Sunday, June 15, 2008

Guess What I Did On Saturday

I went solo in the IS28 on the winch. This little item is about Michael Hogan's continuing adventures at his other club, Sunraysia Gliding Club at Mildura rather than the Horsham Flying Club.

I went out to the club on Saturday and my instructor Adrian Ginn arrived just after me. I had the usual chat with people, hooked up a few gliders, retrieved a few gliders from further down the field and then it was my turn.

Adrian came back from the winch and hopped in the back and I got in the front of the IS28, Golf Charlie November.

Flight number 1. Everything went OK, good separation (that means takeoff), initial climb and then full climb. Launch to around 1800 feet, time for a bit of a stooge round. No lift to speak off and 8 minutes later we were back on the ground. A bit of a debrief and some Q & A.

Flight number 2. Much the same as the first. Off at around 2000 feet. But this time I completed a stall to see what it was like. Hmmm interesting, where's all the height gone. Again no lift and back on the ground after 7 minutes. All going well. Adrian is happy, he's not yelled at me or anything. Debrief and more Q & A.

Flight number 3. We'd been talking about cable breaks before this flight and low and behold at also 1000 feet the power drops off it's simulated cable break. Over with the nose. The speed bleeds off incredibly quickly. So nose over, build up speed and don't do anything else until you hit 55kts. Plenty of height so it still a normal circuit and back on the ground in about 3 minutes.

I didn't think I would be doing anymore flights today as we were down to the last two launches of the day and someone else needed a flight. But then Adrian says get in. I get in and strap in while he's talking to someone else. He comes over and says he will take the young lad waiting for a flight in the Blanik. He ties up the back seat and says off you go. No time to panic or anything. He just says, it will get off a bit quicker without him and do all the things I've been doing.

Flight number 4. So it's 'take up slack' and then 'all out all out' and away I go. Ground run a bit bumpy, into initial climb, let the speed build, then pull back on the stick and into full climb. There are a few tugs on the wire, some 'oh shit what's that?' thoughts, the old sphincter muscle is a bit twitchy. The climb continues, 500 feet, 750 feet, 1000 feet, 1500 feet, start to ease forward, starting to level off, riding forward over the winch, the cable finally back releases and I'm free. That's the hard part finished, now its the easy stuff. Stooge around at 1800-1900 feet. Wind down to 700feet above ground and join circuit. It's the last flight of the day, so I've been asked to land long. I make my down wind call. Turning on to final with good height, every one on the ground is running around like ants pointing down field. Yeah I know land long. But do the want me to stay on the right? Anyway I barrel along down the strip, finally touching down and taxiing across the field and come to a stop next to the club rooms and hangar. It's over 8 minutes from takeoff to touch down. Not long in the scheme of things, but good enough for me.

I've done it. I've even survived. I completed my first solo in the IS28 and my first solo winch launch. Looks like a few beers are on me.

I feel pretty chipper.
Sorry if you think I'm a bit up myself about going solo on the winch, but I've always been an aerotow boy. So thanks Adrian for your vote of confidence, or were you sick of me and just wanted to get out. Hmm. Also Ian who was driving the winch.

But there's still more to learn and absorb about this winching caper. So until next time...

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