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It was a long weekend. Saturday, I flew the Tripacer 3.9 hours. The… - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
It was a long weekend.

Saturday, I flew the Tripacer 3.9 hours. The engine still isn't breaking in well, the oil temps are still way too high, and now the trim system is jamming. I know why, but I don't know yet how to replace the bad cable - that's my research task for the week.

Today, I towed. It wasn't a good day - I didn't have a good landing all day, and I had a couple truly horrible arrivals, some screwed up takeoffs, and other adventures. Add to that an entire day of students-from-hell, and I was beat by the end of the day.

Then, Michael needed to move his glider back from an airport 30 miles north of the club. So when I was done towing, I threw a rope in the back of the towplane, and went to pick him up.

Now, I have 100+ hours in those towplanes. Never before have I left a 5-mile radius of the airport. I didn't even have a map with me. But I followed the roads (after one wrong turn), got to where I was supposed to be, bought a bit of gas, hooked up the glider, and headed home.

There are few things more peaceful then a late-afternoon aerotow. The lift had been good all day, but it was dead, so the sky was smooth as glass. The first 100 feet of the tow were interesting, since Michael hadn't flown that glider in a year, and was a bit rusty, but it settled out. The plane was purring, the air was cool, and she was climbing well, so I went up to 4000ft. It was about 65F at that altitude, and after a day of being in the sun and 90+F heat, it felt great.

There is nothing fast about cross-country towing. The glider can only be towed in a very narrow range of airspeeds (this one wanted between 80 and 85mph), so any adjustment of pitch must be slow and careful, so you stay in that speed range. The Pawnee wanted to cruise about 110, so I had the engine pulled way back so she wouldn't climb. But I got her trimmed out perfectly, and she just purred along, quiet and smooth and slow, with just the occasional tug on the tail to remind me the glider was back there. It was the best 1.4 hours of the whole weekend - it was worth all the hassle and the maintenance and the sunburn and the dehydration....well, okay, it wasn't quite that good. But it was still good.

Now I'm going to go take one more shower and go to bed.

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: Law and Order on TV

2 comments or Leave a comment
alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: July 28th, 2003 09:57 am (UTC) (Link)


You should try towing in the Auster some day, my landings have *always* been inconsistent in that, and it's not just me, I've seen the owners bounce it plenty of times!

I had fun towing on Sunday. Someone needed to get some aerotow proficiency, so I gave it him. I think I found the roughest air possible to tow through :-) But the good thing about that is that I dropped the guy off in a thermal.

I also got to soar, I got 40 minutes off a winch launch (last flight of the day too, so I was called down rather than running out of lift). A very shaky start though - on my first winch I got a bit over-enthusiastic on the pitch angle, and the wire back-released, leaving me pitched up at 55 degrees nose up, 45 knots, and 800 ft. AGL. This is not a naturally tenable position to be in! You do what you'd expect - push the stick as far forward as it will go until all you can see is the ground out of the front, wait for the airspeed to pick up, and recover to best L/D. You actually go below stall speed during recovery, but since you're doing a humungous zero-G push over, you never actually stall. Winch launches are _fun_.
The second winch I took, I actually got 1600 ft., normally 1100-1200 is the norm (but it was windy which helps, you go up literally like a kite does). Of course, more will be in my journal (http://slashdot.org/~Alioth/journal)
the_carrot From: the_carrot Date: July 28th, 2003 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Towing

leaving me pitched up at 55 degrees nose up, 45 knots, and 800 ft. AGL.

Nose down, full burner, and pray?
2 comments or Leave a comment