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-   -   Close call -- glider ops (http://www.aviationbanter.com/showthread.php?t=80036)

Jay Honeck[_2_] May 5th 08 02:18 AM

Close call -- glider ops
 
We flew to Ames, IA (home of "That Other State College in Iowa") today to
schmooze and have lunch. Conditions when we got out of the hotel at noon
were breezy/gusty, 12 to 20, but pretty close to right down the runway, and
the sun was shining. At the end of another sell-out crazy weekend, we
NEEDED to fly.

Ames is home to an active glider operation (Mary and I took some soaring
instruction there a few years back), and today was no different, despite the
wind. Ames' Runway 19 was less than optimal, with a gusty cross wind, but I
managed to squeak 'er in without too much turmoil. We were all glad to be
back on terra firma, however, after a very bumpy descent.

As I was standing on the wing stretching, enjoying the spring sunshine, I
observed the Super Cub tow plane starting down Rwy 19, trundling along with
the trainer in tow. In the blink of an eye, the cross wind lifted the
glider's port wing, causing the starboard wing to dip. The glider caught
the wingtip (I was too far away, but it *looked* like in the grass), causing
the glider to momentarily get sideways.

The tow plane's tail, already airborne, jerked down hard -- but just as
quickly as we could gasp -- the glider's wings straightened up, the tow
plane started to fly right, and they were soon clawing for altitude.
Another cartwheel averted...

I shook my head as I jumped off the wing, amazed at how close a thing
aviation can be. We're always on the brink of disaster, it seems...but most
of the time things work out...
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


BT May 5th 08 05:04 AM

Close call -- glider ops
 
Glider pilots are taught to keep their wing tips out of the grass. With only
one centerline wheel, and the lessons you took, you can understand that.
Smooth gravel or pavement is more forgiving than grass and sod, that stuff
likes to grab things and getting your wing pulled back from a lever 7.5
meters from the tire, a little force has a lot of leverage.

Cross wind take offs are "tricky", no less than in the ATLAS you fly. A wing
caught in the grass on take off will hopefully be no worse than a ground
loop, not a cartwheel. Pilots are taught that if control is lost, pull the
release, let the tow ship go, he's just making it worse anyway. Hopefully if
they don't release, the weak links in the tow rope will break and the tow
plane/pilot while upset about being jerked around.. will fly off safely.

Hopefully is was a 180HP S-Cub, and not a 150HP model. We traded our 180HP
Scout for a 235HP Pawnee and have upgraded that too 250HP. Better
accelerations and climb out.. there is nothing like Horsepower to a tow
pilot. Better accelerations mean better roll control for the glider earlier
into the take off run, that first distance after the wind runner can no
longer keep up, until you reach flying speed can be vulnerable in x-wind
conditions.

Glider pilots kiting high on take off have killed more tow pilots than a
glider with a wing down ground looping.

BT
CFI-Glider
and Tow Pilot

"Jay Honeck" wrote in message
news:[email protected]_s22...
We flew to Ames, IA (home of "That Other State College in Iowa") today to
schmooze and have lunch. Conditions when we got out of the hotel at noon
were breezy/gusty, 12 to 20, but pretty close to right down the runway,
and the sun was shining. At the end of another sell-out crazy weekend, we
NEEDED to fly.

Ames is home to an active glider operation (Mary and I took some soaring
instruction there a few years back), and today was no different, despite
the wind. Ames' Runway 19 was less than optimal, with a gusty cross wind,
but I managed to squeak 'er in without too much turmoil. We were all glad
to be back on terra firma, however, after a very bumpy descent.

As I was standing on the wing stretching, enjoying the spring sunshine, I
observed the Super Cub tow plane starting down Rwy 19, trundling along
with the trainer in tow. In the blink of an eye, the cross wind lifted
the glider's port wing, causing the starboard wing to dip. The glider
caught the wingtip (I was too far away, but it *looked* like in the
grass), causing the glider to momentarily get sideways.

The tow plane's tail, already airborne, jerked down hard -- but just as
quickly as we could gasp -- the glider's wings straightened up, the tow
plane started to fly right, and they were soon clawing for altitude.
Another cartwheel averted...

I shook my head as I jumped off the wing, amazed at how close a thing
aviation can be. We're always on the brink of disaster, it seems...but
most of the time things work out...
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"




Brian[_1_] May 5th 08 09:50 AM

Close call -- glider ops
 

Dropping the Right wing on the initial part of the tow is not to
uncommon for the glider as it hits the prop wash of the tow plane. I
suspect it would be the Left wing when towing behing a towplane with a
non US standard direction prop.

Additionally we often practice non-wing runner takeoffs where we start
with one wing on the ground. This is Ok in most trainers but not
recommended in some high performance gliders or on many unpaved
runways.

The glider getting sideways is not normal, but in a crosswind can
happen to some extent until the glider gathers enough speed to have
adequate rudder authority to counteract the cross wind.

The tow planes tail jerking down does not seem to unusual, unless you
mean it slammed to the ground. The glider can pretty easily change the
direction of the tow plane. If either pilot thought there was any
danger of losing control they should have released. If the glider did
turn sideways enough to lose control the Weak Link on the tow rope
should have broken.

You are correct that in flying we are often, especially during take-
off and landing, only a split second from changing from being OK and
normal to Not OK and Abnormal. This is where mental practice and
physcial practice as appropriate of the things that might go wrong
can save the day.

Brian
CFIIG/ASEL


G. Paleologopoulos May 5th 08 10:47 AM

Close call -- glider ops
 
"Brian" wrote
...

You are correct that in flying we are often, especially during take-
off and landing, only a split second from changing from being OK and
normal to Not OK and Abnormal. This is where mental practice and
physcial practice as appropriate of the things that might go wrong
can save the day.

Brian
CFIIG/ASEL



That damn split second governs all facets of our lives, not just flying.
Certainly true of flying, though....
G.


Jay Honeck[_2_] May 5th 08 12:56 PM

Close call -- glider ops
 
That damn split second governs all facets of our lives, not just flying.

I often ponder this when driving down a curvy 2-lane highway, with strangers
hurtling toward me at a combined speed of 140 mph. Just two weeks ago an
acquaintance was killed when she drifted over the centerline on a curve and
hit someone head-on.

All it takes is a moment's inattention.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


Brian[_1_] May 5th 08 02:35 PM

Close call -- glider ops
 
On May 5, 5:56*am, "Jay Honeck" wrote:
That damn split second governs all facets of our lives, not just flying.


I often ponder this when driving down a curvy 2-lane highway, with strangers
hurtling toward me at a combined speed of 140 mph. * Just two weeks ago an
acquaintance was killed when she drifted over the centerline on a curve and
hit someone head-on.

All it takes is a moment's inattention.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


This is one of the reasons I like teaching flying, with the exception
of Take-off and landing there is little a student pilot can do that I
don't have a lot of time to react to. Now a driving instructor is a
brave soul.They may only have a split second to respond throughout
most of the lesson and often only have a brake pedal for a dual
control.

Brian

Vaughn Simon May 5th 08 11:21 PM

Close call -- glider ops
 

"Brian" wrote in message
...
.... with the exception
of Take-off and landing there is little a student pilot can do that I
don't have a lot of time to react to.

Then you have not had to teach glider aero launch/tow.

With new primary students, the glider tends to flop around at the end of the
tow rope like a freshly hooked fish. A new CFIG must learn very quickly how to
react instantaneously. You may take over the controls, save the situation, and
then transfer control back to your student two or three times in the space of a
single minute!

Vaughn



Dylan Smith May 6th 08 03:16 PM

Close call -- glider ops
 
On 2008-05-05, Jay Honeck wrote:
The tow plane's tail, already airborne, jerked down hard -- but just as
quickly as we could gasp -- the glider's wings straightened up, the tow
plane started to fly right, and they were soon clawing for altitude.
Another cartwheel averted...


I think you have to really screw up to cartwheel - a touch of the wing
to the ground and it'll slide (well, so long as there aren't obstacles
like potholes or runway lights to actually catch the wing).

A wingtip drag tends to be much less drama than a glider pilot getting
out of position (high) on lift off, which is most likely with a glider
with a compromise or belly hook. The nose hook tends to bias the glider
into going straight, but some gliders don't have them. Whenever I tow
one of those, I'm on a hair trigger to pull the release in the tow
plane. Especially if it's someone new to the type of glider! Things can
go horribly wrong for the tow pilot very fast if a glider kites. It
usually doesn't go all that well for the glider pilot either.

A glider club I used to be a member of had one such glider kite not long
after takeoff while on aerotow, I think the glider pilot got into a bit
of a divergent PIO. Fortunately, I think the tow rope back released when
the glider kited - and the glider ended up doing a *loop* at very low
altitude. Fortunately, the pilot didn't crash and the tow plane didn't
suffer a low altitude upset (which are often fatal).

--
From the sunny Isle of Man.
Yes, the Reply-To email address is valid.

Jay Honeck[_2_] May 7th 08 04:41 AM

Close call -- glider ops
 
the glider kited - and the glider ended up doing a *loop* at very low
altitude.


Whoa. I'll bet there were some shorts to be cleaned out after *that* little
incident...
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


Brian[_1_] May 7th 08 05:40 AM

Close call -- glider ops
 
On May 5, 4:21*pm, "Vaughn Simon"
wrote:
"Brian" wrote in message

...
... with the exception
of Take-off and landing there is little a student pilot can do that I
don't have a lot of time to react to.

* *Then you have not had to teach glider aero launch/tow.

* *With new primary students, the glider tends to flop around at the end of the
tow rope like a freshly hooked fish. *A new CFIG must learn very quickly how to
react instantaneously. * You may take over the controls, save the situation, and
then transfer control back to your student two or three times in the space of a
single minute!

Vaughn


I considered Aerotow as part of take-off and laniding

With the Blaniks and 2-33 that I usually teach in it usualy isn't much
of an issue. Pretty much as long as the student keeps me where I can
see the tow plane I can usually talk them back into position. But then
again once we hit 500 feet there isn't much the student can do that
can't be delt with in a reasonable amount of time. Don't get me wrong
I don't mean I can be sleeping in the back seat. It may require a
timely pull of the release or a push on the stick to maintian airspeed
but these are usually pretty easy to see coming, at least from the
instructors point of view.

Now the landing and take-off thing is a different story, the Student
can suddenly stand on the brakes of a tailwheel airplane, I think this
is why tailwheel trainers should have fairly weak brakes. The
student can push full right rudder when left is required to straighten
the aircraft. The student can push forward on the stick for the
roundout instead on pulling back. These all require immediate action
on the part of the instructor.

Brian


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