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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brits Gliding Day. 17 Nov 2007

What is Piet panicking about !! (see picture below)

Take off on runway 20 and land on 02 - A runway is not a One way.

Safely back on mother earth after a thrilling flight.

Wow!! What a day and what an experience it was. On Friday we had high winds, thunder storms with hail, but on Saturday morning the sky was just about clear with little or no wind. A good day for just about any flying activity you can think of.

Chris Adrian, Pilot and Gliding instructor at The Brits Airfeild.

Samba - The Tug

On Wednesday I confirmed to Chris that the number of BERG pilots that were coming on Saturday would not be more than 10. This proved to be reasonably accurate as 9 BERG members turned up for this occasion.

Chris Adrian of the Brits gliding club requested us to be at the Brits flying field at round 11 am. We met the friendly members of the Brits Club and then started to prepare / inspect the 2 x Ka7 tandem trainer gliders for the days flying.

First thing we had to do was to wash the Gilders. Both the ka7 gliders are in the region of 45 years of service but they built them well those days and obviously are well maintained.

Evan and Piet washing the worthy of the sky old ladies (Ka7 Gliders)

Ilma about to go

Once done we pushed them to north end of the 900m tar runway and first off was Ilma in the blue and white Ka7. With Kurt and Chris already in the air, we were waiting for them to land as the Samba aircraft had to double up as tow air craft and in-between for those that wanted to fly the odd flip.

Then it was my turn in the cream and red Ka7, and Chris showed me how to do the pre-flight inspection and then we lined the glider up on the runway. I got in front and with the safety belts tested, we were ready to go. We waited for the tug to turn, hooked up and away we went.

The Samba tug pulled us smoothly along and just before the halfway mark the glider was airborne and a little later the Samba was in the air. Nice thing about the Brits airfield was that there are some lovely grass fields at the south end of the field should you have to abort the launch, but once we came out of the ground turbulence the Samba gained steady height. At 2000 the tug got into a thermal and It was just amazing how quickly the combination of tug and glider gained height when this happened. Chris dropped the tow at round 5600 ft and promptly turned back to relocate the monster thermal we just had.

As we got back into the lift the vario gave a nice kick up to +1.5 m/sec and I was surprised to see how narrow the boundaries of the thermal was. This kept on reoccurring for a while until Chris centered the thermal and then we had a steady climb of +2m/sec to 6500 ft. At this stage Chris gave me the controls which felt very light and responsive. The coordination between ruder and aileron is very important and will require quite some practice.
Chris then demonstrated a mild stall and then we bled off some height with steep turns and finally with the spoilers and then we were lined up on runway 02 for a perfect landing.
All together a 30 min flight of great pleasure, thanks Chris.

By this time some cloud activity blocked the sun and the rest of the afternoon not much lift was around.
Evan and Chris were up next but the conditions was not to good and they were down and landed shortly after the tug touched down. It later on became clear that my flight with Chris was the best of the day and that really is something I won't forget in a long time.

Where's that lift?

Len getting straped in for the ride.

Fortunately the weather held out and Blake, Russell, Mike and Len all got their flights in.
All too soon the day was over and with the Gliders safely back in the hanger we return to the club house for a braai.

Evan just before his flight

Young Blake - Back seat driving

As Evan and myself drove home we were treated to a beautiful sun set, ending off a great day’s flying and I am sure that we will be back again. For those BERG members that could not make it this time, stick around you will get your chance. So watch this space.

O yes, I nearly forget, thanks to Chris and the members of the Brits Gliding Club for a fantastic day. The canteen and ground support is also 5 star.

Piet R

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