Quest Day 2: So low


When the sky cleared up enough in the morning, Spinner and I went up for a third tandem flight. For my non-flying friends, here’s what the tandem glider setup looks like. In this picture, Spinner is in the lower harness and Caitlyn, on her first hang gliding experience, is on top. In my case, we were reversed, with Spinner instructing me from above.

This flight also went well, and we started addressing how to deal with the situation when things aren’t going as well as you might hope, with him having me get slightly off line behind the tug and bringing it back. That was followed by a couple of flights where we got up to several hundred feet and he reached over and hit the release handle, simulating what would happen if the weak link broke, so that I’d have to deal with the unexpected release and set up for an immediate landing (we were high enough in both cases that I was able to go around and land into the wind at the other end of the field). And one more short tandem, this time with Spinner having me dance around the margins, intentionally getting too high or two low and bringing it back, or going well off to each side, not quite to lockout, and recovering. At that point he said that if I was comfortable, we could get a glider together and I could try a tow by myself.

The most appropriate glider they have available is a Falcon 195

There is a Falcon 170 (the same size as the one I own), but it’s set up with landing gear wheels, and since I’ll be launching from a cart up north, we chose one that’s set up for that. We pulled it out of the storage trailer and set it up, and went over the things that would be different when launching from a cart (like how to hold the handles, and when to get go of them). After attaching a tow bridle to my harness, we drove to the southern end of the field, got me hooked up, and went flying. Cloudbase had come down to not much more than 1000 feet, so I released when things started getting misty. Grazi had driven the jeep to bring us down there, and he took video of the launch and landing of my first solo aerotow flight.

I did a second flight in the same conditions, and they asked if I wanted to do a third, but I said that I thought I should quit while I was ahead (no point in risking things when you’re feeling a little tired), and packed it in for the day.

flights: 6, airtime: 0:36

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About cleversky

Hang glider pilot in New England since 2004. Also an avid orienteer, and an embedded systems firmware engineer. And some other outdoor stuff.
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