Monday, March 23, 2009

Up.. up... and away.

Took my second glider lesson today at Turf Soaring School here in way north Peoria. Images below have information no one needs known, except myself.

My excitement builds! I had to image it for future recollection. When my mind is slow and feeble. (NOT!)


This is me and Chiquita, my glider girl. I made the name up myself, cause everyone called her N30485 or something. Yes, there was a phallic moment with her. Rick, my instructor called it 'taking ownership.' I figure she needed a stroke before I put her through the abuse I do. You can see by my pants the force of the wind upwind from the field.


I am onboard, testing the elevator, ailerons, rudder and spoilers. The big red knob is the tow release. Zoom! Ignore my dorky clothing. Speaking of clothing, all the glider pilots wear the same kind of hat, not a ballcap like me. Luckily I brought the kind of hat they wear on my trip, but did not wear it this time out. You can see the altimeter is preset to 1600 ft MSL, which is the altitude above Mean Sea Level of the Pleasant Valley (P48) airport I am staying at. If you don't do that, you crash on approach. Well, not really, but you can't gauge altitude correctly and in bigger planes, yeah, you WILL crash.


I think that is Jeff towing us out. At this point, there is a lot of scraping of the skidplate against the gravel runway edge. In a few seconds we are balanced on the landing wheel and then we put the elevator down and we are up.


I am about to release from tow and soar away to find thermals. I think we are about 3000 MSL (so, 1400 ft above ground). I was supposed to note the release alt. but was feeling the tow instead.


Smoggy ass Phoenix in the distance.


Lake Pleasant. Woo!


I found a thermal, now I am trying to stay in it. Instructor Rick had to whack me on the head a few times to remind me to watch my bank angle and shit. I can't think of anything more exciting than this, really. It is like a video game. You search out thermals or bubbles and get lift until they fizzle, then glide to another one. Clouds, birds, and other gliders are the keys to finding good ones.


Me... flying. No shit. It is not EASY, but it is not HARD. Once you get the feet/hand coordination down, it is pretty straightforward. It is really a whole body thing, like playing the drums. And these things are SO lubricated and tight you can feel your ship respond to everything you are doing.


The Turf Soaring School airport where I am staying.


Be, being insane in Chiquita. That is Rick behind me. HE is wearing the appropriate hat. ROXXOR!


The airport again. You can see Althea there in the fucking dust. We had a crazy dust storm the other night. This RV was rocking and not in the GOOD way.


Chiquita after I abused her. Rick let me do most of the landing this time, downwind, base and approach. He said to level her at 1 foot above the runway. Well... when you are in the cockpit, it is hard to tell 1 foot. And I dropped her a little early, not realizing how much runway I had left, so I leveled her at three feet and he took over and dropped her. With gliders, though, you don't land on the actual runway or you will skid to Mexico. The gravel beds along the edges are where you drop the glider and then the skidplate hits and you crunch to a stop. Thanks Rick! That rocked!


And for good measure, here is an Iridium flare I captured tonight about 9ยบ SE of Polaris.


And that, as I say... is all.


Teri said...

Oh, my aching balls, Jim! I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to hear the details first hand. I love these pictures, too. Your expression is appropriately chuffed.

Teri said...

Zounds! Nice shot of iridium flare!