07 July 2012

Bronze badge written test and precision landings

I passed the written test for the Bronze badge on Wednesday. And yesterday, I completed the required spot landings in the Schweizer 1-36 using the grass next to the runway. This badge is one of my club's prerequisites to be endorsed to make cross-country flights.

Flying cross-country in a glider requires venturing outside of safe gliding distance from the home airport. The goal is to fly a predetermined course as quickly as possible. I'm finding that to be challenging and strong motivation to improve my skills. 

While the spot landings were judged to be within specifications, I was disappointed with one of them. After releasing from tow at 800' AGL on the downwind leg, I flew an extremely tight and steep pattern to really beat the Pawnee down: full spoilers and a full rudder slip all the way around; the Sprite descends like a helicopter when you do that. I let the nose drop a tiny bit in the slip and when I kicked it out low to the ground, I had more energy than I wanted. The glider sailed past my desired touchdown point. I learned my lesson: don't be a hotshot.

The only requirement left for the badge is to complete two simulated off-field landings without reference to an altimeter.

A hazy day: looking southwest at the northern tip of the Massanuttens

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