Private Flying LAA/BMAA/BGA/BPA The sheer pleasure of flight.

Going solo

Old 25th Jun 2019, 17:10
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: CYYC (Calgary)
Posts: 4,748
Going solo

It’s been 52 years since I first went solo, but on Sunday, another kind of “first solo”. Although I’ve been flying powered aircraft fairly regularly, it had been a long time since I had soloed a glider. This was partly due to where I was living and also due to, ahem, a W&B problem!

The latter problem is now solved so on Saturday, I did two required checkflights - a 2000’ tow to confirm I still remembered how to fly a glider and then a 4000’ tow to do stalls and spins. After the spin practice, we found a good thermal and regained all our lost height. At this point, my instructor, who is the most experienced mountain pilot in the club, said “Do you want to go to the mountains?” “Sure”, said I. So we headed west towards the Rockies, about 50 km away. With about 10km to go, we were confronted by a large shower cloud that was threatening to turn into a Cb, so we headed back to the field, where I landed and was signed off.

On Sunday I flew solo, for the first time in 13 years! Like most first-solo pilots, I noticed that the takeoff run was shorter and the annoying whine from the back seat had disappeared (just joking!). A 1.1 hour flight, again cut short by a threatening storm, but fantastic fun in a 20 m DG-1000S. 45 to 1 glide ratio at 50 kts and about 12 to 1 at 100 kts!

Here’s the shower that shut us down:

Last edited by India Four Two; 26th Jun 2019 at 00:25.
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Old 25th Jun 2019, 20:03
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: The Twain
Posts: 64
Well done to you! I got my A&C in 1966 and have not flown a glider since. But I am tempted.

I am sure the glider that you flew 52 years ago did not have the L/D to give 45:1, and the improvement in glider technology must blow you away. Think on this while we fly our 1967 Cherokees to get to our first solo in 2019.

I have nothing but admiration and respect for the present designers and builders of the high end gliders. They work at the "Bleeding edge" of technology and produce machines that almost defy physics.

I watched a Jonker with its auxiliary jet do a display a few months ago in South Africa. It was a combination of aerial ballet and the limits of technology. It was magnificent.
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Old 25th Jun 2019, 21:28
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: CYYC (Calgary)
Posts: 4,748

Yes, times and designs have changed. Here is the first aeroplane that I poled around, at Lasham in 1964. I subsequently went solo in a T21b at Dishforth a few years later.

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