilian members weren't subject to having to go to sea, or move around regularly, but some thought it was unfair. There was even division between the civilian members, though, as those who were MoD civilians had a right to be club members, whilst those who weren't (mainly contractors) had no rights at all, and were there on sufferance. Understandable, given that it was a service club, but still something that created tension and tended to upset the smooth running of the club at times.
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 10:59
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
I had a look thank you, and yes, there are obstructions evident on the approach to the runway. However, there also appears to be a question of "fixation " as to why it was essential to reach the runway when there appears to be adequate grassy areas to the right which could have been used as an alternative. landing area given the circumstances . ..........
It's been ages but, IIR, there is quite a significant upslope from the fence to the threshold of 24 at Culdie. I could just imagine the view from the launch point as the glider vanishes from view....... EDIT:- Cheers VP959 - we cross-posted on that!!!

You'd probably get it down - but the flare would be interesting and you'd probably have to hop out PDQ to stop the [email protected]@er trundling back down the hill!! OK, that last bit may be a bit OTT - but it's a fair old hill IIR!!!
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 11:08
  #108 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Hot 'n' High View Post
It's been ages but, IIR, there is quite a significant upslope from the fence to the threshold of 24 at Culdie. I could just imagine the view from the launch point as the glider vanishes from view....... EDIT:- Cheers VP959 - we cross-posted on that!!!

You'd probably get it down - but the flare would be interesting and you'd probably have to hop out PDQ to stop the [email protected]@er trundling back down the hill!! OK, that last bit may be a bit OTT - but it's a fair old hill IIR!!!
Fair enough regarding the upslope on the hill and the grassy area. not really a good idea I agree to try an land on such.

As for the Swallow, and other GSA types, well the ones I've flown, had a T/S as part of the panel.
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 11:31
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Instructors who shout should not be tolerated. An instructor once shouted at me during a night detail, in a twin piston training aircraft during a go-around as part of a flight test. I immediately shouted back and told him not to shout at me and that I was cancelling the test. (I was the student but I was paying for my training, so I was also the customer - a fact that some instructors forget).

As soon as a student is shouted at, they stop thinking, tense up and possibly become nervous, none of which are what is needed. Calm quiet instruction - or calmly taking control if the situation is approaching danger is what should happen.
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 12:08
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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Smoking

Last week we lost Guppy to the big C.
An instructor at Essex and Suffolk who would demonstrate pole bending in his ASW20..one day he unexpectedly returned to the airfield with a smoke filled cockpit. The hot end of his cigar had blown back into his reserve parachute which started smouldering. Didn't stop his future smoking.
Good instructor.
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Old 19th Dec 2020, 17:56
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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VP - You mention a PO instructor at Culdrose - was the surname Smith, by any chance?
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Old 19th Dec 2020, 18:00
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Cornish Jack View Post
VP - You mention a PO instructor at Culdrose - was the surname Smith, by any chance?

I'm afraid not. I don't have any recollection of someone called Smith, doesn't mean there wasn't one, though, as I probably didn't know the surnames of many of the members.
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Old 19th Dec 2020, 18:23
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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I've tried to read through this thread completely but my eyes are starting to hurt. I was looking for, but didn't find any mention of this relevant thread!
Unintentional Flight Into IMC.

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Old 20th Dec 2020, 01:00
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aerobelly View Post
Connel used to do auto launches behind an elderly middle-aged V12 Jaguar. I was supposed to get qualified (if that's that right word) with it, but a 3 day tail-end of hurricane put an end to that. High point of the otherwise washed-out week was getting into the wave off Mull on the last day. But we launched with no oxygen or even cameras
That's blast from the past! I spent a season driving that tow-Jag, in exchange for flying with the redoubtable Tony Shelton. Early 1980's.
His Argyll and West Highland Gliding club did 5-day courses during the week, and a friend towed us up at weekends. Mainly for him to blow away the cobwebs and 'let off steam' ..of which Tony seemed to contain large amounts, at high pressure!
Flying an IS-28 and later a Puchacz (which I have spelled wrong probably).

I recall slope soaring Ben Nevis, I was flying and the entire forward view was full of grey granite, until Tony said, 'turn now', and, wingtip almost scraping the rock face, we went up like a rocket into sunshine, looking down at the cagoule-wearing hikers ..who had just achieved the summit by a more laborious route..
He knew every scrap of grass where we might conceivably land out, and some others just in case..and it was not uncommon to be looking a sheep in the eyes, scratching over the complex arrangement of ridges.
An amazing experience, thanks Shelton wherever you are.

Last edited by jerrytug; 20th Dec 2020 at 01:11.
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Old 20th Dec 2020, 01:34
  #115 (permalink)  
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In the days pilots were driven to a leisurely lunch at Innsbruck, I mused over the tiny propeller accelerating a glider down the runway. When the frenetic buzzing faded, I forgot about it, and its companion.

Lunch and another glass of Applesaft later, I leaned back and looked up at the sheer almost vertical mountainside. The gliders were coming down the rockface as though coming in to land - their wheels inches away from the granite. Innsbruck never disappointed.
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Old 20th Dec 2020, 17:31
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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As soon as a student is shouted at, they stop thinking, tense up and possibly become nervous, none of which are what is needed. Calm quiet instruction - or calmly taking control if the situation is approaching danger is what should happen.
I've never been shouted at, but there was an instructor who clearly was able to think much faster than I could - he gave an almost constant stream of patter and before I'd responded to one instruction he would have given at least one further instruction and be starting on a third. In the end my wife and I decided that if he was the Duty Instructor we'd go shopping instead.

After the first lockdown I realised I needed help with my (power) landings and booked an hour with an instructor. It was coming together, but not as good as I'd have liked, so I booked a further hour the following week. On that flight it seemed as though I received nothing but criticism from the other seat: "Don't hold the throttle like that, check your height..." and so on. My flying deteriorated and I should have called a halt, or at least pointed out that it wasn't helping. I don't fly there any more.
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Old 20th Dec 2020, 19:30
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by jerrytug View Post
That's blast from the past! I spent a season driving that tow-Jag, in exchange for flying with the redoubtable Tony Shelton. Early 1980's.
His Argyll and West Highland Gliding club did 5-day courses during the week, and a friend towed us up at weekends. Mainly for him to blow away the cobwebs and 'let off steam' ..of which Tony seemed to contain large amounts, at high pressure!
Flying an IS-28 and later a Puchacz (which I have spelled wrong probably).
Yup, Tony Shelton and ANO whose name is hard to read in my logbook, looks like Sutrees (sic). In 1990 the Puchacz and the Jag were still the mainstays. Tony was a super knowledgeable and entertaining guy, which he needed to be to keep the paying customers educated and entertained as the rain lashed the caravan on the airfield for 3 days. We might have an hour of meteorology followed by an hour on the merits of the old Leica cameras which he and two of the studes owned, and so on. All our rock scraping was on the escarpment of Beinn Lora just to the north. A very happy week.

'a
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Old 21st Dec 2020, 03:26
  #118 (permalink)  
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Innominate, I'm dying to know how you were holding the throttle.
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Old 21st Dec 2020, 08:50
  #119 (permalink)  
 
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To get somewhat back on topic - i.e. why gliding is great - here in Western Australia we are forecasting thermals to 15,000 feet (under Cu!) on Thursday, so I'm planning to pay about $50 AUD for an aerotow & take my $10,000 44 year-old glider (Grob Astir CS) for a 6 hour spin, with the goal of flying a task of between 550 - 650 km. People underestimate how much adventure & fun can be had for such little money in a glider!
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Old 21st Dec 2020, 09:34
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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After forty years of instructing and being instructed on everything from gliders to big Jets I believe there is a definite school of teaching best described as ‘if it’s not hurting you are not learning’. Some people respond to this style which was popular in various Air Forces and in my experience France. Flying can be stressful and eliminating those that respond poorly to stress is not completely crazy. However I personally have always preferred the idea that if people are enjoying something they will perform better. That is generally the case with me. However flying is a deadly serious business and a friendly environment has to be underpinned with clear limits hopefully conveyed in a calm and professional way.
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