Lesson 3

Today turned out to be a great day. I was able to get four scooter tows in. The winds were stronger today, averaging about 10 knots. It was also a day full of thermals. Mark layed out a lot of line today so we could get nice high tows straight into the wind. The first tow of the morning was done by an experience pilot. He towed up to about 400′ and was able to work some light thermals for an extended sled ride. The 2nd tow was a student on the verge of getting his Hang 2. He had a nice tow but has no thermal experience so he landed in short order.

Next was my turn. As a reminder I’m back after a nine year break. I’ve had 4 tows over the last 4 weeks and those were in little wind. Today I had 10+ knot winds. I got all ready and waited for a good cycle. It smoothed out a bit after a few minutes of waiting and I launched. Mark towed me up to about 300+ feet. After release I tried getting into the stirrup harness but was having some issues. I just flew (number one rule – no matter what else is going on – fly the glider). I did a big 180 to head back were I started. The plan was to fly back, setup an approach, and land without having to walk so far back to the setup area.

Shortly after the first 180 I hit a thermal and decided to give it a shot. I was high enogh and worse case I would have to land further upwind in the big field. I managed to do a couple 360’s. Far from perfect but at least I remembered how. In the end I managed to work several small thermals and stayed up for over 4 minutes. Not too bad for a 300′ tow. I turned in both directions for practice. I played with bar positions and speeds a bit. Definitely rusty but it was working.

Finally I had to setup an approach. I was able to finally get into the harness all the way so at this point I rocked up nice and early, pulled in a bit and setup into the wind. I ended on final in ground effect a bit cross to the wind and I flared a bit too hard for the conditions but overall I did OK. I was stoked. What a way to start the day.

Everyone was excited and happy for me. Not as much as I was of course Smile

It turned out to be a productive day. There were 20 tows before we had to break down quickly for a fast approaching thunder storm.

My second flight wasn’t nearly as good. I tried going prone in the harness during tow this time and had big problems. I couldn’t work any thermals this time and quickly came in and setup an approach. Except this time I forgot all kinds of things. I rocked up early but left my hands on the base tube way too long. I nearly stalled twice due to poor control and bad hand position. And again I flared way too hard. Mark gave me a good talking to about my mistakes. Oops. OK, I learned a lot on that.

My next two flights went much better. I still had harness problems but I was OK with that – nothing critical – I just waited until I was off tow to go prone. I worked a little lift but the thermals weren’t as good as the day went on – kind of strange. Both of the remaining landings were much better. Better hand position and better speed control. Mark, and well as me, was much happier and was glad to see my return to normal.

I’ve been talking with Mark about a glider. He is getting a used Sport 2 in soon. It only has 15 hours on it. The owner wants the bigger version so he’s selling his. I’m at the top end of the weight range for the mid size one but I’m hoping to drop a few pounds. I’m also at the low end of the range for the big one. In Colorado I’d rather be at the high end than the low end of a glider.

I’ve also ordered a new Quantum 440 (I believe) to replace my 1979 vintage chute. Mark thinks another 3 good lessons and I should be ready to be turned loose with my renewed Hang 2. I’m in no rush so we shall see how it goes.

I’m just so happy to be back in this amazing sport again.

Here’s a video showing 3 of my four flights (my third flight wasn’t recorded).

Link

Until next time.

Rick

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