Do glider pilots have the best stick and rudder skills?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by FloridaPilot, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    The main reason I'm not a "glider pilot" is the same reason I'm not a snow boarder. Despite the fact that I'd like to learn to snow board the fact is I already know how to ski so when it comes to the point when we're at the mountain I have to decide - do I want to ski or do I want to spend all day falling on my ass and elbows?
     
  2. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Training costs in a glider are a tradeoff. You can go to a commercial operation, pay some bucks, and get it knocked out in a short amount of time. Or you can go the club route, and typically take longer - the cost in the club might seem lower, but by the time you add it up because of the extra time, the total cost is probably a wash.

    The biggest difference in the two routes: in the commercial op you get it done quickly, and don't always get a lot of weather experience. In a club, the slower pace means it takes longer and you will experience a lot of different weather patterns throughout the year.
     
  3. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    btw.....not every plane has a rudder. :D:goofy::nono:
     
  4. VictorValencia

    VictorValencia Pre-Flight

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    During my checkride the DPE said "I can tell you're a glider pilot because
    you actually USE the rudder". Coordinated flight is more critical in gliders
    because efficiency is everything when you're trying to stay up. One advantage
    that glider pilots have is we tend to be more aware of potential landing
    spots because we may need it fairly quickly. It's just on our mind more
    often.

    Thermalling a "traumahawk" with an idling engine is a fairly tall story although
    technically not impossible. "Good" lift for a glider would be 800-1000 per minute
    climb. That's basically air rising at 8-10 kts which is pretty light for that
    sort of airplane. So 10 kts of lift is about 1000 fpm. With the engine at idle
    what is the sink rate for the traumahawk?

    V.
     
  5. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    people always told me that a tail wheel pilot have good feet....now I'm hearing this from the glider bucket heads.

    Wonder what the rotor guys have to say on this? :D
     
  6. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Nothing. They all fly Caterpillar bulldozers. Bulldozers don't have rudders.
     
  7. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Some have a big assed tail hook though.:lol:
     
  8. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    I started in a champ, got my private in a champ. I then got about ten hours in a glider over a two three year period. Both are VERY adventagous. I think both are very very helpful in sorting out angle of attack, energy management, spins, on and on. When I started flying things like a mooney, bonanza, it was a non event, or getting checked out in a cessna 180. I was also very fortunate , early on, to have a WW2 vet, who had trained hundreds in a stearman and a T6 as an instructor. In the old champ he was amazing.
     
  9. airbrain

    airbrain Pre-Flight

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    I started on gliders and got as far as soloing. I'm about to finish my PPL in ASEL.

    I would say soaring accelerated my grasp of pitch controlling airspeed and substantially enriched my understanding of air currents particularly in mountain environments which I believe really valuable. As for whether I am a better power pilot, I'll just say that my CFI can tell I learned on gliders; My landing approaches are consistently way too high when it's windy, a habit I am working to break!

    I found, as others have remarked, that gliders are not cheaper at least during training because you spend a lot of time relaunching and landing and paying for tows. The savings only start once you get comfortable thermaling and have the conditions to do so. Furthermore, gliderports are typically a trek from home. They are located only in areas with particular geographic characteristics that promote soaring, one of which is apparently being away from built up areas where you likely live. Thus, there is cost in terms of travel time/expenses and your training will be more spread out over time.

    In all, I consider it great experience, even if not necessarily efficient.
     
  10. WhiskeyPapa

    WhiskeyPapa Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree. Gliders are easier to land than single engine planes. Even flying behind a tow plane is not that difficult with a little practice. Pattern work is a walk in the park. I'm not God's gift to aviation, but have no problem putting a glider exactly where I want it on the ground. Where gliding is more challenging than single engine is ridge soaring or using thermals to fly cross country. My mountain flying instructor mentioned that a high percentage of single engine pilots drop out after a flight or two with him--they just can't take getting that close to terrain.
     
  11. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

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    Why not ask Bob Hoover for his opinion?
     
  12. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky En-Route Gone West

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    When you are being towed, and you get slack in the tow rope, you have to push on rudder and GRADUALLY take the slack up with yaw so it doesnt all get taken up at once and snap the rope. There are a couple of other tow skills you need.

    You have to make sure you dont get below an altitude that you can make it back to the airport from otherwise you are going to be landing somewhere else.

    I found it a piece of cake to land a glider. Most have airbrakes or spoilers to make you come down steeper. Mine, you pulled on it like pulling the throttle back in a Piper Super Cub (a handle left of pilot on the side).

    ETC....
     
  13. TEFLONSEAN

    TEFLONSEAN Line Up and Wait

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    Do Any glider pilots make the "impossible turn"?
     
  14. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Every one that goes for the Commercial rating. Those low rope breaks are impressive to watch.
     
  15. airbrain

    airbrain Pre-Flight

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    In a glider, yes. We train it for rope break scenarios as long as you have 200ft or so of air under you. This is where low airspeed and sink rate are exploited as compared to motorcraft. But that is an equipment question rather than about pilot skills.
     
  16. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    Private, as well.

    It has different challenges in a glider, like getting down fast enough.
     
  17. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep, had a glider (CFI-glider, but can't remember if he was solo) cut loose from me at just about 200' for real when he felt something wasn't right. That was the only unintentional premature temination of tow that I was involved with. The system worked.
     
  18. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    Never flown one but from flying similar aircraft, maybe 650-750 fpm. Its possible in the right conditions. Inside a cumulus cloud is one, mountain wave is another. Not sure about thermals over flat ground (around here anyway)
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  19. Swede

    Swede Filing Flight Plan

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    I was ex-USAF. As a CAP cadet, I was able to solo a glider. Went to the USAF Academy in the early 1980's, and this minimal glider experience got me in as a soaring instructor. We had a core of experienced CFIG's that would teach basic soaring to cadets.

    Fast forward into jet pilot training... the USAF Air Training Command noted that the glider instructors did exceptionally well, usually finishing at the top of their class, or close, and ended up in a cherry assignment, usually fighters.

    It makes little sense... a Schweizer into a T-37 and T-38, but the statistics were solid. It wasn't a fluke observation. They thought a bit about using gliders more extensively in the very earliest primary phases, perhaps as ROTC cadets, etc, but little came of it.

    One other thing to consider... the Luftwaffe pilots in the 30's almost all came from gliders as youths, and that initial cadre of German pilots in WW2 was very good indeed. I do think gliders are an excellent way to train, especially since you can solo at only 14!
     
  20. Witmo

    Witmo Pattern Altitude

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    I've been towing gliders for a number of years and agree with Silvaire 100%…Glider experience is good but so is any type of flying. You do get a feel for energy management and the rudder but a sailplane is a way different animal than your typical spam can. A glider pilot doing a 180 at 200 feet in a Cessna won't be any more likely to get back to the runway than anyone else although he's probably capable of doing it in a glider.
     
  21. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    While that may very likely be true, the glider pilot is more likely to:
    a) get the nose down and maintain his best glide speed;
    b) turn (slightly, as needed) to the most promising available spot; and
    c) fly to the scene of the accident and crash/land with minimal energy, if nothing good is available.

    I have been flying power planes for many years, and gliders just very recently. When I was still pre-solo, my instructor (after reviewing with me the list of tasks we were to accomplish at 2,000' on the flight) wordlessly pulled the release handle at 300' to watch me deal with it. (Bear in mind that the training glider is only about 2x L/D than my single engine Cessna.) Nothing in power aircraft training (and I include all my autorotation training in Helis) prepares you to actually losing your "engine" at low altitude without a throttle you can push if you mess up.
    Before letting me loose on my first solo, my sneaky instructor, again after reviewing all our planned airwork at 2,000', secretly told the tow pilot to fake a malfunction just after takeoff, forcing me to release at around 600' and cope with that. I can imagine that getting a high dose of these unexpected events during glider training will make me a far better power pilot, if only because losing the engine wouldn't be such a shock, even if the power plane's glide ratio is worse. Of course in my case, comparing to the 4:1 L/D in the heli, my plane does seem like a glider. :)
     
  22. Swede

    Swede Filing Flight Plan

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    Ah yes, the fake "tow ship malfunction", which sometimes, isn't fake.:( We had a Super Cub tow ship lose power at 400' or so, and the first thing he did was dump us; not unexpected. Then you have to release the cable and hope it all goes behind you.

    The Cub cracked up straight ahead. Fortunately, the pilot walked away with nothing worse than some bloody scalp lacerations. He was very shook up, of course.

    Even a Schweizer 2-33 can do a 180 from 200' - 300' or so, if done correctly. If energy isn't properly managed, it can be very nasty indeed.

    I think beyond rudder/yaw issues, glider flying forces one to think constantly about energy. One of the hardest things to teach a new student was "Can we make it back to the field from here, at this altitude, and make a safe pattern and landing?" I'd ask that 10 times per flight, and when the student could consistently understand "It's time to go home now" and do it correctly, he'd solo very soon.

    We had a few ships limp back to a very low angling final with everyone who was watching had guts churning... those students got plenty of remedial training!
     
  23. weirdjim

    weirdjim Ejection Handle Pulled

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    You might want to ask the 737 pilot of the Gimli Glider or Sully on the Hudson that question. Both CFI-Gs.

    Jim
     
  24. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Still trying to figure out just what Sully did that was so amazing. I guess that's a different thread.
     
  25. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Has anyone before him (or after) ever landed a jet airliner on water with no fatalities and minimal injuries?

    Edit: except for this dubious incident: http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19630821-2
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
  26. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    But what did he do specifically that was spectacular? I realize he opted for the river instead of 42nd street, but...???
     
  27. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Now, Capt Haynes and crew.... They are true heros.
     
  28. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    It's an interesting question. Perhaps an answer is, "he didn't f**k it up worse than it was".

    I'm thinking about the 737 that crashed taking off out of National. There were all sorts of problems that put them in a bad situation including some frozen over engine sensors, inadequate deicing, slushy runway. They took off in a world of hurt, but all they didn't do is push the power levers forward when they realized they were descending. We may never have heard of the incident if they had but they f**ked up worse than it was. Colgan, Air France, etc. Things were bad but the crew f**ked up worse than it was.

    Sully's team got about as bad a draw as you can get; multiple bird hits taking out both engines over one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. We just got done talking about the 'impossible turn'. If you had 100+ souls on board getting back to an airport would be a strong temptation, I mean, there's no way we lost all power on 2 engines simultaneously, there must be something left to get us back to LGA or over to TEB. ATC has just cleared us to return (not that it means a damn thing but given the short straw, following their lead is a distraction if not a temptation).

    No, they just kept their heads on (unlike the Colgan rookies or the AirFrance pros) looked rationally at the situation and executed a ditch into an ice cold river. Piece of cake.

    You are right... nothing spectacular about it. Just plane good pilot sh*t. When faced with that much f**k up, may we all be as good. I know you would be just as I would, yes.
     
  29. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Exactly right. They kept their heads on straight and didn't screw it up. They also did nothing out of the ordinary.
    Three out of four times that will probably save your life.
     
  30. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nothing unique. He did his job. And I think that at least 95% (if not more) professional pilots would have achieved the exact same results.

    If you ever try to recreate that departure in the sim with the engine failure where it happened, the choice to put it down in the river was the only viable option available.
     
  31. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Ditching a jet airliner successfully is something that, except for that dubious Russian case I cited above, has never been done before. It requires a focused mind, nerves of steel, and just the right attitude and airspeed at touchdown, executing a maneuver that has never even been test-flown by anyone.
    Sure, all the Monday morning quarterback hangar-flyers will claim it's no big deal, they would have done the same or better, but my hat's off to the guy(s) that actually pulled it off for real.
     
  32. Erik1010

    Erik1010 Pre-Flight

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    Banner tow, aerobatic and crop dusters are pretty sharp as well.
     
  33. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There has been at least one other - Look up Ethiopian 961 (there's even a video).

    Only reason that airplane broke up was because the left engine snagged a submerged reef. Had Sully (or anyone else) hit something submerged, same thing would have happened.

    Sully did a fine job, but I do firmly believe that had he let the PF (Jeff Skiles) continue to fly the airplane IAW the CRM that Sully claims to be such an advocate for, the outcome would have been the same.

    FWIW, Al Haynes did the same thing, but later talked about how silly it was for him to automatically take the airplane from the FO.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  34. weirdjim

    weirdjim Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Well, both my thenwife and I were watching the video that afternoon. We are both CFI-Gs and we simultaneously turned one to the other and said, "That sumbitch is a glider pilot". Without any prompting. The way he touched it down just was a classic glider arrival. We looked up him in the database and sure enough, he taught gliders at the Air Force Academy.

    Jim
     
  35. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    I read a lot about energy management on this tread, (Rookie question, I know) but what is exactly meant by that and how do you manage energy?
     
  36. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    I guess we have a slightly different definition of "success". :)
     
  37. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's kind of like Sioux City. Considering what that captain had to work with, it was about as successful as it could be.
     
  38. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's about trading altitude for speed. And then you later trade airspeed to reduce vertical speed in order to make the smoothest landing possible.

    You also see it used in aerobatics. Many aerobatic maneuvers like loops, rolls...etc, begin with a descent to build up speed and then you pull up and trade that speed for energy to complete the maneuver.

    The British Airways 777 that had the power loss on final and landed short would be an example of not using energy management (captain held it on the edge of a stall all the way to the ground and had no residual speed left to flare).
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  39. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    An awareness of the aircraft's kinetic and potential energy and how to exchange between them smoothly to get the desired result.

    It would be easier to explain it through an example of bad energy management. Bad energy management would be ending up low on final, 10+ knots fast, and adding power "because I'm low".
     
  40. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    The Airbus is a fly by wire system. I doubt even Sully was overly aware of what it will fly like with dual engine failure. That means both Green, and Yellow hydraulics are gone. I'm assuming the Ram Air Turbine deployed, which would give hime some basic electricity, plus the Blue hydraulics. Point is, Blue hydraulics run enough flight controls to land safely, but I don't think it probably responds like it would on all three systems. I have not tried this, even in the sim. Point is, this may have been a brand new experience for him. Maybe not. It's possible he HAS done this in the sim. Pitch for a speed / AOA, and it's a mute point.