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Gliding help/advice

Old 8th Dec 2014, 00:05
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Gliding help/advice

Hi All
This might be a strange one for all in the gliding fraternity!!

In a nutshell

I am small, under 5ft. I want to fly Gliders but it is hard finding the best glider with really good adjustments, ie....rudder pedals.
Have been flying for a while, but having a family the money seemed to run out when I most needed it. Went on a gliding holiday in the summer but it was a bit of a miss, the glider we used, a k21, didnt offer too many adjustments.
Hoping to move up to Norfolk, East Anglia soon and would like to start it up again.
Appreciate your help and advice

Terry
p.s. Used to work for BA (flight plans etc) and have been looking in on this site for years.
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 13:49
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I've recently been instructing a diminutive girl in a Puchacz. The pedal reach problem was solved by carving a seat backrest from a block of 150 mm thick rigid foam insulation.

Large thicknesses of soft cushions are a big no no because of the risk of excessive compression under G loads and your losing contact with the controls.

She also has a minimum cockpit weight problem which was not met by the normal glider ballast weights and had to be cured by a lead shot ballasted seat cushion secured to the lap strap attachments.

The key issue is that that the ballast cushion must not be able to slide forward in the seat and interfere with the control column.

I have also seen heavy seat cushions made from heavy but flexible X ray shielding material or sheet lead can be moulded to the shape of the seat.

I don't think there is any current 2 seat glider which you would fit without taking similar kinds of measures. You would have fitted the old T21 OK!

Whichever club you go to, talk to the instructors who may in turn have to speak with the club glider inspectors. They should be able to come up with a solution.
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 14:14
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Height? or Length...

Hi Terry, the ASK21 is a 'Sit up and Beg' type of two seater where you could add additional Confor safety foam seating to improve your visibility. The pedals should adjust Ok. You might also be able to find a thicker parachute, to push you forward a bit.


However some of the more aerodynamic single seaters, have you laying more horizontally, so height now becomes length... as you lay on top of your parachute.


My unique problem is that I have short legs and a long trunk, so fitting in a wooden K8 needs the pedals all the way back, and then whilst lowering the canopy, it hits my head if I don't duck.
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 14:41
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Teryc
You don't say how much under 5 foot you are. I think all K21's have adjustable rudder pedals. Most have optionally fittable adjustable back rests which will move the back of the seat forward by about 6 inches. With these adjustments and wearing a parachute, I think a K21 should be comfortable for most 5 foot tall people although you may need to sit on a suitable cushion to raise your head height a bit. Certainly, at my club, we instruct plenty of people around 5 foot tall without needing much in the way of additional cushions. If you do need more cushions, clubs should have energy absorbing cushions available for use in their two seaters which they will regularly use when instructing smaller students.

If you are very light, and especially if flying with a light instructor, you may need additional ballast. K21s are equipped with mounts for installing fixed ballast weights - ballast pads under the seat cushion should not be required.

The other commonly used instructional glider is the K13. At my club we have wooden seat backs to use in the K13s for smaller pupils which again move the effective seat back forward about 6 inches.

Once you move on to single seaters, my experience is that being too tall is more often a problem than being too short!
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 14:47
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Astir 8 / phiggsbroadband, thanks for replies
Astir....good idea about the rigid foam. When I got in the K21 with the rudder pedals pulled right up, then the back of the seat was adjusted forward it wasn't that bad. When we went up it was ok doing slight turns etc but when I needed to use the rudders a lot......could not reach. Have been looking at a few Gliding clubs that give instructions to people that have lost the use of their legs and use a ''handle'' like the air brake handle. Think I might have to go down this route....if I can. Any laws/rules against that???

Phiggs....K8, K6CR, K6E their the ones I would love to own. Love the old gliders. I have that problem as well, sort legs. Cant do anything about it now. Its funny because I went solo in a Beagle Pup 150, did quite a few hours in that......then the money ran out, you know kids/mortgage/skint!!
Thanks for the replies though

Andrewgr2
The biggest problem is 'short legs', as you say the k21 backrest does go forward quite a bit but that bl***y stick in the middle keeps getting in the way!!
Don't have any worries about weight.....I have too much of it!!
These things are sent to try us!!
Still determined to get there!!
As earlier even if I have to have a go with side handle for the rudders!!
teryc
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 15:14
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teryc, Did your instructor fit the K21's adjustable back rest for you? Ours have these, which are additional fibreglass seat backs with a couple of light alloy arms that go back to engage in the seat mounting structure. Each seat back offers you a choice of two positions to sit further forward than the normal one. There are two different additional seat backs depending on whether you are sitting in the front or the back.

If you can reach M3 Junction 5 at a weekend, you would be welcome to come and try our K21 for size.
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 15:22
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Hi Mechta
Thats very kind of you.
Think it was just the 'ordinary' one. All the students just got in and adjusted the seat for themselves.
As said earlier its the stick in the middle, I can push right up but that stick gets in the way and the pedals are just that tad to far away, used the rudder pedals when using slight deflection but when needed more the instructor had to step in.........I only needed 2 or 3 inches!! (as the saying goes!!).
TC
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 15:54
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Is it possible to wear some sort of built up shoe?
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 16:45
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funfly.....Yeh! the old platform boots.
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 17:25
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Hi Terry

having suggested the rigid foam backrest, I did then wonder whether squashed testicles might be an issue. The blocks on the boots solution has been done, although I've never seen it personally. There is usually a ready supply of duct tape around any gliding club to attach the blocks!

Essentially the older gliders are, the smaller the cockpit (pre-war pilots must have been tiny). Have you ever tried a K13 rather than a glass 2 seater? There are still a lot of clubs operating K13's.

The hand operated rudder modification can be found at some clubs - normally in a K21 but it's very expensive to fit so not common. The Walking on Air gliding for the disabled operation at Portmoak would be a bit far for you to go!
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 18:07
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Hi Terry,

I'm another short @rse at 5'5" with short legs.

Whilst I had no great problems flying the older gliders such as the K13/18/8/6 ect I did find some of the more modern (for the 80's and 90's) ones a bit awkward and had to use cushions. The worse problem I had was when I bought a VP2 built to fit a 6'+ pilot. I had the problem you describe of using cushions to reach the pedals only to find the stick became rather "intimate" ... Until I had time to move the fixed rudder pedals back I made rudder pedal extensions.

Totally sympathise with the lack of funds interrupting flying activities. I've been flying for over 30 years, but very on and off depending on funds. I'm in Norfolk so if you fancy a Cub flight when you move up here, give me a shout.

SS
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 18:27
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In my gliding club, there was a shorter guy who did not even manage to reach the pedals with a reasonable amount of hard cushions in the back and also was a bit too light for the forward seat of the ASK13.

The solution was to build a dedicated seat for installment in the glider. If I remember correctly, it was hooked over one of the struts holding the normal seat and then strapped down by some method. The ample space between the original and the new seat was well used to install a sufficient amount of weight so as to tackle both problems at once.

And yes, this seat was presented to and approved by the authority before being used.
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 20:02
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Cheaper flying...have you considered microlights...lots of fun.
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 20:47
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shortstripper
Good job I like the old wood and canvas gliders, nice to sit up instead of lying down!!. Thats a good way of explaining it......getting intimate with the nether regions!! I like that.
rudder pedal extensions, tell me more. Did they have to be 'passed' by the authoroties??

Tu114....Get a seat made!! Thats not a bad idea. I had a seat made for my London cab years and years ago!! Good idea.

magpienja...Didnt know Microlighting was cheaper than gliding!! Many years ago had a few lessons in an old Pegasus xl 447.
TC
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 23:00
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hi, teryc!

Ask at LASHAM gliding society for advice, the fellow who ran the cafe was about same height as yourself. He arranged blocks on his shoes, or they were installed on the pedals, not sure which, but at Lasham somebody will remember!

You can only adjust back padding to a degree that doesn't cause your body to interfere with the stick! As far as back padding goes, may I recommend that you make a square cushion out of a stack of NEWSPAPERS, held together with package sealing tape, that brown sticky kind, and sew on a nice fabric cover.
I make lots of these for the gliding club at Shenington, a lot of people use them and so do I. The newspaper stack is NON COMPRESSIBLE. Which is the important thing to have behind your back, rather than squishy cushions, which have actually figured in a very nasty accident, and I when didn't know better, also had an interesting flight when the squishy back cushion compressed, and I ended up departing the controls, sliding rearwards on a winch launch.

Gliding clubs....Tibenham, right? Norfolk Gliding Club on the internet. They have a K13 training glider, and couple of K21 gliders. I recommend you learn in the K13, it is easier to make adjustments in the front of the 13 for smaller pilots, and also it is useful for stall and spin training, so it does everything, and is yet docile. Beloved by us at Shenington, and also the workhorse at Lasham....have a go in a K13!

When you go solo and start thinking about a share in a glider, its not too early to ask people with K6 gliders, or even a K8, to let you sit in it and find out which you prefer.

Quite true that very tall people have problems. I sent one guy solo who was 6 feet 7 inches, but he had to take off his shoes, and leave the parachute behind. (and that brings up a whole new delicate problem! should the instructor go without a chute as well? or if departure seems vital, leave the student behind? let him hang on to my chute? yikes! It seemed good manners not to wear a chute either, newspaper cushion fit the gap behind my back. Fortunately he was a very very quick learner, and I sent him solo after only 23 aertows.

But anyone can fit in the open cockpit T21!

We do have gliders (the K13 again,) fitted with hand controls for paraplegic pilots, but if your legs work, best to learn to use the rudders with feet if at all possible.
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 23:20
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All very good comments.

I have seen blocks on shoes for younger folk. You want to make absolutely sure that such blocks will not come loose and jam the controls

You also want to make very sure that you can keep your feet on the controls and get them back on.

Lastly, check that the rudder pedals are truly all the way back
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 23:23
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You could always try hang gliding or paragliding. Neither have rudder pedals... Seriously though, it would be worth trying the K-13 glider as Mary suggested, as its much more upright sitting position and the pedals can be moved towards the pilot quite a way.

A friend is trying to sell a Taylorcraft BC-12 1940s two seat aeroplane at the moment, and his main problem is that a lot of pilots these days are just too big to fit in it comfortably.
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Old 8th Dec 2014, 23:36
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The Puchaz cockpit is pretty good for adjustment too. As is the single seat version, the Junior.
Most two seaters are far more comfortable flying from the back seat.....especially for short wide pilots.
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 00:18
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Hi Mary. Lots of good ideas, espcially the ''paper'' backrest. One of the pilots let me sit/lay in a duo discus, it was like going to bed!! I like the older gliders so should be ok. Have loads of ideas which should put me in great stead.
When I finally get up there, I will be straight down to the Gliding club!!

Thank you all for your help/advice. I cannot thank you all enough.
Think it will be a while till I get going but will update this thread.

Thank you all very much

Terry
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 19:04
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For reasons you have already illuded to if you have a long body and stunt legs, the K21 isn't a brilliant fit - unless you are about the same thickness as a yellow pages as soon as you come to try and take full back stick (though if you're only 5ft tall i'm presuming not that heavy either, so chances are you need more foreward than backward movement) you'll find your midriff tends to get in the way.

Second the other suggestion of a K13. Have undertaken all sorts of BI flights with short people and we can normally get them fairly comfortable - they were designed before people got as big as they did.

It does beg the question of what single seaters you will fit into when solo - Ka6 should be OK (Flew one two weeks ago and that was tight) though it doesn't have an adjustable seat at all...Discus A should also be fine (Though may have the same problem as a K21).
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