Thursday, March 02, 2006

Maneuvers Pics

Here are a couple of photos from the maneuver's clinic of me doing an asymmetrical collapse.

Here is the write up I did for the TX Wingnuts yahoo groups site...

WOW. That's one word to describe the clinic. I personally went to the clinic with a little apprehension. I didn't know if I had it in me to collapse the wing "On Purpose" and do the asymmetrical collapses, stalls, etc. Turns out I did have what it took and more.

I went up on Thursday evening and met up with Bud Wruck and TroyHarris. We hung out and talked flying, and even watched the maneuver DVD one last time.

Friday morning we were up early (6:45 am alarm) and were over to the LZ by 7:30 am. Chris Santacroce was ready to tow. A couple of the guys got in a few tows on Thursday afternoon and were up first. My turn came quick and off I went. The cloud base on Friday varied from about 1500 ft. to 2100 ft. later in the day. Officially, we released 500 ft. below cloud base. The first tow was mellow, just a few EZ maneuvers and back to the LZ. Whew, that wasn't' so bad. Each tow following Chris S. added different things to work on, all the while talking you through them on the radio. Chris's training style isvery laid back. He says things like… "Let's try a full frontal, reach up with the alternative grip and grab those A's pull downuntil I say release and then quickly release" Ok, you can do it now, good, release, tweak the A's to restart the wing, good." Top notch training and confidence inducing conversation. I got 5 tows in Friday and some of the guys I think got up to 8!

Chris, Troy, Bud, Mike Stewart, & I went to dinner at a local café that featured large "Texas Size" steaks on the menu. Everyone decided to order the "small" chicken fried steak except for Chris S. The waitress asked "And what for you honey? Chris said "I'll take the vegetables", she kind of looked at him funny, "No, what meat do you want?" He said "No, I just want vegetables." Classic moment, she says "You ain't from Texas are ya?" Too funny. She says "What veggies do you want?" He says "All of them." So she says, "We have potatoes, mashed or fried," He says, "No real vegetables." She says "Oh, we have fried Okra, black eyed peas, green beans…" He says "Yeah, I'll take all of those." Too funny. Glad I ordered the small one; I could only eat half of it.

Saturday morning the alarm goes off again at 6:45 am and we look out of the cabin window that was on the lake edge and couldn't see the lake. Not a good sign. It was cold, foggy and drizzling rain. Well, maybe it will clear up, we'll wait it out. It started raining pretty hard about 8:00 am and that cleared out the fog at least. We decided to go and find some breakfast somewhere and then meet up with Chris S. at his hotel and watch "Into the Wind" along with some training videos while we couldn't fly. Whataburger breakfast tacos, gotta love `em. Sonny showed up with his kolache's and cinnamon rolls, and they were consumed by the guys as we watched the movie and the rain outside the window. About 2:00 pm and it was still rainy, things weren't looking too good. Mary Wruck came up to the lake about 3:00 pm with the 3 boys. They were ready for some fishing. Bud rigged up poles and lines for the boys and Chris S. asked if he would rig up his fishing pole with bait too. Bud fixed him up and they all dropped lines in the lake. I don't think any of them caught anything but had fun trying. Some of the other fishermen there had a stringer full of crappie that were pretty good size. More wind, rain and cold kept us from getting any tows on Saturday. The rain finally stopped in time for Bud to fire up the grill and we cooked up hot dogs for the boys and burgers for the guys. Yorum showed up just in time for a burger and beer. As we were getting ready to pack it in for the night we kept watching the clouds and sure enough, around 10:00 pm or so we saw a star through a hole in the clouds. A few minutes later we were able to see more stars and knew that Sunday was going to be a fine day.

Up once again at 6:45 am and over to the Yegua Park LZ. The wind was up at about 12 mph and Yorum took the first tow. The first guy out is the wind dumby and Yorum didn't quite make it back to the LZ. He landed in the park but far enough away that Sonny & Troy had to go and retrieve him. He said as he was coming down there was a herd of deer looking up at him with questioning looks… "What kind of bird is that and is it going to eat me?" I think I was up next and got a pretty good tow, a few maneuvers practiced and back to the LZ to line up for another go. Sonny got in the action with some good tows and Mary Wruck had a great tow as the day went on. I got in 4 tows on Sunday and had several tries at correcting collapses, doing big ears, circles, wing over's etc. On my last tow Chris S. said, "Were going to pull a right side asymmetrical collapse and lean into it hard keep the A riser pulled and get a good turn going that way." I did it a couple of times but not hard enough for his liking. So, I pulled the right A hard, leaned hard right and started into a spiral. I think I counted at least 1 ½ turns and still no recovery. I'm thinking "two more seconds and I'm pulling the laundry (reserve)." About that time I finally get the wing shaken out and return to straight flight. Chris says, "That's the situation I was trying to get you to. Out of control and recover. You didn't quite recover textbook. You need to lean away from the deflation and use that brake sparingly to get the glider to fly straight and then the collapse will shake out." I can truly say I was scared and almost threw the reserve. I was glad when I stopped spinning out of control.

I had to leave at 3:00 pm to make it home for some family time. My wife Patty & daughter Sammi had a great home cooked meal ready and we enjoyed the food and relaxation, getting ready for another week back to reality.

If you get a chance to take one of these clinics it is well worth it for an eye opening experience of how to recover from collapses, how to throw your reserve, how trim tabs work and when and where to adjust them, speed bar discussion and usage and more.

I didn't take any video equipment because I wanted to focus totally on the clinic. Sonny had his new helmet camera setup and I volunteered to take it up one flight. I haven't seen the footage yet but Sonny said we got something. I think there is video and pics from some of the other pilots and family that were there. Sonny said he had a perfect shot full frame of a full frontal collapse of me but thought the exposure was wrong and it may not be usable. Bummer.

Cya in the sky!

CP aka Gadget Man.


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