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  #1  
Old 08-23-2015, 08:58 PM
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Default One more for the checklist

New checklist item: Make certain your glider wheels do not get hung up on the blocks.

The following took place yesterday in the time it took for the launch command to be given and my glider to become airborne behind the trike; ~150-200 yards from the tree line - launching to the East. (I have no idea how high I was when I pinned off. It felt like I was ~10' off the ground. Does that sound about right to those of you who saw it?

The tug pilot applied power, we rolled down the runway, and within a few seconds... lift-off. Approximately 6" above the ground I slowly began to release my grip. Hmm that's odd- uneven separation (fly the glider). I could feel the handle on the left side sliding freely through my fingers, but the right side wasn't budging. I re gripped the left side to maintain control of it (fly the glider) - always keep wings level when launching and landing :).

Quick visual inspection VG tucked away; tow line free and clear- over cart, and over the control bar; tug still directly in front of me and now slightly above me. I tried to jerk it off a couple of times- nothing... not even any sign of play between the cart and glider. In fact, it felt like the glider was bolted to the undercarriage.

Time to abort. Any higher could be life threatening or at the very least very painful. I made a conscious decision to pin-off with my right hand. I had tension when I pinned off but as it so happened the tug pilot had given me the rope perhaps milliseconds later because it lay right in front of me beyond where I came to a complete stop when I landed.

So how was my landing? Well, if you don't take into account the few tests and adjustments on approach which were necessary for recalibrate my air speed to account for the higher stall speed thanks to the excess drag and weight (50lbs?)... to date it is the landing I'm most proud of. That was by far the softest belly landing I've ever had thanks to the nice cushy wheels.

The first thing I did after landing was to inspect what had happened. While still laying prone everything looked fine. I stood up and attempted to lift the glider and it was still stuck. The problem was only visible when I looked around at the other side of the block. To free my glider I had to push the bolt back in.

Within 10 -15 minutes I was back at launch, flew for ~30 min's until the thermals petered out and took a knee on my no step landing.

IMHO the best way to avoid this is to keep your wheels (especially the WW type with the big holes in them) on the inside of the blocks. This way there is nothing to get caught up on the outside of the blocks. You will also be able to immediately see anything that's out of whack.

I'd be hesitant to keep my wheels on the outside and move the blocks in further because you could end up in the same place I was. To illustrate the reason why, ask yourself this question. What do you do when you discover that you aren't rolling straight down the runway? In fact, this is exactly what caused this incident. I was rolling to the right so I started jerking the glider and cart to the left. Glider obeyed, cart didn't, resulting in the glider sliding on the blocks to the left. I used the same cart when I launched the second time. In fact I never took the glider off the cart.

Thanks to everyone for your support and concern and my apologies if I gave anyone a scare. I'm sure it looked a lot worse from the ground than it did from my vantage point. A special thank you to our tug pilot for always watching out for us, and without whom we would not have these wonderful opportunity to play in the sky.

Hey, bad things only happen on the ground... right Tom?
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:01 PM
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Dang Sri... Taking the cart with you isn't part of the standard procedures!

Glad everything turned out okay. Your - and Willie's - attentiveness and quick action are no doubt the reason that events weren't any more eventful.

But I have to confess... I don't understand what component of your A-frame was caught in the cart. What bolt did you have to "...push back in." Are you referring to the base tube/downtube pin?
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:06 AM
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Default Checklist

Another one is to put your fin on if you are having difficulties towing. Hint,hint. Also, in response to the laughing smiley face . The next time someone drives like an idiot around the operations they will be asked to leave. That was no laughing matter.

Last edited by Matt Dittman; 08-24-2015 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:11 AM
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Mike, the bolt referenced is the one which holds the handles (pieces of brake hose) to the blocks.
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:38 AM
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Matt, i appreciate the feedback. My launches have been getting a lot better. This is something i review with Willie frequently. Outside of the little bauble possibly on account of the wind crossing and gradient from the tree line the rest of the tow was on rails. Perhaps more VG might have helped- i was using 1/4 VG and noticed that I was pulling in quite a bit. My fear with using a fin is that my progress may be halted.
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Old 08-24-2015, 06:15 AM
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Default Safety first

My understanding is that you were flying a sport2 for a few years then jumped right into the LS. If that is correct then you took a little to big of a step. I flew a U2 for three years before switching to the LS4. When I first flew the U2 it handled completely different than the sport2. It had more of a tendency to PIO and also slip in a slow turns. You are flying a wing that I and others know very well. Larry (former owner of your wing) has tweaked on that wing to the point that is going to be a handful for someone trying to learn to fly a topless for the first time. Let alone never flying a higher performance kingpost (U2). We would like to see you fly with a fin until you prove properly controlled tows and controlled landings. I do not want to see anyone get hurt. Flying without a fin is going to slow your progress more than not flying with one. In the last 12 years I have flown a raven,mark4,falcon,malibu,sting,sort2,U2,LS4 and currently T2C. All I am saying is that from experience you'll get it faster if you take smaller steps.

Last edited by Matt Dittman; 08-24-2015 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:02 AM
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Thanks Sri. I always think about tucking harness cords and VG lines away to keep from taking the cart with me but I never thought of that one. Shared experience keeps us all safer. Kudos to you and Willie for quick reactions and a happy outcome.
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