1st Solo ever!!

Aceman

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Jan 17, 2024
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Aceman
All:

I'm so happy that I finally (after years and years of dreaming to "do it one day") got my solo flight in a glider at my school in Arizona. I was a little nervous because I didn't want to screw up and then get into a panic situation where several things could go wrong. All the way from the takeoff tow to release to hanging out and checking the wind sock to getting into the pattern, establishing pitch attitude and flying from downwind to base to final. I was not perfect. I came back to the downwind way too high (over 400ft), so I decided to extend my downwind a bit long. After turning to base, I got a little low so I kept the airbrakes in. I finally caught up to my glide angle but didn't pull the airbrakes out on flare and so I floated for a bit longer than I wanted but nevertheless, I landed safely and didn't break anything.

I'm being trained by an ex-Navy pilot Top Gun instructor and he's quite the instructor. The first week was very intense and I had to take a half day during the week to get some rest. He was very proud of me nevertheless and I'm sure we still have much more training to do until FAA examiner time. I was also told that the Grob-103 is an extremely difficult glider to control. Every other student out there was using the 2-33A. I chose the Grob because I'm very tall (6'2") and can't fit in the 2-33A.

I've got a video of the solo flight and would welcome any positive critiques. I'm just waiting for the video to upload to youtube.

Here's a pic of me and my instructor



At 17yrs old:
 
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Nice! You don’t need no stinkin’ engine!!
Man, it's very interesting with these gliders. So much thought has to go into it -- even on takeoff. I simply could not keep the correct position behind the tow plane while climbing during early training. Also the plane just kept oscillating in yaw because I wasn't giving the pedals enough authority. Landings are super tough in the Grob-103 due to adverse yaw and the delayed response.
 
All:

I'm so happy that I finally (after years and years of dreaming to "do it one day") got my solo flight in a glider at my school in Arizona. I was a little nervous because I didn't want to screw up and then get into a panic situation where several things could go wrong. All the way from the takeoff tow to release to hanging out and checking the wind sock to getting into the pattern, establishing pitch attitude and flying from downwind to base to final. I was not perfect. I came back to the downwind way too high (over 400ft), so I decided to extend my downwind a bit long. After turning to base, I got a little low so I kept the airbrakes in. I finally caught up to my glide angle but didn't pull the airbrakes out on flare and so I floated for a bit longer than I wanted but nevertheless, I landed safely and didn't break anything.

I'm being trained by an ex-Navy pilot Top Gun instructor and he's quite the instructor. The first week was very intense and I had to take a half day during the week to get some rest. He was very proud of me nevertheless and I'm sure we still have much more training to do until FAA examiner time. I was also told that the Grob-103 is an extremely difficult glider to control. Every other student out there was using the 2-33A. I chose the Grob because I'm very tall (6'2") and can't fit in the 2-33A.

I've got a video of the solo flight and would welcome any positive critiques. I'm just waiting for the video to upload to youtube.

Here's a pic of me and my instructor



At 17yrs old:
love this. Brought a smile to my face. Congrats, and thanks for posting it.
 
how much time,how many tows, over how many days, did this take?
 
Which glider school are you flying with? It must be a strange feeling going gliding solo the first time.
 
Congratulations! Full circle and beyond.
 
Enjoyed the video but where's the landing? Was it that bad? ;)

Kidding of course. I've only taken one ride in a glider. Winch launch was pretty breath taking. Thermal activity was very low so it wasn't a long flight but very enjoyable. If the group was a bit closer I'd be taking some lessons ...
 
Which glider school are you flying with? It must be a strange feeling going gliding solo the first time.
The best one in the country... ;)

Arizona Soaring in Maricopa, AZ. They have incredible instructors and pilots and every summer they teach the USAF academy cadets for aerobatic competitions.
 
Enjoyed the video but where's the landing? Was it that bad? ;)

Kidding of course. I've only taken one ride in a glider. Winch launch was pretty breath taking. Thermal activity was very low so it wasn't a long flight but very enjoyable. If the group was a bit closer I'd be taking some lessons ...
Here is the 2nd solo.. I am aiming the gopro way too high. I'll get another one tomorrow that's more focused on the instruments.

 
Here is the 2nd solo.. I am aiming the gopro way too high. I'll get another one tomorrow that's more focused on the instruments.


Thank you sir. You are moving up on the respect-o-meter!

Landing was OK as it appears the plane can be used again ... :smilewinkgrin:
 
I think I got the landings down now. I can now make precision landings at will. Today I had a strong headwind and there was another layer of wind above that which was going some crazy way. I was too close downwind, had to make a turn out wide before going on base, went to base way too late and had to turn in to final faster. Lined up final but was way too shallow and had to put the spoilers back in to get my angle back. Finally touched down and flared really nicely and stopped before the windsock. The other 3 landings were done without so many mistakes.
 
Well, my FAA test is next Monday! I've already put money down on a brand new HpH Twin Shark motorglider with all Avionics options.

My next mission is to join my local club to stay current and get endorsed for different gliders at our club. I also need a lot of airport/tower speaking over the radio. I might have to get some training on a different aircraft that can fly out of Class "D" airspace.

Any suggestions are welcome!
 
Well, my FAA test is next Monday! I've already put money down on a brand new HpH Twin Shark motorglider with all Avionics options.

My next mission is to join my local club to stay current and get endorsed for different gliders at our club. I also need a lot of airport/tower speaking over the radio. I might have to get some training on a different aircraft that can fly out of Class "D" airspace.

Any suggestions are welcome!
Good luck on the test ... and obviously you've caught the bug if you're investing in a new glider. I hope you'll post regularly about that process so we can live vicariously. I'm sincerely curious about the ATC question, though: How much time does the average glider pilot spend in Class D airspace?

As far as getting used to talking to ATC, confidence comes with practice but probably the best thing you can do at the outset is find the book Say Again Please by Bob Gardner. The VFR Communications course by Sporty's was also helpful for me. I got it on a DVD but it looks like they're selling it as an app now. Or if you are pinching pennies, it all boils down to this: Say who you are, where you are, and what you want, then listen to their instructions, and just ask them in plain English if you're not sure what they mean.
 
Good luck on the test ... and obviously you've caught the bug if you're investing in a new glider. I hope you'll post regularly about that process so we can live vicariously. I'm sincerely curious about the ATC question, though: How much time does the average glider pilot spend in Class D airspace?

As far as getting used to talking to ATC, confidence comes with practice but probably the best thing you can do at the outset is find the book Say Again Please by Bob Gardner. The VFR Communications course by Sporty's was also helpful for me. I got it on a DVD but it looks like they're selling it as an app now. Or if you are pinching pennies, it all boils down to this: Say who you are, where you are, and what you want, then listen to their instructions, and just ask them in plain English if you're not sure what they mean.
I'm reading that book currently.
 
Here is my landings at current time. I think I have mastered it.

 
Here is my landings at current time. I think I have mastered it.
LOL. At about 100 hours, you will inexplicably start having crap landings again. Seems to be a common pattern I've seen. It happened to me about every 100 hours until I hit 500 or so.
 
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I have finally passed my checkride yesterday and am a brand new NEWBIE private pilot to the aviation industry! I'm so happy and proud as it was a long time coming for me.

Congratulations.
 
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