Monday, June 11, 2007

And take the kite to heaven and back!

Well, not quite - but I took the kite up for a second time on Sunday to an eye watering launch from a new winch driver.
Normally the old crate rotates smoothly as I move through 45-50 Knots and I ease her into a steady climb, with best climb of 45 degrees and about 60 knots.
It is a process which is gentlemanly, serene and you carve your path skywards in an arc that would make Darcy Bussel smile.

Not this time.

Massive cable snatch and I'm doing 50 knots on the ground run.
She desperately pulls at me as I rotate. 65 Knots.
Main climb - 70knots and rising fast. Controls feeling heavy
300 feet - 80 knots - still accelerating. Now overspeed. Normal drill is to ease her forward to drop the torque on the engine. I do so - she accelerates to 90 knots.
Now on the edge of the safe envelope, wing struts physically groaning.
Sorry chaps, this won’t do at all.

Pull emergency cable break, nose forward to flying speed, the G load drops off completely and the detritus lying around the glider floats to the top of the canopy as for a brief moment the glider and I are in free fall - when the training kicks in - Approach speed, trim, look out, location - select safe field prep for rough landing.
Feels like 500 feet and not enough runway ahead. Glance at the altimeter confirms 500 feet, turn down wind, abbreviated circuit - to land short in diamond at the end of the grass run.
Turbulent approach, some curl over from the fields - but a gentle float and hold off and a short ground run.

All this in under a minute.

The recovery cart trundles over as I sit with the lid open, taking in the summer's afternoon.

'Bit robust was it?' said the dear girl on the cart.
'Somewhat - I think the winchie has had too many weetabix. I shall radio him in good time and feedback that it was a little brisk.'

On a lighter note - the Sultry Journalist got a bit of aviating in.

Remember - human life is split between those who fly, and those who wish they could.
Now you see why birds sing…?

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