SAFA Skysailor Magazine

27 September | October 2020 SKY SAILOR system to get the wing flying, including: • • Controlling the glider’s angle of attack (AOA) during the walk, jog and run that builds up airspeed during a FSL, before attempting to have the wing support the full weight of the flying system. • • Maintaining a low AOA after your feet leave the ground during a CL that allows the airspeed to build up to a fast enough flying speed to support the full wing loading of the pilot when leaving the ground. Review and refresh: • • The importance of wire crew/launch assistant choices (i.e. experienced pilots) and briefings that include precisely what communications and actions are expected. • • Evaluation of wind, thermal cycle and turbulence before launching. • • The fact that it is always okay to back off launch and re-group, or ‘bag it’, if things don’t feel right. The mountain will be there tomorrow. Build/regain muscle memory of how to add energy to the system while controlling the wing, by actually doing it on flat ground in no or light wind (and more than once!). Video review of this practice is invaluable, as it is the best way to convey technique errors to pilots. Landing Everything said earlier about muscle memory, equipment and complexity on launch applies for landing as well. As we advance our flying experience, the wings we fly typically require more/different skills to control on touch down, and that’s not the only concern: At this stage of our more advanced development, the landing we make each day occurs after having spent hours in the air, perhaps suffering from dehydration and exhaustion and going into an LZ we don’t know, as happens in XC. Consider running a club landing clinic that covers the following. Discussion and video review of proper landing techniques, including: • • Airspeed control on approach, with emphasis on main- taining sufficient airspeed for good control, through the likely wind gradient and thermal/mechanical turbulence near the ground, before bleeding off that airspeed in ground effect to execute the touch down. • • Body/harness position transition techniques and glider control during approach. • • How to determine whether to run it out or flare the glider; this depends on the weather conditions (i.e. higher wind makes running it out preferable) and LZ characteristics (i.e. obstacles might require a strong flare technique). • • What to do at the last second, if it isn’t going well (i.e. let go, ball up and let the glider take it). • • Approach decision-making, including where to land more safely, with regard to obstacles (i.e. cars, tree lines, spectators). Repeat actual landing practice, using training hill or tow. Again, video review is the most effective way to convince pilots that perhaps their technique isn’t the best and help them accept the critique of their peers on what can be done to improve. In our sport, the most effective way to learn or improve is by the repetition of manoeuvres. Mt Borah launch