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-   -   Gliding - now I get it (https://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/636674-gliding-now-i-get.html)

Deltasierra010 15th Dec 2020 17:35

First solo was a non event, aerotow to 2000 float down text book circuit, landing in 15 mins, however, a year later after failing to gain height in gusty conditions I let the speed drop turning finals, the wing dropped and I lost 100 ft wallowed over the fence and landed right in front of the CFI.

His comment ,” please don’t try to kill yourself on my airfield, park your glider up, go and have a coffee, come back, take me up in a 2 seater and show me what you should have done”.

No more needed to be said, 30 yrs on, never forgot that near miss

Krystal n chips 15th Dec 2020 18:02


Originally Posted by VP959 (Post 10947807)
My first solo in a glider was memorable. I was on the second of a set of three auto tows, when I ended up in a bit of sink on finals, and was way too low. The yell from next to me was "what are you going to do about it?", followed quickly by an instruction to get the nose down, pull the brakes back in, punch through the sink, then use the speed to make it to the piano keys (just). I used to smoke back then, so asked if I could sit and have a cigarette before the last of that set of three launches. The instructor climbed out, whilst I sat there, canopy open, trying to calm down a bit. When he returned, he proceeded to fit ballast weights where his seat was, and when I asked what he was doing, he just said "You don't think I'm bloody flying with you again, do you? You're on your own". What should have been exhilaration at my first ever solo in anything was anything but. All I can remember is concentrating like mad on trying to fly as well as I possibly could, and get the thing back on the ground in one piece. Thankfully, the club had a policy of no more flights the same day following a first solo, so I had time to recover, before my wallet got somewhat battered in the bar that evening.

That. I have to say. sounds like an over dramatic account of a complete non event.

You say you were approaching your first solo, so by this time you would have been trained to compensate for being too high on finals as well as too low. Encountering sink happens to everybody, no big deal, because, as you say, close the brakes, increase the air speed, which will happen anyway, without lowering the nose, in fact lowering the nose will exacerbate the situation because you are now losing already reduced altitude, thereafter adjust your landing point and pull the brakes again to land. It does the beg the question as to why you had to land on the piano keys, when surely there was alternative undershoot area on the airfield itself available ....which airfield was this please ?.

Then you say you had a cigarette in the glider....erm, smoking around, let alone in a glider in the wood and fabric era, and equally so today with glass, was always a"NO WAY ! " golden rule. You say the instructor, who, frankly, shouldn't have been given the way you describe his actions and communication skills, was sat next to you. What glider type was this please, only this seating configuration was / is rare.

This is not a personal attack, because, as I've tried to explain, what you encountered on finals, the sink, is far from uncommon and even as a student, you are trained to recognise this, then fly the aircraft accordingly. Easy

Back to reverse pulley launching. If the reverse pulley was so efficient and effective, one question please. Why do winches predominate in preference ?


blind pew 15th Dec 2020 18:17

Krystal n chips
 
Glad I never came across you in my 50 plus years of flying..
from an ex instructor who turned down CFI of a national gliding club amongst other things.

VP959 15th Dec 2020 18:21

It was runway 25 at Culdrose, there had been no sink during the previous landing, ten minutes or so earlier. I later found out that sink at the end of this runway was well known, the effect of having the wind straight down the runway, together with the dip at the end - I was just unlucky in not having experienced it on any previous flight, so it caught me out. Arguably one of the instructors should have pointed out this possibility earlier, but some had communication skills that were, shall we say, less than perfect. There's nowhere to land short there, because of the dip, the hard surfaced runway, and the airfield boundary. I wasn't expecting to go solo at all that day, at that stage I was doing circuit consolidation from auto tows, in batches of three launches, one straight after the other, and I'd not been given any indication that I was about ready to solo. The aircraft was a Capstan, and no, I definitely shouldn't have been smoking in the aircraft, but things were a bit relaxed about such things at the time.

WB627 15th Dec 2020 18:28

OK so time to confess my sins.....

I have mentioned my gliding course at Kenly before and the nightmare instructor that only knew how to shout and not teach.

However I still managed to go solo after 13 launches and 33 minutes flying time and that included two pre solo check flights because the light failed after my first.

First solo (nightmare) ... Only 600 feet off the launch, determined to make the designated turn points (it was rather drummed into us), disappeared below a line of trees on the airfield boundary on the down wind leg, I gave up on reaching the designated turning point (good decision) and did one of those curving (Spitfire like) turns straight on to finals. Phew!! Lots of hushed whispering amongst the instructors and overhear "do we let him do another solo". Yes they do, hurrah, they must be bolder than me LOL

Second Solo - nearly as bad but for the opposite reasons - 900 feet off the launch, release the tow and turn downwind. Still going up OMG! did not expect that, turned down wind at 1200 feet and deployed the spoilers, good decision, except I was still going up, didn't expect that OMG!! Stuck the nose down, that worked, but still too high at the cross wind turning point, so extended the down wind leg, a very longgggg way, good decision. Did a proper cross wind leg this time and landed as close as you could to the briefed landing point. No discussion amongst the instructors after that one.

Third Launch - perfect. 900 feet off the launch, no climbing after launch, hit the cross wind turning point at the right height, proper cross wind leg, turned finals and landed on the designated point again.

Got my A & B certs and never flew a glider again, which was in hind sight, was a bit of a shame, but it was more of a matter of opportunity, than desire.




Imagegear 15th Dec 2020 18:32


Originally Posted by Krystal n chips (Post 10947897)
That. I have to say. sounds like an over dramatic account of a complete non event.

You say you were approaching your first solo, so by this time you would have been trained to compensate for being too high on finals as well as too low. Encountering sink happens to everybody, no big deal, because, as you say, close the brakes, increase the air speed, which will happen anyway, without lowering the nose, in fact lowering the nose will exacerbate the situation because you are now losing already reduced altitude, thereafter adjust your landing point and pull the brakes again to land. It does the beg the question as to why you had to land on the piano keys, when surely there was alternative undershoot area on the airfield itself available ....which airfield was this please ?.

Then you say you had a cigarette in the glider....erm, smoking around, let alone in a glider in the wood and fabric era, and equally so today with glass, was always a"NO WAY ! " golden rule. You say the instructor, who, frankly, shouldn't have been given the way you describe his actions and communication skills, was sat next to you. What glider type was this please, only this seating configuration was / is rare.

This is not a personal attack, because, as I've tried to explain, what you encountered on finals, the sink, is far from uncommon and even as a student, you are trained to recognise this, then fly the aircraft accordingly. Easy

Back to reverse pulley launching. If the reverse pulley was so efficient and effective, one question please. Why do winches predominate in preference ?

Dropping a wing turning finals is the stuff of nightmares - seen it done - never done it fortunately.

If you are in a Blanik - smoking not so much of a problem, in a well doped T21, T31? - Scary :eek:

From the winch you always have a good view of the glider and it is easier to watch the speed in the climb, Throttle and clutch must be adjusted throughout the climb..Not so easy when trying to drive, change gear, look in the mirror, etc., etc.(I used to do it both solo and with help. Not ideal.

IG

VP959 15th Dec 2020 18:46

What was it about instructors and shouting? Roughly two thirds of the gliding club instructors seemed to believe that shouting at students was the best way to teach them. All it did was make me bloody nervous, and tended to destroy my limited self-confidence. It got to the point where I used to try and find out which instructors were likely to be on the field at any time, and try to choose those evenings/weekends when the more pleasant chaps were around, avoiding the times when the worst of the shouters were there. Many years later, learning to fly powered aircraft, things were completely different, I can't recall any raised voices at all, even when I'd been a complete idiot.

WB627 15th Dec 2020 19:40


VP - All it did was make me bloody nervous, and tended to destroy my limited self-confidence.
That is exactly what this instructor did to me. He was the son of the CO and got away with blue murder, apparently. The only reason they did not let him ground me, was that my Dad was an AEF pilot and I had more than a few hours flying Chipmunks and I think that they thought that "questions would be asked" if they did.


blind pew 15th Dec 2020 19:40

Incompetent in one word
 
Not limited to gliders, but all the way down from airliners to paragliders...but in between there are some fabulous ones whom your often come across unexpectedly.
In my 60s I did my first SIV course in Annecy which involved launching off a mountain and doing unmentionably stupid things to a paraglider over the lake whilst in two way radio contact with the instructor two thousand feet below and not far from the rescue boat.
The instructor was a very young, small, quietly spoken Frenchman..not someone I expected..one of the best teachers I have met who knew more about human psyche and reactions than I had ever thought about.
Shouting is about not knowing what you are doing nor how to teach.

M.Mouse 15th Dec 2020 20:29


What was it about instructors and shouting? Roughly two thirds of the gliding club instructors seemed to believe that shouting at students was the best way to teach them. All it did was make me bloody nervous, and tended to destroy my limited self-confidence.
Quite agree. In the 1970s at RAF Locking one instructor in particular was short tempered and shouted when displeased. Bloody awful instructor. On one memorable occasion this instructor, whose rank was Flight Sergeant, was about to get airborne with a student pilot who was a Corporal. The winch launch began and almost immediately the cable release was pulled, the glider stopped about 100 yeards from the launch point, the canopy opened and the student jumped out in a fearsome rage and shouted at said Flight Sergeant 'I get enough being yelled at on the parade ground and won't have it during my leisure activities', or words to that effect, stormed off and went home!

Many years later I became a PPL instructor and nowadays I am a Synthetic Flight Instructor on B777 and B787s and also see trainees from many different countries.

Two things. One is that I would not do the job unless I enjoyed it and secondly it is a matter of personal pride that I adjust to a trainee's culture and temperament to achieve the best results. Seeing progress, especially with a candidate perhaps struggling with an exercise, is very rewarding.

In my view instructors like the one I mentioned either hate instructing or are very unhappy individuals taking out their frustration on others.

VP959 15th Dec 2020 20:35

Same sort of time period. I learned to fly gliders in the late 1970's, and most of the instructors were RN, a mix of ranks. The very worst of all, and someone that used to put the fear of god into me, was a fairly senior officer. The very best instructor, a really patient chap, calm and a great communicator, was a PO.

WB627 15th Dec 2020 20:56

Confession #2

So what was I doing wrong that had my first instructor shouting at me loud enough to be heard in Caterham?

Well, I had a bit of flying time in Chipmunks with my Dad, he was an RAF QFI....

He had shown me how to side slip, but had not let me do it; landing on the grass at Manston across the road that dissected the runway, you lost a good 50 feet as you crossed it, the technique was arrive high at the road, take the drop and if you were still high, side slip the rest off. This required the use of rudder.

He also showed me how to do aerobatics; he let me do a loop, very badly, came out somewhat off the line of entry, despite having a 9,000 foot runway beneath me to act as a reference but did not let me do a barrel roll or a stall turn, both of which required the use of rudder.

The Chipmunk turned quite happily without the use of the rudder, so the long and short of it was I had never actually had to use the rudder before I went on my gliding course and like ShyTorque, I used the wrong foot a bit close to the ground. The screaming in my ears from my instructor only made things worse. We did however, walk away from the landing.

So with the CO's son storming off across Kenly aerodrome with steam coming out of his ears and still screaming about how I had nearly killed him, they put me back into a MKIII with probably the best instructor they had, for a last ditch attempt to get me flying right. Cool, calm and collected, it did not take him more than about 30 seconds to work out what I was doing wrong (cross controls) and explain it to me in a manner that allowed me to understand my error and to not make that mistake again. The rest of my circuit and landing were perfect, much to the further annoyance of my previous instructor. I am eternally grateful that training continued through to solo, with my second instructor and I was the first cadet on the course to go solo, which really upset the CO's son.

It was a life lesson for me, you cannot teach anyone anything by screaming and yelling at them, not that it was in my nature to do that anyway.


ShyTorque 15th Dec 2020 21:32

I went through RAF BFTS on the JP in a regime where students were treated like second class citizens by quite a lot of surly instructors. I hated it most of the time. I later became a QHI and a QFI and always tried to remember what it was like to feel oppressed as a student.

Having left the RAF I trained for my CPLA. The flying school I chose teamed me up with an instructor who was an ex RAF JP instructor. At that time I had not flown fixed wing for some years and was quite rusty but had to do enough flying to get me up to standard for the CAA flight test. I knew how to fly (I was an A cat instructor myself) but really just needed someone to give me some pointers in what to me was an unfamiliar type and prevent me from doing something silly while I got my fixed wing muscle memory back.

Unfortunately, the instructor turned out to be a nagging shouter! I found him extremely off putting and found myself getting frustrated and then angry with him because having asked him politely to back off a bit, he took no notice. Finally, having turned downwind, I told him that I wanted to terminate the flight and land off the next circuit because I’d had enough. He told me I could not and must do a touch and go and carry on! That was the final straw. I gave him control and folded my arms. He landed, taxied in, then laid into me again. I was having none of that! I told him that although his bullying instructional technique might have been acceptable during his time in the RAF twenty five years previously, it certainly wasn’t acceptable to me as a paying customer. I told him I wouldn’t be flying with him again. I never did and I made a point of telling the CFI why I wasn’t going to.

Strangely, some years later, I spoke to an instructor acquaintance at the place I flew from who had flown more recently with that same flying school. He’d had a very similar experience. We compared notes....same instructor!

Loose rivets 16th Dec 2020 00:31

Shouting. I've never understood why people do that. My method of coping with it was to give a loooong meaningful stare right into their eyeballs. However, when a brand new sprog on DC3's I had the temerity to jump on the brakes when the aircraft moved as the second engine started. I got punched in the arm. 'Get off the brakes!'
He was a keep to schedule bloke who saved time by not doing sissy things like after-starts or pre-taxi checks. If the engines were both blowing air backwards, we'd move forwards. Stands to reason. Well, his reason.

I was talking about a captain on another thread. I talked about him again today via Skype. My friend remembered him well. He used to fly whatever height he wanted, and crossing the entire London TMA while doing so made not a jot of difference. No transponders back then. One night he carried on the climb - levels were all set by aircraft reporting their estimates - and got to a height a couple of thousand feet above cleared level. The FO was an intelligent young chap with I remember, a degree in electronics. He also must have had a degree in common sense because he seemingly let the height be known. He got punched.

The story went like this: Being intelligent, the young chap played his ace card. Well, it was generally assumed he had. He suddenly got a command. Rare to be young and a captain back then.

When TREing on a Bandeirante, I was briefed to give extra training to a tall, 40-something, in a suit. He probably had a CPL and flew the Bandit well, but I had to get him to a standard where he could pass the IR renewals down in the Sandpit. It was the hardest thing I'd had to do, but after spending a huge amount on him, there was no way I could pass him. The more gentle I was, the more he seemed to feel guilty at letting me down. I couldn't win. I tried so hard to relax him, but one of the things he did, or didn't do, was after a fine approach he'd just carry on down. I'd touch his shoulder and point at the tower going by. "Oh, I've done it again!!" I can hear him now. He thanked me, saying he'd never been treated with such courtesy. So sad.

621andy 16th Dec 2020 00:53


Originally Posted by VP959 (Post 10947922)
What was it about instructors and shouting? Roughly two thirds of the gliding club instructors seemed to believe that shouting at students was the best way to teach them. All it did was make me bloody nervous, and tended to destroy my limited self-confidence. It got to the point where I used to try and find out which instructors were likely to be on the field at any time, and try to choose those evenings/weekends when the more pleasant chaps were around, avoiding the times when the worst of the shouters were there. Many years later, learning to fly powered aircraft, things were completely different, I can't recall any raised voices at all, even when I'd been a complete idiot.

I think there was an element who learnt to fly in open cockpits where shouting was the only option. When I started Air Cadet flying I was lucky enough to learn on the Sedbergh(T21) due to my long legs, which was very civilised, but when I transitioned to the MKIII at a VGS it was all shouting from the back seat(until intercoms were introduced). However some instructors continued the shouting in the T21 and later in the glass ships:ugh:
There's an old BBC series 'Fighter Pilot' on Youtube that demonstrates the shouting technique to perfection...So in some respects it was a product of it's time.

Loose rivets 16th Dec 2020 02:30

Didn't you'll run to Gosport Tubes?

Somewhere in my funny book, Wing Commander Percy Hatfield bellowed into my Tiger's earpieces I have control!!! He'd used a series of pipes that offered each of us a yellow oval funnel to talk through. It worked quite well.

He'd seen a Perpendicular Prefect on his runway. They probably had just thought, This is a great place to learn to control the car.

Percy's helmet was as tight as the day he spotted the Bismark and he zoomed at the car's roof. I was never sure if he'd meant to hit it, but one didn't ask such questions. The care wobbled through the old concrete tank defences, wipers going as fast as Popular wipers ever went, trying to get the crop-spraying Urea off the glass.

I bet that gave them a heck of a scare.

Men Behind the Medals, Ch 7 The man, not this story. This came from "A funny thing happened on the way to the crash."

RatherBeFlying 16th Dec 2020 03:43

I've found much more variability in glider instructors than with power instructors and have quietly fired (not flown with again) more glider instructors than power instructors.

A collaborative relationship with clear communication is the principal requirement. I remember one glider instructor who had a "I can't put my finger on it" unease with my flying which meant that there was no longer anything to be achieved by flying with him.

Krystal n chips 16th Dec 2020 04:42


Originally Posted by blind pew (Post 10947905)
Glad I never came across you in my 50 plus years of flying..
from an ex instructor who turned down CFI of a national gliding club amongst other things.

That's interesting to learn. Any particular reason as to why although it's equally possible I have the same sentiment.

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.

" Dropping a wing turning finals is the stuff of nightmares - seen it done - never done it fortunately."

If you drop a wing turning finals, it's your own fault for not concentrating on flying the aircraft. There was one classic BGA accident report in this respect " during a low final turn, my left wing clipped standing corn ".....never forgotten that little self incriminating gem

blind pew 16th Dec 2020 06:12

Speed to fly and rotor
 
The late American aerodynamicist and glider pilot Paul MacCready put forward the speed to fly theory which uses the gliders’ polar curve of speed against sink rate plotted and a tangent drawn from the base line to calculate the best speed to fly in a stationary air mass. This he used to annotate a bezel which was mounted on the vario to give the best speed to fly in sinking air. The ring could be rotated to the expected average climb rate of the next thermal. It doesn’t show what happens in wave or more important in rotor.
In 1973 I was sent solo for my first flight in a single seater with less than ten hours in a glider. I flew cross country, did some self taught aerobatics and finished with a heavy landing where I was [email protected] by the CFI. I had flared at the height used in the tug..I never went back.
My next flight in a single seater was in the USA in 1994 which took me through a freefall parachute stick which was unbeknown until the flowers bellowed around me...good briefing.
In 96 I reimported the first glider to fly a 300km flight in the UK - a Phoebus C 17m.
The Phoebus was really the first production composite glider and was designed by Stuttgart Attaflieg which probably has its origins in the Nazi era; they got a lot wrong and was interesting to fly to say the least..makes the max look easy.
The wing was made using a balsa epoxy glass sandwich, a broad thick chord with marked undercamber which gave a polar curve with a marked dent in it around 65 knots. The airbrakes were mounted too far back and were only efficient below approach speed. The ailerons were shielded in low speed flight and needed a turbulator tape mod which I never did. The winch hook was mounted forward after a couple of lockout accidents and hence had poor performance on the wire; I mounted a lump of lead in the fin which gave me an extra 20% winch height and interesting pitch characteristics. The elevator was an all flying T tail which couldn’t be trimmed hands off and the rudder aerodynamically locked on full deflection which led to several accidents.
Unfortunately the only polar curve I could find was in a model aeroplane annual so I flew a series of early morning or evening flights with a knee pad and logged airspeed against sink rate with which I produced a series of tables and used to annotate my own speed to fly ring as well as a table for head wind speeds which is good for a moving airmass but not for wave or rotor.
I took the glider to the French Alps then the following month to Spreckley’s mountain flying circus run by two world champions which unfortunately also had an incompetent shouting instructor. Gill Spreckley told me about speed to fly jumping wave bars into wind which is as fast as one dares up to VNE and how to climb in rotor. After 5 days of struggling I managed and climbed to 5,000m until hypoxia kicked in.
Diving through airfield rotor is the correct technique but the reasons are more complicated than just jumping wave bars.
From experience at difficult sites such as Long Mynd, Sutton Bank, St Aubin, La Motte, Puimosson, Montpellier (where a friend was killed this year which might have been due to the phenomena); the “clutching” rotor sets up around the threshold; it’s position is not constant nor size. One technique is to come in high, over fly and use airbrakes to miss it but there is often not enough room for this to work.
The dynamics are a strong headwind at the upper limits, turbulence, down draft and a reverse flow (tail wind) close to the ground. Add ground effect and you have lots of fun. If you use normal approach speed the sudden reduction of head wind component is important as is the high sink rate.
So you come in high and fast..sometimes silly fast..if the rotor is bad then close the brakes.. once you get through it then you have the problem of killing the speed and ground effect. Pulling the brakes open at high speed in ground effect you only do once; trust me I’ve done it. So pitch up, full brakes, pitch down in extreme conditions.
The phoebus demanded something different.

blind pew 16th Dec 2020 07:18

Phoebus approach techniques
 
Flying comps and occasionally planking it in hastily chosen fields needed special techniques once witnessed by several members of the public driving around the Ripon bypass which ended with multiple attendances of the emergency services and an article in the local rag featuring said glider and the police vehicle sponsored by a local car dealer.
The art was to set up a full side slip using the fuselage as an airbrake; the rudder was locked on the stops as was the elevator and roughly half aileron deflection. After I added the lead to the fin use of full aft elevator wasn't prudent.
Two undercarriages had been broke when the pilot hadn't been able to unlock the rudder but a swift slam of opposite aileron would break the aerodynamic rudder lock using aileron drag. Back pressure was reduced as was rudder; the nose was allowed to slightly rise and air speed was reduced after the ASI started indicating correctly; with full side slip the static ports and airflow wound the needle to its stops.
Occasionally I would keep a large amount of slip on until the flare but if I had misjudged the speed she would float forever.
The air brake only approach needed smooth conditions and no appreciable wind gradient as the air brakes worked reasonably well at 10 knots below Va around 40knots..back side of the drag curve not unlike the Trident 1..pitch up to increase descent rate.
Back to speeding up..last week I flew for the first time since covid in the Mornes. A very strong wind for paragliders left me descending vertically towards a bog..trim speed 30kph..vne 50kph..so it was full speed bar to creep forward to an up wind slope so that I could land near my motor.
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