I’m a strong believe in networking will get you very far in life. And I don’t mean network just to network, but actually form bonds between people with like interests. I’ve gotten to meet and bond with a lot of different people in aviation since I moved. Women in Aviation has really helped me in this. Also, since my dispatch school is here as well, I get to meet people through them as well.
I’ve been interested in gliding lately as my next rating. It’ll help build time for my commercial rating for a LOT less. It’ll also help my stick and rudder skills and become a better pilot. Since we moved, I have doing a lot of research on where to join a gliding club. My WAI chapter put me in touch with another member who is big into gliding. We talked some about gliding and she said she would take me up to see if I liked it.
It was so exciting! I have to admit I was nervous right before the tow plane started pulling us. All those nerves went away once we were started being dragged across the grass. I had the biggest smile on my face, I got to go up in the air again!
We were released at 3,000ft. The difference between being towed and just gliding was immense! It was so quiet and free! When released the tow plane banks to the left and the glider to the right for safety. Banking in a glider requires much more rudder and is steeper than a powered aircraft. Good thing I love steep turns!
After a little I got a chance at the controls. The main differences are more rudder, lots more rudder! And if you’re not in a thermal, your nose won’t be on the horizon, which kind of threw me at first. This flight we couldn’t find many thermals, so it went quickly. I learned more about how the rules of the pattern and how they differ from powered aircraft. Landing felt so different since you don’t have power and also you’re so low to the ground. You’re not breaking once you touch the ground, the grass is doing that for you!
We hooked the glider up to a golf cart and towed it back down the field. I was so happy! Though I was still iffy about joining the club. It’s quite a lot cheaper than powered aircraft, but it’s a club so you do have to invest in the club and buy shares and have an initiation fee. We stood around talking for a bit, and I talked to other club members. Everyone loves it! I also love the rule, no talking about work on the field, just flying! Everyone is such an avgeek and I love it.
Another gentlemen there was nice enough to take me up again once the sun had been out more. He just came over and asked to steal me for a bit. I was so excited to go up in a different glider! This time I sat in back and it was a low wing glider. He was telling me it was much more slippery than the other one. I felt it required a lot more rudder and even cross coordination in turns.
Everyone seemed very concerned I might get air sick going up in gliders. He mentioned when we were turning I shouldn’t look down the wings but at the horizon. I never felt sick, though I did avoid looking at the wings.
This time we got more thermals! We were soaring instead of gliding. It was so fun and he was so skilled at staying in the thermal and spotting thermals by the cloud formation. I was impressed. It didn’t really bother me going round and round in a thermal. He kept checking on me because we were pulling 2Gs. It didn’t really as bad as a steep turn in a powered aircraft. He left me fly the glider more since we were up longer, working on putting in more rudder. Instead of a nice instrument showing if your turn is coordinated, there’s a string taped to the canopy you use. So high tech! I learned how in this glider you put in a bunch of rudder and use the stick but after getting into the bank you have to take the ailerons out and almost turn them the other way to keep from over banking.
Landing was different in a low wing since I could see the air brakes better and it’s more like a nose wheel than a tail wheel plane. Afterwards, I was talking about my fear of landing in a glider since you have to manage your airspeed so much better and I always feel like I put in power in my powered aircraft landings. He told me how using the air brakes plays that part in a glider.
If I wasn’t addicted before, I was addicted after this flight! Plus when you join the club you have to do a crew day once a month and you get $20 off every flight for that month. I hope to join the club and get to fly the tow plane eventually! It’s a kick butt Piper Pawnee. I just need to get my tail wheel, complex, and high performance endorsement! There goes gliding being cheaper than powered aircraft….too bad it’s a one seater! There is another grass field not too far away with a Cub that’s pretty cheap for tail wheel. I know what my “fun” money will be used for in the upcoming months!
Hopefully, I’ll have more good news and flight training to share in the near future!