18th April 2012

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Blog :: More Hang Gliding

I'm still Hang Gliding - my last lesson I repeated the 50' launch since it had been a while than hiked up to the 150' launch a couple of times. Everything looked good so I got to move up to the 300' launch and got three flights with a truck ride back to the top each time.

The main focus of this lesson was starting to be able to fly a landing approach. I'm not yet up to a standard aircraft Downwind-Base-Final approach but have the same basic idea: pick a spot I want to land, fly downwind away from it till I'm just the right distance, then turn back and glide to my chosen spot. Easy :)

Or not. The first time I waited waaaay to long - the only thing I'm happy about was when I'd made my turn to final my first thought was to fly best glide all the way down to the ground to get as far as possible but I quickly reconsidered and flew a little faster. Landing is about getting down safely, not hitting a particular spot right now and one of the things I'm working on is bringing enough speed down to the ground.

Of course my second landing I forgot this piece of wisdom and nearly landed on my wheels reaching for the spot. This time I turned too high, recognized it and made a (previously discussed with my instructor) course correction; flying back towards the 50' launch then turning back towards the spot in an effort to burn off some altitude. This was so successful I nearly landed in the inner circle I was aiming for - but stupidly pulled up my feet to eke out the last few yards of distance and barely got my feet back under me.

My third flight was the most exciting - the wind was really picking up and I actually had to wait for the cycle to die down in order to launch where normally I'm waiting for the breeze to pick up. I should have power launched, keeping the nose down a touch to increase my speed before flying but my takeoff was ok - this was my first ever "straps tight" takeoff where the glider was flying even before my takeoff run. Once in the air I felt great and thought I'd made a good call on my turn onto final. Of course I now had a headwind of ~10mph on the ground so I came up far short again. The landing was funny too. I decided as I came in that I wouldn't flare in all the wind and would just run it out which worked fine - but it was weird again to be landed (my feet are on the ground and no forwards movement) but the glider is still flying.

Landing is still what I'm thinking about the most and the skill I most want to acquire is the ability to round out at 2' high instead of swooping all the way down to ground level. All my flights for the day were good ones despite new conditions (wind!), new launches, 180 degree turns. It all was fun. I can't wait for the next time!

Posted on April 18th 2012, 11:07 AM

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