I started gliding through my family, and since solo I’ve been flying for 24 years now, amassing 3500hrs soaring experience. So many tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way, in this article I plan to share with you some random experiences and thoughts on them!
Clear your head
When it comes to going cross country, it really helps to have your head clear of any doubts, because then you are really able to focus on your flight and nothing else on the ground. Have you arranged a crew for the day? If not, then this should be done before you arrive at the airfield, but if that’s not possible, then on the day is okay, though get this out of the way early. You’ll also want to check the condition of the trailer, especially if it’s a club trailer. Finally, have you filled up the car with fuel? Friends don’t mind coming to pick you up from the field, but if they’ve got to put fuel in the car and chase down wing stands etc. before setting off, as you can imagine this isn’t ideal…
Build a new panel
This is always an exciting time, customising your panel. It took me three panels, hundreds of hours, & multiple gliders to get my panels perfectly aesthetically pleasing, and functioning exactly as I like. So don’t expect to get it right the first time, though what I would like to say is that it’s important to start building your panel around your favourite vario first, then moving to your flight computer, and finally with the legalities of ASI, altimeter, radio, etc. When thinking about where to place your chosen instruments, consider how you like to scan your instruments when cruising and climbing. If you can reduce your scan rate, this will improve safety and also your fatigue levels. When I race, because I’m right-eye dominant, I have my scan focused on the centre and right of my panel, with superfluous information located on the left side.
Outland on purpose!
The end of winter is approaching, you’ve been practising for your first summer of cross-country flying, though you’re a little nervous about your first real outlanding. You can feel that you are being too timid, that you are restricting yourself while flying because you are worried. These feelings are normal, I had them too. When you finally do your first outlanding, a huge relief comes over you, then you think, that wasn’t so bad, what was I worried about?! So what can you do to help yourself? Find someone else in your situation at your club and arrange a day that you help each other to fly the following exercise, then retrieve each other. First of all, read my previous outlanding articles (GET HIGH STAY HIGH, PADDOCK SELECTION, and OUTLANDINGS: DO’S AND DON’TS), then take a tow to 4000’agl and set off in a direction without thermalling & towards known fields. Don’t outland in the field where you did your outlanding check as this will defeat the purpose. By taking a 4000’ tow, you’ll be able to go through all the thoughts I describe in my previous articles. I hope you found some of these key small articles interesting and helpful, I enjoyed writing them for you. Source: ‚Adam Woolley in Wings & Wheels‚.