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View Diary: My Favorite Airplane (311 comments)

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  •  safe? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OllieGarkey, Otteray Scribe

    Probably pretty comparable to light aircraft in general.  They generally have slow stall speeds, which helps survival in accidents, and they are designed to land on minimal lengths of ground/turf.

    They are more prone to mid-air collisions than others -- areas of lift tend to be relatively small and, particularly in contests, there may be many gliders sharing them.  (Contests typically require parachutes for all contestants; in single-seat gliders, parachutes generally double as the seat cushion.)

    Stalls are relatively common in gliders:  a lot of time is spent circling in thermals (turbulence!) just above stall speed.  Recovery is usually simple and quick, costing substantially less than 200' for recovery.  Stalls and spin training are generally a significant portion of flight training.

    Other unique emphases in gliding are the rudder (and the yaw string), flying on tow, and landing (no go-arounds).  There are also a number of signals -- to ground crew and tow pilots -- that are unique to soaring.

    •  Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      I'm researching Gliders now. I'm definitely going to try this.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

      by OllieGarkey on Wed Jun 15, 2011 at 01:21:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cool! I hope you have a great time. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steve15, Otteray Scribe, BlackSheep1

        Yet 'nother story, since I don't seem able to stop.

        My father flew when I was a child and he was in the Air Force for a couple years.  Gave it up when he left.  (Kids, profession, moving a lot, ...).  When I was young thing of 30, I started working on my private license in Colorado.  My youngest sibling was just getting out of college, and about a year later my father thought it would be great to get back into flying.  So he went back and took a lesson or two, then told my mother (not a fan of flying), and settled in to get an instrument rating.

        By the time he got it, I had my instrument rating and a glider rating, and had bought into a Cessna 172.  My father at that point loved flying in the mountains near his home, and so I kept pestering him at regular intervals to not only get a mountain checkout, but go check out gliders as well.  ("It'll teach you what you really need to know about mountains:  what to do in sink you can't out-climb, where to expect lift and sink, how to land in tight confines and walk away," yadayada.)

        Pestered him for about two years, until one day talking on the phone he commented, "Oh, I'd like to try gliders someday, it looks so peaceful", and I immediately had a vision of him trying out a glider right after they fitted him for a wheelchair -- this needed to be nipped in the bud.

        "You've got it all wrong.  Gliders have light wing loadings, so any turbulence tends to kick them all around.  Further, you fly in the day and 'lift' is turbulence.  And when you find 'lift', you crank it over to 60 degrees of bank and start pulling 2Gs.  It's enough to make anyone airsick."  He responded "Oh".

        That weekend, he went up for his first glider ride.  The next weekend, he went up for nine (9!) flights.  Five weeks after that (two of them spent in Europe), he had his glider rating.  I called him on a Thursday soon after, and my mother tells me that "He really likes this glider stuff, he was out at the field yesterday" (!).  My workaholic father, taking a Wednesday afternoon off to fly?  (This is a pod person, not my father.)  So he gets on the phone, and starts talking about gliding, and meeting Burt Rutan (Dick?  at least one of them is a glider pilot), and the club he's hanging out with, &c, and I'm trying to give him the third degree.

        Eventually, I try to razz him, "You can buy a glider fairly inexpensively... have you bought one yet?".  And he says very sheepishly, "I've been out looking."  (Two weeks later, he bought into a single-seat Schweizer.)

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