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

tartare 10th Nov 2020 00:48

Gliding - now I get it
 
Went up in the front seat of an ASK21 with my boy instructing at Lake Keepit (5 hours out of Sydney) yesterday, before handing him over to the RAAF next year.
At age 54 and after flying in many different types of aircraft over the years, my first time ever in a glider.
Wow - on so many levels.
I'd thought gliding was a sedate, old blokes' sport.
Holy schmoley - I reminded myself of that as we pulled 2gs constant at 45 degrees angle of bank rotating in a bumpy thermal.
And the boy tells me he was being gentle - we cranked on 4.5 in a steep turn and wingover - I can only imagine what full aeros must be like.
Amazing that there is so much energy in the sky to keep you aloft... one small, corrugated iron roof in the sun 3500 feet below was enough to push us up at 5 knots.
I naively asked some of the old pilots sitting around the barbie at night whether they ventured 100kms or so from the field.
One quietly said "...more like 700-800kms..."
A large part of the vastness of NSW is their playground.
Poled around in thermals - not enough rudder - nose all over the place because of adverse yaw, no death grip - just fingers on the stick.
All very jet-like - a tight fitting cockpit, hot and sunny, the roar of the wind, with the harnesses, looking out and around and reading the sky.
Looking at the state of the art Ventus's and other makes, all the electronics, and imagining those guys and girls who fly for 8-9 hours, thousands of miles and get up so high they need oxygen.
Still processing it all... thank you to Val the tug pilot and all of you at Lake Keepit Soaring Club.

Loose rivets 10th Nov 2020 01:07

Gosh, you're in the modern world. When I was training crews for one of the Air Wales incarnations, I was invited to fly a Cadet school . . . glider. It was two abreast and had windscreens. That's all I can remember.

I was horrified. I was flying but really had little idea what to do. What shook me the most was the silence. Didn't like it. No reassuring turbine noise. We didn't go far and I asked exactly where I was to land. Hmmm, I was nifty at side-slipping, but this would be tight. Brakes out, full rudder, and it all went fine. We slithered to a standstill and after I had thanked my host, buzzed off.

It was about 20 years later when I suddenly realised we were probably supposed to do at least two more circuits. I suppose I just had a kind of magnetic desire to close the gap between this silent object and the planet.

I was going to say, Not natural, but your post makes it sound like the most natural flying that's ever been.

IFMU 10th Nov 2020 02:33

One of my former co-workers said that soaring is the only real flying there is. I always figured he knew what he was talking about. Before he was a test pilot for our company, he was in the Air Force and did a couple tours in Vietnam. One in fighters, one in helicopters.

n5296s 10th Nov 2020 02:41

Tried it once. Never got any lift from anything. Boring and expensive.

Curious how you pulled 2G in a 45 degree turn...

tartare 10th Nov 2020 02:44

It was anything but boring.
And my bad, the turn must have been steeper - I was looking down what seemed like a near vertical wing at the time!
My son covered the ASI and made me fly by sound and attitude alone throughout one whole flight, calling out airspeeds from the back.
Very challenging, and quite disconcerting.

ChrisJ800 10th Nov 2020 03:05


Originally Posted by Loose rivets (Post 10922951)
Gosh, you're in the modern world. When I was training crews for one of the Air Wales incarnations, I was invited to fly a Cadet school . . . glider. It was two abreast and had windscreens. That's all I can remember.

I was horrified. I was flying but really had little idea what to do. What shook me the most was the silence. Didn't like it. No reassuring turbine noise. We didn't go far and I asked exactly where I was to land. Hmmm, I was nifty at side-slipping, but this would be tight. Brakes out, full rudder, and it all went fine. We slithered to a standstill and after I had thanked my host, buzzed off.

It was about 20 years later when I suddenly realised we were probably supposed to do at least two more circuits. I suppose I just had a kind of magnetic desire to close the gap between this silent object and the planet.

I was going to say, Not natural, but your post makes it sound like the most natural flying that's ever been.

Sounds like a Slingsby T21, called the Sedbergh in the RAF. I had my first flight in one at Kent Gliding Club a long time ago. Modern fiberglass gliders are amazing with 3 times better glide ratio of the T21.

Ascend Charlie 10th Nov 2020 04:24


Curious how you pulled 2G in a 45 degree turn...
Going UP, not level flight.

My first ever flight was in a Kookaburra glider, from Inverell North airfield, in 1957 with my father as the pilot. He had been RAAF and Qantas and was then a farmer, but being cfi of the local glider club gave him another outlet.

Cable-launched, we only got to about 1000' before release, but still enough for a loop and some swoops. Planted the aviation seed in my mouldy brain, took 45 years of aviation for the matured tree to say "Enough".

Imagegear 10th Nov 2020 04:58


Originally Posted by ChrisJ800 (Post 10922982)
Sounds like a Slingsby T21, called the Sedbergh in the RAF. I had my first flight in one at Kent Gliding Club a long time ago. Modern fiberglass gliders are amazing with 3 times better glide ratio of the T21.

Not called "The Barge" for nothing

Used to sit on the Locking Ridge doing about 45 knots and listening to the dogs barking as I passed over the farmhouse on the top of the ridge.

IG

VP959 10th Nov 2020 08:09

My first ever flight was in a Sedburgh. RAF Halton in the mid-1960s, as a cadet. Never forgotten it. The thing that I remember most clearly about that flight is the wire launch, and the wind noise. For some reason I can't remember the circuit at all.

treadigraph 10th Nov 2020 08:15

Last chapter of the late Derek Piggott's book "Delta Papa" sums up what gliding's all about...

lederhosen 10th Nov 2020 09:02

As an enthusiastic glider pilot (lucky enough to fly an Arcus M) I have recently discovered some you tube videos by Stefan Langer. There are a couple of him flying 1000km through my area in southern Germany as well as some beach flying in New Zealand that was quite literally unbelievable. Modern gliders are so efficient that in good conditions you rarely need to stop and turn in lift, but just speed up through the sink and then zoom climb in the lift. Stefan's video is mostly speeded up so it looks strange to see the vario mainly indicating sink but him maintaining or increasing height, as the short time pulling up barely registers. If you have a few minutes to spare I can thoroughly recommend them. It looks effortless, but I can assure you it is not. It is however indicative of what is possible.

Hot 'n' High 10th Nov 2020 09:10


Originally Posted by Loose rivets (Post 10922951)
....... I was going to say, Not natural, but your post makes it sound like the most natural flying that's ever been.

On a visit to Oz way back now, got checked out at Camden and sent solo (with the sage words "Don't forget the sun is to the North of you here!!") and soon found myself happily zooming heavenwards in what was definitely a "non-UK" thermal. :ok:

Then, way below, I saw this Eagle-type bird following me round in the thermal watching me all the time. Four or five times round the thermal and it had gone from a few hundred feet below me to a few hundred above me ... and was still going up like a rocket! The look of complete distain it gave me as it passed through my level on its way up still haunts me to this day.........

And I thought I'd been doing so well!!!!!! :sad:

As an aside, I G**gled IS-30 and came across an IS-30 on aerotow last year from Gympie, with "QA" on the tail - given up trying to post the URL!!! :ugh: The IS-30 I flew at Camden in Aug '92 was "GQA". Has she, by last year, moved North? Small world if so!!!

Krystal n chips 10th Nov 2020 09:14

Yep, the developments in glider design and cockpit technology are very much to the pilots advantage, however, there still remains one rather basic requirement.

The pilot still has to fly the aircraft.

To quote a well known expression from a few years ago....." get your ass into glass "

And you don't need to get that high to need oxygen......10k was the usual criteria to start using it, however, it was often "suggested " you got ready at about 8k when you were in or approaching wave

"The look of complete distain it gave me as it passed through my level on it's way up still haunts me to this day."

I can empathise with this.....weak Feb thermals over 31 Sqdn's ramp one day, happily slowly going up in a Ka8 and what appears, from left to right and joins me with a combination of bemusement and disdain ?......then it clearly got bored with the entertainment being provided by the human and simply flew off.

Bergerie1 10th Nov 2020 10:24

I remember being airborne in a microlight and being overtaken by a pigeon!!

Krystal n chips 10th Nov 2020 10:33


Originally Posted by Bergerie1 (Post 10923274)
I remember being airborne in a microlight and being overtaken by a pigeon!!

Well it wasn't one of the two I've clattered into the next world, both at the top of the launch, then Ever compassionate, the winch driver, and a couple of helpers, kindly cut ones leg off with the bolt cutters used to cut the cable.............. so they could send the ring back to the owner

blind pew 10th Nov 2020 10:44

Flew at keepit
 
But if you want real flying try rock polishing out of one of the french airfields in the Durance valley, followed by a modern winch launch then glider aerobatics finishing in a beat up below 3 ft. Makes a duck and drive approach in a heavy jet look easy.

esa-aardvark 10th Nov 2020 12:58

Who's that down there ?

Who's that up there asking who's that down there ?

Fitter2 10th Nov 2020 13:12

Blind Pew - totally agree with you. To climb above St Crepin, slide through the Ecrans looking up at the glaciers, cross the valley to the tip of the Vercors range, run up to Grenoble and back to final glide for a cold beer at Serres was one of the highlights of last year's flying. Not this year, damnit. I almost gave up gliding (mostly competitions) 20 years ago when kids who I had first seen in carrycots started beating me, but a trip to the mountains with a friend introduced me to other dimensions of enjoyment

And with regards to the straight line climbing, I took a Ka8 pilot in the back of the ASH25 a couple of years ago, and after climbing once off tow at Lasham, somewhere near Malmesbury a voice from behind asked 'Do you ever bother to circle?'

blind pew 10th Nov 2020 14:38

St Crepin
 
Got low there once and my [email protected] started twitching but I was lucky enough to do a week one to one with Jaques Noel out of Gap...tried to tell my fellow club members in Essex and Suffolk how close to the mountain but they didn't believe me. Did a requalifcation at St Remy en Provence three years ago to fly the grand kids but the work load in the Alps is too much for an old boy.

B2N2 10th Nov 2020 16:49

Started with glider flying at 19 as powered flight was too expensive.
For about 15 years my personal best was 7hrs12min in a K8b


https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....7d41ea5a4.jpeg
(Not the actual plane, google find)

rogerg 10th Nov 2020 17:39

Its scary the first time you leave the launch site and know you can not get back without some assistance.

TLDNMCL 10th Nov 2020 18:15

You want me to sit where? 😲
 
My first ever flight was as an adult in a glider, and I
have no idea what model it was, but it was a tandem design built more like a rowing boat than an aircraft.
I thought I had mis-heard the pilot when after showing me what not to touch (anything), he told me to get into the front seat. 😕
Winch launch, creaking and straining noises then the hump back bridge-style belly flop on release.
After a while, I was allowed some stick time - as the OP said, gentle fingertips and mild movements were pretty much all you needed to go where desired. That particular beast though needed a slight constant forward pressure on the stick, or the nose would bounce around, it didn't take long to get used to it after a few minutes. Great fun.

Hydromet 10th Nov 2020 20:36

A late colleague who'd flown bombers during WW II and DC3s for aerial photography afterwards reckoned that glider flying was the most exciting. I guess it was for him, as he became the first glider pilot in Australia to use his parachute, when the wing fell off at Waikerie, South Australia.

stevef 10th Nov 2020 21:48

My first ever flight was in a Sedburgh at Cosford. Marvellous! My first powered flight was at the same place in a Chipmunk a few months later and I unwisely asked for aerobatics after lunch. :yuk: A five year gap then a little bit of flying at the RAF Colerne Bannerdown Gliding Club. The office/kitchen was an old double-decker bus that had to be towed out of the hangar.
As a newbie it was mainly wing-tipping, waving and winch helping all day for a couple of circuits in another Sedburgh or Bocian before flying stopped and the bar opened. The windows were painted black to stop Snowdrops (RAF Police) from seeing any late-night activity as they drove around the peri-tracks. Happy days.

tartare 10th Nov 2020 22:35


Originally Posted by lederhosen (Post 10923180)
As an enthusiastic glider pilot (lucky enough to fly an Arcus M) I have recently discovered some you tube videos by Stefan Langer. There are a couple of him flying 1000km through my area in southern Germany as well as some beach flying in New Zealand that was quite literally unbelievable. Modern gliders are so efficient that in good conditions you rarely need to stop and turn in lift, but just speed up through the sink and then zoom climb in the lift. Stefan's video is mostly speeded up so it looks strange to see the vario mainly indicating sink but him maintaining or increasing height, as the short time pulling up barely registers. If you have a few minutes to spare I can thoroughly recommend them. It looks effortless, but I can assure you it is not. It is however indicative of what is possible.

I just subscribed to the Stefan Langer youtube channel - thank you!
I'm a South Islander from Christchurch now living in Sydney.
I've visited Omarama and talked to glider pilots there, but had never appreciated what soaring in the Alps was like.
As a result of watching that video, I've told my son we need to add a flight from Omarama over the Alps together to our bucket list!

Pinky the pilot 11th Nov 2020 00:44


as he became the first glider pilot in Australia to use his parachute,
Someone by the name of Jan C? A HP14 if I remember correctly.

Did my Diamond Distance out of Waikerie back in 1979. A 500km triangle Waikerie-Karoonda- Mildura A/F- Waikerie, flying a Glasflugel H301b Open Libelle.
Managed an average speed of 102km/h!

tartare 11th Nov 2020 01:00

GUA Slingsby HP14T 1668/GFA/HB/68 29/7/67 1970 Glider owned by a New South Wales group including Jan C. Broke up in flight near Karween, Victoria on 5 January 1972 during the National Championships at Benalla. Pilot escaped by parachute. This HP-14 was an 18 metre wing span T tail version built from Slingsby components. Fate – destroyed.

Hydromet 11th Nov 2020 06:11


Originally Posted by Pinky the pilot (Post 10923769)
Someone by the name of Jan C? A HP14 if I remember correctly.

Did my Diamond Distance out of Waikerie back in 1979. A 500km triangle Waikerie-Karoonda- Mildura A/F- Waikerie, flying a Glasflugel H301b Open Libelle.
Managed an average speed of 102km/h!

Correct, Pinky. I worked with him in the late '60s & early '70s, then moved on when I figured i wouldn't get the promotion I wanted until he retired. Coincidentally, when I returned to the same organisation 10 years later, it was into his old position. Not sure what model glider it was.
He said that when his parachute opened, his first concern was that he may be hit by the bits that were falling around him. He then tried to remember what he'd been taught about parachuting during his service. Just before he landed, he remembered to spit out his false teeth.

ThorMos 11th Nov 2020 06:14

imagine that: every airport with a winch and a high number of auto-piloted gliders. You step into on of them and tell the computer where you want to go. The glider gets winched to whatever height and then searches for the next updraft... after that automatically 'glides' you to your destination using updraft after updraft as necessary...

It'll come, the only question is when. Just imagine how much fossil fuel could be saved... and it'll be faster than a car.

Hydromet 11th Nov 2020 06:33

Thanks Tartare.

FullOppositeRudder 11th Nov 2020 06:39

It's been about six years since I formally gave gliding away after about fifty years of involvement in the sport. I have to admit that there was something 'romantic' about the wooden gliders which the higher performance GRP traded in for performance, speed and technology. I think my happiest days were in the Ka6 of which our club had two of the species at different times. I once snared a late afternoon hangar flight one August, found a weak thermal over a nearby patch of scrub and subsequently stretched it out to over an hour in light and buoyant evening air. I watched the sun which had supplied the energy for my flight - and the ones preceding during that day - slip below the horizon, and finally we dropped in over the fence in what was probably a bit after technical last light. Yes, it was nice to blast along much later at over 100kt on a really good day in a modern piece of state of the art performance and sophistication (and cost), but it's the poetic and the sublime moments which I remember with the greatest satisfaction and pure happiness all these years later. I have been very privileged.

Pinky the pilot 11th Nov 2020 08:10


during the National Championships at Benalla.
Incorrect there, Tartare; The Competitions were held at Waikerie that year. I was ground crew for a team that year and was sharing accommodation with a bloke who repacked Jan C's 'chute for him.

I also souvenired the Name/Aircraft tag from the scoreboard!:E Still have it somewhere.

VP959 11th Nov 2020 08:36


Originally Posted by stevef (Post 10923703)
My first ever flight was in a Sedburgh at Cosford. Marvellous! My first powered flight was at the same place in a Chipmunk a few months later and I unwisely asked for aerobatics after lunch. :yuk: A five year gap then a little bit of flying at the RAF Colerne Bannerdown Gliding Club. The office/kitchen was an old double-decker bus that had to be towed out of the hangar.
As a newbie it was mainly wing-tipping, waving and winch helping all day for a couple of circuits in another Sedburgh or Bocian before flying stopped and the bar opened. The windows were painted black to stop Snowdrops (RAF Police) from seeing any late-night activity as they drove around the peri-tracks. Happy days.

I wonder how many people here had their first flight in a Sedburgh and their first powered flight in a Chipmunk? Must be a few with that combination, I suspect. After my first glider flight at RAF Halton my first powered flight was later that same year, 1965 I think, in a Chipmunk from RAF White Waltham, an ATC air experience flight. My mother was dead chuffed I'd flown from there, as she'd been a WRAF radio operator there from 1949 to 1951. I still have a photo of her from then, standing next to an Anson at White Waltham, after her first ever flight.

chevvron 11th Nov 2020 08:48

I flew with 613 GS at RAF Halton for several years from late 1964 and my introductory flights before 'converting' to the Mk3 and eventually soloing in one were in the Sedbergh.
I became a Staff Cadet at Halton eventually flying over 500 launches, many taking cadets for their 'first ever' flights and I'm convinced that this made me a much better powered pilot when I took a PPL course a few years later. Years later at the same airfield, I flew many 'first time' cadets in microlights.
As for the Chipmunk; never liked it much because my first powered flight was in a side by side Piston Provost.

tartare 11th Nov 2020 09:50

I can see how flying a glider would make you a better powered pilot.
Always looking at the picture in front of and around you - your attitude, listening to the changing noise of the airstream relative to speed and `feeling' the aircraft - wing rocks up as you transition across a thermal, so turn into the rock.
The other thing I found intriguing talking to the glider pilots was the idea of gaggle flying (at least that's what they refer to it as here in Australia).
Five to ten gliders in a thermal, all orbiting, ideally opposite sides of the thermal - first one in sets the direction of rotation of the orbit, others join - everyone maintains separation.
But because of the varying width of the thermal, you might only be a few hundred metres apart.
Crikey - the mere thought of it sent chills up my powered spine!
I watched the FLARM on the instrument panel with new insight and appreciation...

tartare 11th Nov 2020 10:39


Originally Posted by Pinky the pilot (Post 10923943)
Incorrect there, Tartare; The Competitions were held at Waikerie that year. I was ground crew for a team that year and was sharing accommodation with a bloke who repacked Jan C's 'chute for him.

I also souvenired the Name/Aircraft tag from the scoreboard!:E Still have it somewhere.

Noted Pinky - I just googled the info and found what appeared to be an old gliding association newsletter - cut and pasted from there...

KelvinD 11th Nov 2020 12:30

I too learned in a Barge in the 1960s. Although it all happened at RAF Leeming, the association was, if I remember correctly the Cleveland Gliding Club, the RAF were heavily involved with storage and more than a few personnel.
I also remember stopping for a break in the Sutton Bank area on the way back to Catterick after an exercise and seeing in the distance a group pulling the biggest pair of braces I had ever seen. Watching the resultant glider launch, over the edge of the hill, half the troop went "Wheee!" like something out of a panto, while the other half were heard muttering "Bloody loonies!"
Fast forward a generation and my son was flying Grob Tutors with the Air Cadets. It seemed to me he was spending as much time in powered flight as he was in gliding. The proof of that came when he went with the squadron to Boscombe Down. Took off in the Grob and the instructor asked him where he lives; "Near to Popham" was the answer. "Right. Fly there then". Not much gliding involved there then!

rogerg 11th Nov 2020 15:53

The Barge at Halton did it for me as well. I was not so impressed with the T31 at Duxford tho my favorite was the Olympia being my first proper soarer.

boeing4me 11th Nov 2020 16:52

Soaring raptors are usually good markers for thermals. I was in a very weak thermal with a hawk last year. When he started flapping his wings I knew I was screwed.

Deltasierra010 11th Nov 2020 18:39

“you might only be a few hundred metres apart.”

More often a few wingspans apart, despite that collisions are very rare because everyone is doing the same thing, most accidents are when you don’t see the other guy. If the thermal has a dozen gliders in it you definitely notice it and you can choose wether to join up or not.


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