Tomorrow I begin to take my flying to a whole new level by leaving the engine on the ground. I expect to do 3 aerotows tomorrow up to around 2,000 feet AGL flying a Blanik L-23 Anyone in here have any glider time?
I've been up sans engine twice, in an ASK-21 over in Switzerland (thanks CAP!), and it completely rocks. I did winch launches both flights, which is the closest I've been to a cat stroke on a carrier...hoo-eee! The big bubble canopy and only the sound of the wind rushing over it are things you'll not soon forget. With those long wings, it feels good to finesse those turns in a way people just don't in a 152. The string of yarn in your face is a good reminder to keep those turns coordinated, too.
One time I got the pleasure of flying in the Stemme S-10 (VT)...It had a engine on it, and you just shut it down when ready to glide and fold her up. Talk about a fun time...If you ever go to Telluride, CO go to the airport and ask around for "Glider Bob" nice guy and has one kick ass plane...
Well I just got back from my soaring debut and it was a blast, let me tell you. I flew a Blanik L-23 and my instructor really knew his stuff. We found some good lift, circling in about 3-4 different thermals allowing our first flight to last 40 minutes.
I would highly recommend to any pilot that they get some glider time if possible. And if you get a glider rating, you can be assured that your stick and rudder skills are at least just as good as any pilot sitting next to you waiting to be interviewed for a F/O position.
Todays flights also really showed me very clearly how aerodynamic forces affect an airplane. I don't think its quite as noticeable on a powered aircraft where you have an engine working against the drag from uncoordinated flight, but using the rudder well is essential to good glider flying or the drag from side-slipping through the air will waste your altitude.
I was impressed, and am definately going to pursue a glider rating. Next flight should be next Sunday weather permitting.
I am looking to join the glider club that is here in Columbus, OH. I would like to add that not only do i think it will be fun and help my piloting skills but the head of my University's aviation dept. is a member. So it may be good networking for some others of you out there. Just a suggestion. Have fun!!!
Also one book I'm currently reading called "Your Pilot's License" by Jerry Eichenberger says that flying gliders will help hone stick and rudder skills. I am curious though how much of glider piloting correlates to a gliding a cessna 152 (for example) when the engine gives out entirely? Is the gliding the same but at a higher rate of decent?? Any thoughts?
Well at a typical 3,000 feet AGL in a 152, the best glide speed will buy you 5 minutes from the ground as opposed to at least 20 in a Blanik. But I think piloting skills still transfer between gliders and power planes pretty well. Just about every big time glider pilot can tell you about the "Gimli Glider," an Air Canada 767 that lost both engines and glided to a landing spot with none of the passengers being seriously injured. The captain on the flight was a glider pilot. Here's a link that talks about it:
Additionally, I believe getting used to flying without an engine will make you more prepared to handle an engine failure in a powered plane because you won't be as likely to panic. A lot of power pilots who die when their engine quits end up dying not because of the engine failure itself, but because their panic got them distracted to the point that they quit flying the airplane and planted themselves in the ground instead of maintaining aircraft control and executing a normal landing somewhere out in a field.
That's why the number one rule in handling just about any emergency is, FLY THE AIRPLANE.