Posted by: quienessupa | March 23, 2009

Aerotowing Arrives!




Dave Niemeyer following Tim (Above).

It was a fun day, with lots of brats, sodas, and flying.  I tried to wear out my welcome early with an exciting attempt Aerotowing a double surface wing.  I’m used to the rigid wing and it’ll let me fly great with very poor technique.  So, just to get that story out of the way…

So, first item of value in the “lessons learned” department.  Take small steps, even if I think I’m super ready for something.

I watched Alex tow up on Tim’s Sport2 and he was like a rock.  Except the landing approach!  LOL.  But figured I’d hook in to see what towing a Sport2 is like.  11:30am I suppose?  I had a pretty smooth window of air though.  “Go, Go, GO”…Rolled on the cart, felt a little slow when I let go of the dolly and sunk enough to alarm myself some.  Let the bar out and climbed, then, airspeed was good, I was in position altitude wise behind the tug, but I was turning a bit, corrected and turned the other way too much, corrected, and realized I was trending worse PIO (Pilot Induced Oscillation).  Wing tips were probably pretty close to the ground.  My release worked great, landed great with 1/2 VG still on.

JY pointed out what I was doing wrong.  I was putting too much weight on the basetube and made myself unable to feel what the glider was doing and all bets were off as far as control inputs doing what I expect.  I think some of it was just starting with weight on the base tube to get me rolling and not falling forward(by pushing out some at the very beginning)… then I never relaxed my “push-up” position and things went awry. 

Alex’s blog should have some 10-shot series of my wild ride, soon and I can’t wait to see them.

Need to be humble sometimes….  🙂  Hang Gliding is so good for that.

OK, so far, Mike, Alex, JT, and me(kinda) had flights.  We tanked up on bratwurst ballast and lined up for the afternoon soaring session.  The wind was fairly strong from the SE and got stronger and stronger and stronger (Note: Forecasted SW all day)….

Tim took me to 2600ft agl or so and I dilly dallied around w/o a clue till there was only 700ft left and I got something.  Here’s a picture after I was confident I was in it and climbed some…


Top Picture:  Low save from 700ft over Hanscome Field

Bottom Picture:  Same thermal, from much higher and drifting far to the NW.  This thermal took me to 13.3kft


Getting low and big climb out


No radio, so I didn’t know JY and Dave took off for a downwind 30 miler.  Nice flight!  But I wanted to stay local anyway to get home in time for dinner.


I made my goal to just try and get to cloudbase, and better yet, get to the clouds upwind that had streeted up sooo nicely so I could try some big out and back miles.  Thermal after thermal, I’d end up at about 10-11k over the same meat processing plant and the river.  It was fun trying to improve each glide and find better lines.  Just failed it.


Eventually, a front came thru and everything went overcast.  So I tried to make it back 5-7 miles upwind to the field and just got drilled.  I think I was getting a 3 to 1 glide in my Atos VR with the sink and 15-20mph headwind.  It was horrific.  Landed 1.75 miles shy of home-base and a nice landowner came out to drive me back.  btw, the wind was ramping up from there and breaking down the atos in the wind scared the crap out of me.  Back at Hanscom field, it looked like it was blowing away in a dust storm.



overview ge

Flights:  2

XC miles:  18.3

Airtime:  2:01

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