I decided that I will pursue a glider rating as the next goal. After making two flights in a glider, I am convinced that the training will sharpen my stick-and-rudder skills. Glider flying is a lot of fun, too.
Having never flown in a sailplane before, I was struck by a few things:
- The visibility from a glider is impressive. From the front seat, the view is nearly unobstructed.
- Gliders are quiet. Only the sound of the air, the beeping of the variometer, and the occasional call on the radio is heard. Headsets are unnecessary.
- You won't get away with lazy feet. These things exhibit tons of adverse yaw, and lots of rudder is required.
- The yaw string is far preferable to the "ball" (inclinometer). Head-out-the-window flying is stressed, which will definitely break me of any tendency to fixate on instruments.
- Air brakes/spoilers provide a tremendous amount of drag on demand, which allows gliders to fly tight, steep approaches.
- Steep turns (45 degrees or so) in the traffic pattern are generally safe and recommended, unlike powered airplanes. There is minimal risk of accelerated stall, I'm told.