Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekend report September 1 - 3

Our Labor Day weekend was a complete success, with good weather and good flying.

The best day was Saturday. We had good lift to 6000 feet. The two heroes of the day were Andy, who towed all day, and Thomas, who cut short his own flying day to give flight instruction. Evan (T8) took a trip up to the White Mountains and did some exploring north of Gorham. The day ended abruptly when the towplane tailwheel went flat, but most of us had had enough flying by then.

Dan and Greg took the tailwheel home to repair it, but it turned out that it needed a new inner tube.

On Sunday, the day got off to a late start. We waited for Andy and Dan to return from Montpelier where they acquired a new tube for the tailwheel. Thankfully, Evan was able to tow until the very end of the day, so we were able to get everyone up, finally. There was even a little time left in the day for model flying before sunset.

Both Sam and Dan flew the 1-23 for the first time on Sunday. It was a little too late in the day for staying up, but they both made excellent landings.

At Morrisville, Moshe made a nice 100-mile flight in RU, venturing to the northwest, past the Green Mountains into the Champlain basin.

The good weather lasted through Monday, but the lift was decidedly weaker. Also, the Labor Day parade interfered a bit, as usual. I don't think that there were any cross-country flights on Monday, but I'm not sure. I did not have the best vantage point for observing.

On a serious note: after approximately a decade since the last one, we launched a glider with the tail dolly still attached. Although removal of the tail dolly is 100% the responsibility of the pilot, we should all be on the lookout for this hazardous and completely avoidable mistake. Here's hoping that this is the beginning of a very long epoch in which this mistake does not recur.


JS said...

Where was I...first comment went to space, maybe it's above. If so, I apologize. Starting over:

Because I forget, I use checklists, stifling and slow though they can be for me. I have left home once w/o my chute and twice w/o batteries making for truly "fun" occasions on arrival@PMA. So, now I have a predeparture (from home) checklist in my car:

1. HAT / GLOVES (winter rules)
2. CLOTHING (winter rules)
5. FOOD / WATER (ground and aircraft)

Start engines and drive.

Because I have launched once this year without an operational flight recorder (take-off before satellites initialized) and twice with yawstring failures (once due to PDOTY, or premature departure of the yawstring, once due to interfering abrasion from my canopy cover at the point of attachment; and once due to YI, or yawstring interruptus, after coiing of the yarn around the tape retaining it on the canopy making the string resemble an Archimedes spiral drawn by someone with benign essential tremor (or, better yet, a web spun by a spider on LSD). The outcomes were a flight w/o OLC data (no great loss for this sledrider), a flight that was decidedly uncoordinated without doubt, and, last but not least, an opportunity to reach my hand out in the slipstream to the midline of the canopy and free my string (Boy, did that ever give me a giant dose of smug self-satisfaction!). So, now I have another checklist I run after the CRITICAL ASSEMBLY CHECKLIST (SPAR PINS SECURE, TAIL SCREW SECURE) and before I board my aircraft:

1. CHUTE (straps secure)
2. SPOT (device on/tracking on)
3. SAT (satellites found and enumerated by FR)
4. TIP (? yawstring free)
5. TAIL (? tail dolley off)

Note: I now insist on removing my own tail dolley despite generous and well-meaning offers of help.

5 items, 5 fingers. Something is checked on each stop across my hand.

Just because I forget.

Just because it hasn't happened YET, JS, remind yourself: You're Eligible Too.


Rick said...

It's interesting to me that there is no standard way of dealing with the tail dolly issue.

I have seen three approaches in use:

1. Leave it in the trailer.

2. Always be the guy at the tail when the glider is positioned. Be the guy who takes the dolly off. Take it off immediately. (i.e. don't hold the wing or sit in the cart when you're the pilot of the glider being positioned).

3. Depend on the crew to show you the dolly before hooking up.

4. Use a checklist.

Interestingly, number 4 is the least popular. I wonder why. I tend to use number 2.

Thomas said...

There is an easy solution to make leaving the tail dolly on a non-issue. You add more weight to the pilot, to the point that even with the dolly on you are within the healthy CG range. Maybe two dollies on might get you into trouble then. But this is extremely unlikely to happen...

Anonymous said...

Two more "solutions":

(1) the HP14 tail wheel swiveled 90 deg, so no need for a tail dolly. Of course, the swiveling dolly-type tailwheel hung out in the breeze generating heat (drag).

(2) the Russia tail is light enough that it's easy enough to lift and turn the glider as needed without a dolly. This does tend to scrape a wingtip on the ground unless another person helps with that (not an issue on grass).

Seems like adding the dolly to the pre-takeoff checklist (which we should use anyway!) is de-rigeur?

- Moshe (who tends to leave home to go soaring without cellphone (rarely carry with me elsewhere) and baggies (keep several in the glider))

Rick said...

Two tail dollies! Thanks for giving me something else to worry about, Thomas!

Anonymous said...

Trivia question: When the pilot of a Stemme S-10 forgets to remove his tail dolly, how many wheels leave the ground?

Anonymous said...

So, Thomas, you don't have to worry bout removing your tail dolley, do you.