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First un-powered glider flight!

This weeknd I went up in a glider. My first un-powered flight, and it was an amazing experience! have done Grob / Vigilant years ago in the air cadets, but that has an engine!

This was at Husbands Bosworth gliding club, towed by a 'Supermunk', Chipmunk fitted with Lycoming engine similar to a Cessna.

The moment that the tow rope is disconnected and the Chipmunk goes off is quite something!

Flying it was a little different to powered in that the rudder is used a lot, and the most significant instrument is the piece pf wool taped to the canopy.

Landing- sitting in the front, my feet were only a few inches from the ground level, the nose wheel was under my knees. Heading toward the ground at circa 60kts, I realised I'd never been so close to blades of grass at such speed! It was quite thrilling!

Short video, the airfield is down to the right:

Cheers, Scott


  • Cool.... Scott I believe you that was a amazing feeling. But I would get agoraphobia I think.

  • Scott that's absolutely fantastic. What an experience.

    I've been wanting to do gliding for years but, as I think I said to those on FlightNight a couple of weeks ago, the local club round here makes it almost as expensive as half an hour in a Cessna.

    Did it feel like a more purer form of flying? I've always held glider pilots in high regard (when they aren't in the way of course) as there's no pushing the balls to the wall and using the prop to get out of any bad energy management.

  • Um... I mean Claustrophobia.

  • Yes, it's all about finding the right balance with every action... each turn causes increased drag, which result in loss of speed and/or altitude. The wing on the inside of the turn is of course travelling slower then the wing on the outside too, so has less lift too (just like powered flight).

    At times the glider started to go "wobbly" and unresponsive, then I was reminded to check my speed! Bit of speed improved control, but the only way to find that speed is with loss of altitude!

    With turns, the string on the canopy indicates if you need to put some rudder in to keep the airflow straight, while at the same time as with powered turns you are trying to keep the path of the nose just under the horizon - there's a lot going on!

    I was a bit "hand fisted" with the controls, next time it will be fingertips only and try to be more gentle. I found out you can pull al ot of G in tight turns, tighter than intended....

    The visibility is great from the blister canopy, and even though it was a low cloud day, there were a few breaks and we got to see quite a lot of local landmarks, mainly sites that used to be WW2 airfields, such as RAF Bruntingthorpe, RAF Bitteswell (now Magna Park), and RAF Market Harborough (now HMP Gartree). It's nice to note that the gliding club actually own Husbands Bosworth airfield, so there is little chance of it becoming warehouses or other nonsense like the others in the area.

    My parents gifted me this experience flight pre-covid, which of course stopped everything. It's taken till now to get round to booking it. After an experience flight they offer a month of free membership, so you can access members prices for flights, roughly £60 for a tow, or just over £10 for a winch, then about 50p per minute of flight time, so if you did a 10 minute flight from a winch launch, it would cost a little over £15! So needless to say, I think I need to make best use of this free membership month!

    Cheers, Scott

  • Eagle have you been in a Cessna 152?

    My first instructor was 6 foot 4 and not a small man, flying the 150/152 we basically had each others elbows on the other persons lap. Shoulder to shoulder was more than just a saying.

    Now THAT was claustrophobic

  • One other thing to note was not surprisingly how quiet is was with no engine... Really not a surprise, but somehow was when you noticed it... it added to the strange feeling of flying with no power and somehow by voodoo magic not dropping out of the sky!

    A little bit of whistle/wind noise, but overall very peaceful and calm.

    First flight I've had with no headset or helmet, able to talk to each other quite well just in the cockpit. It was quite a freeing/natural experience from that angle too.

    There is a microphone on a swan neck for using the radio, and a loudspeaker, but that's it as far as comms and intercom go!

  • Oh yeah I believe you, Alex OMG. I am 1.87 tall.

    I was in a Cessna 208 and it was OK I I' am not sure anymore.

  • Wow, cool stuff. On the Way driving Saturday to help my MIL, I pass a small airport Muscatine Municipal and there was a glider being towed up. There is a long bluff to the South of the airport and there seems to always be a rising thermal as I always have seen Vultures riding them all down the bluff.

    On my return trip and hour or so later I saw the glider turning and rising with a half a dozen big vultures all using the same thermal. It was pretty cool.


  • The ASK 21 has this drag robot functionality which can tow from anywhere too.

    It's in the aircraft's menu items in FG. So you just select the tow aircraft from

    the drag robot GUI, click create and click run and off you go.

    I've been recently trying to do some ASK 21 sounds but I think they still suck

    compared to the real one. Would need some decent recordings. But anyway,

    you can hear wind gusts with these sounds if there are any. This is where I'm

    currently at if you'd like to try.

  • So you basically just maintain the same bank angle as the tow aircraft and use the pedals

    to keep yourself behind the tow aircraft. When in a turn it's towards the outer wing of the

    tug. And when in the real thing, just keep the tires of the tug on the level of the horizon

    and the engine wash will go below you. But in the sim the pilot's point of view might be

    different though.

  • Wow Scott that's some interesting and cool stuff. I can only imagine how relaxing it is to be gliding quietly through the air and looking at some nice scenery. I'd love to try it someday.

  • I was a glider pilot and did about 9 years, gaining my Silver Certificate which allows you to start training to be a instructor.

    Aerotow is difficuit at first but excerises like boxing the tug where you decend to low tow position move across to either left or right of the tug then rise to the level of the tug then back to the middle (never above the tug as you would put the tug into a drive).

    Winching is also very frilling going nearly vertical (feels like it) no forward visability then suddenly you are rellease height.

  • 9 Oly

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