Linda Salamone's Blog

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A few requests are forcing me to update this page before I have any pics to put up- so I don't want to hear any complaints from the peanut gallery....
Labor Day Weekend- where to go?- So many choices: Ellenville Fun Meet (that's always a blast). Hyner View (haven't had much of THAT place yet). Stay home and do scooter tow and watch people sled with the tow nazi at Longacres (um... NOT). Canada (two places to choose from there)... Hmmm. I let Mark decide since I HAVE A BROKEN ARM- so who cares where I go??? He decided on the place where Ryan and Bellerby and Dowsett can be found most flyable weekends- (Insert name of place here). I thought he was just being sociable so I was surprised to find that it was totally the soaring place to be- NOT exactly a good thing, remember: I HAVE A BROKEN ARM so when we arrived with trailer late Saturday afternoon, I was secretly pleased to find that, like all tow parks, this one was centered right in the middle of a BIG BLUE HOLE. In fact, NUVI let us down, so we just aimed for the middle of the blue and got there just fine, thank you. Mark starts setting up his glider first thing but it's like after 4pm so I'm feeling smug. Daniel Spier and his wife, Mary show up and I figure this could be a good social event. But then Bellerby and Daniel and Mark tow up. AND STAY UP.
The first hour, I was okay. The second one was half over and I was pretty much DONE. The trailer was not set up, nor in a place where I could accomplish that feat. The water tank was not full, the battery was dead. I couldn't find the car keys or unhitch the trailer to ditch to town and get food and supplies. By 6pm I was a LITTLE cranky. By 6:30 I was homicidal. When Mark landed and everyone began the post-flight bullshit I realized something very important: IT SUCKS TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THEIR FLIGHTS WHEN YOU WEREN'T UP THERE WITH THEM. Wives, drivers, sig. others.. I feel for you. But get this: It's WORSE when you know what your missing. I knew the air was like Florida late day- big boaty thermals- or the BBTs as we like to call them. Light lift, warm air, easy to stay up, lots of company.
After Mary and I left for town (very abruptly after the trailer was unhitched) I steeled myself for the campfire chats about the flying, but there wasn't much I could do about that. Mark promised to make getting me in the air on Sunday a priority.
Sunday morning, Ryan scooter towed the big tandem Falcon that was brand spanking new. Mark and I were going to take it for its maiden high flight. So many solos to get in the air first; one tow pilot, one impatient bitch WITH A BROKEN ARM. Late in the afternoon we get a chance to find harnesses that will work with the tandem. Caitlin's Moyes XT-145 is already set up in case things go well.
Our tow is really uneventful, except that Mark wouldn't let me have it. After we got off (at like 440 meters agl ???) I spotted a swirl in some crops and took the glider and maintained a bit. My arm didn't seem to hurt at all and pretty soon I was cranking and banking and climbing and just flying the thing like Mark wasn't even there. When it came time to land after 45 minutes however, I was content to sit back and just freak the f*ck out. But it was fine, we rolled right in, and I ran to get the XT.
My solo tow went fine, no pressure on my arm, but it was so late, I couldn't stay up long, but I shared some zero sink with Bellerby and then went to land. After hearing all the stories about other broken arms re-breaking when flaring, I was praying to whomever would listen that I would land safely. Forgetting that I was flying a lower performing glider almost really bit me though. I set up over the soybeans and found myself very short and just barely made the edge. In fact, one foot was IN the beans, one foot was OUT. I had a rough time with the transition as well- very small control frame- and just too new to me to do it smoothly. I dropped the nose but did no damage to my arm.
Monday I got my stuff ready as soon as the last tandem was gone. Another student materialized while I hooked in but I decided to go first. Mark said it was getting pretty good and the forecast sucked so I figured now or never. My tow was a bit sketchy at first- pretty good cross on launch- but once a little higher it was easy- just slow. I pinned off in what I thought was something, but I had to search and thinking I was going to be practicing my landings sooner rather than later, I cursed my stupidity. But then I did find something to maintain in and eventually climbed to 800m or so, later I saw the tandem get dropped above me and eventually we all got up to base and flew around a bit. By the time I got low again, the tandem was setting up to land, and we had a conflict of approaches. I tried to climb out in something that was lifting off the field, but didn't want to push things, and watched mark land with his passenger. Where he wound up made my LZ much smaller, and as I came onto final, I thought for sure I'd hit him or the tug. Again, my flare was weird and I skidded in but didn't drop the nose. My heart was racing so much that I thought I'd puke- I got myself unhooked and out of the harness and just put my head low until that racy feeling stopped. The whole time I was in the air I had made a conscious effort to forget the landing so I could actually enjoy the flight. But I was really bowled over by how physically wrecked I felt after landing. It wasn't a great landing, and I know it's partly my technique (or lack thereof) but also the CG on the glider is a bit off. I'll have to check batten camber and move the hang point back a bit to see. It was as if it just wanted to be a lawn dart, never settling into ground effect and rounding out- but again, maybe my fear-grip masked the landing cues. In air, trim was reading 48kph- maybe my instrument is calibrated wrong out of it's racing pod- but still, that seems awfully fast for a glider with no VG.
Anyhow, after my one hour flight, I could join the others and let them talk about their flights and feel pretty okay about the whole experience. There is so much more to say about the people that I met, and the advice I got, and the shower we bummed off some really great people, and Ryan's personal best, but really, it's all about my flight for me right now. It wasn't much to write home about, but there I was, back at cloudbase, on my own, touching the mist. Right back where I belong. My arm isn't sore, but my back is... and my shoulders..... and it feels like I went FLYING!


  • awright Linda!! c;mon down to the Rut!! PK out

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 PM  

  • Linda, Glad you are back in the air. I am having some of the same problems that you talk about on your landings. I may have to resort to the practice hills which I am trying to avoid. Hope the landings come back soon - I be thinking they will...

    By Blogger olehere, at 9:38 AM  

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