This is the first post of “The Glider Chronicles” which I thought some flying nuts would be interested in. They will be documenting my training experiences and you will be able to see how well or badly I am doing. I plan to include the hoary details of the instructor comments as well, although I will not name them! To be honest they are extremely good at Lasham. Generally the cognoscenti there have either (a) written the book, (b) advised the government, or (c) have enough flying hours to cover at least 100 lifetimes of my flying experience!

However, we will start off with the past first, namely the halcyon year of 2009 when I actually got to fly solo in a glider! Note that although I may have what is called an NPPL (National Private Pilot’s Licence) to fly motor gliders this carries no weight (pun intended) when it comes to flying gliders.

Later posts will be on a per flying day basis. This is mainly a catch up post.

But first a pic of a busy launchpoint taken, if I remember rightly, on 28th October 2009 when we had the Lasham youth flyers.

A busy day at the launchpoint. (Click to enlarge)

More pics below.

Wed 19th Aug: Conditions: Gusting southerly. Blue. Inversion @ 3000’.
This was some of the first consistent glider flying I had done for 20 years. I still have the log book for that time. Yippee! So I am using the same logbook as when I started gliding in 1987.


  • Don’t forget Eventualities. CBSIFTCBE
  • [Pre-flight checks are: Controls; Ballast; Straps; Instruments; Flaps; Trim; Canopy; airBrakes; Eventualities]

    Winch Launch:

  • Get it onto the main wheel.
  • No need to pull back to get it to unstick.
  • At about 40’, with speed increasing through 50kts pull gently into climb.
  • Aerotow:

  • Keep above propwash on climb out otherwise it’s a fight. But not too high.
  • Demonstrated too high position.
  • Gentle movements.
  • Flying:

  • Speed control. Final turn: Fly looking front to get it well coordinated.
  • Don’t fixate on landing area otherwise speed control/coord goes.
  • Also wing is leaning into airfield due to fixation on landing area.
  • Trim to speed on downwind leg.
  • Don’t fiddle with airbrakes.
  • Instructor notes:

  • All flights improving. Speed control in flight okay – but speed control in circuit needs practice. Stalls and spins good. Circuit planning getting better. Don’t fiddle with brakes on approach. Boxing the wake good.
  • Sat 29th Aug 2009: Conditions: Gusting westerly. Good soaring.
    Still getting the hang of the winch launch at the moment. But managed to get some soaring in a thermal on this day.

    Winch launch:

  • Pull back on stick to more than 45deg if speed ok.
  • Don’t forget Eventualities. CBSIFTCBE
  • Circuit & Landings:

  • Pre-High key: Go through whatever checks you do. Don’t forget u/c.
  • Put approach speed on after low key.
  • Set brakes and hold setting unless undershooting.
  • Thermalling:

  • Lookout before turning
  • Tightening up on the lift is a good technique until more experienced.
  • Spin recovery:

  • To normal attitude to stop falling into another.
  • Instructor notes:

  • Strong wind conditions good soaring.
  • WHAT! What is a motorglider doing here! You may recognise this one from the header pic on this site.

    Grob 109 Motorglider for which I have a pilots license. Honest.

    Sat 5th Sep: Conditions: Gusting westerly.
    Some strong wind flying. Great fun. Also had to work my way around a landing jet at Lasham that had come in for a service.

    Winch launch:

  • Once airborne and speed ok, pull gently into fully back over 6secs.
  • AGAIN! Don’t forget Eventualities. CBSIFTCBE
  • Post launch checks are Trim set, Undercarriage up, Flaps set.
  • Circuit & Landings:

  • Pre-Landing checks: Wind/Water, Undercarriage, Landing area/Lookout, Flaps set, Straps secure.
  • Cable breaks: Get to approach speed after nose is down. (this day was 55kts)
  • Landing after jet movements: Jet takeoff: land short. Jet landing: land long.
  • Instructor notes:

  • Practiced cable breaks well flown first time
  • Sun 20th Sep: Conditions: Hazy, Light winds.
    MORE winch launch practice needed. By the way CBSA stands for Cable Break Straight Ahead, which is usually simulated by the instructor release the cable while you are in the 45degree climb! Good for negative G.

    Winch launch:

  • Don’t pull up too steeply on the initial climb.
  • Eventualities: In abbreviated circuit with some crosswind turn to downwind side.
  • Soaring:

  • Lookout before turning.
  • Don’t always need high bank angle. Glider not so efficient.
  • Circuit & Landing:

  • Put approach speed on downwind leg. 55kts even today in light winds.
  • Rounding out too early. Check view of attitude on the ground. Motorgliders sit higher.
  • Instructor notes:

  • Circuits, some soaring. 1 CBSA. Don’t pull up too fast on winch launch. Look out. General handling good. Needs cable breaks, stalling and spinning signed off.
  • Sat 26th Sep: Conditions: (unknown)
    Great! I got a chance to fly an aerotow.

    Instructor notes:

  • CBSA well flown. Aerotow boxing well controlled and generally very good.spinning exercises practised all okay.circuit without altimeter okay.if a little high.Suggest more cable break practice next.
  • Sat 10th Oct:Conditions: (unknown)

    Instructor notes 1:

  • Successfully did cable breaks, modified circuit. Circuits consistently a bit high. Next motor glider session to reinforce circuits.
  • Instructor notes 2:

  • 2 good circuits. Spin entry/spiral dive. No altimeter and power failure launch. Very good progress. Essentially the syllabus is complete.
  • Sun 18th Oct:Conditions: No wind.
    Now this was an interesting day. Absolutely NO wind. Which completely changed the way you have to plan your circuit. It is here where you find that modern gliders can fly for miles and miles.

    Instructor notes:

  • 3 good check flights. Calm wind conditions. Cleared for solo.
  • Observed first solo.
  • Good second solo.
  • Personal notes:

  • Completely different flying in nil wind conditions. Need to have space on final approach.

    A happy Charles waiting for a solo flight on a lovely day in October.

    Mon 26th Oct: Conditions: Strong winds.
    Had one of the instructors demonstrate sideslips which basically involve turning the aircraft into a flying brick by making it go sideways through the air. Once again – Great fun!

    Instructor notes:

  • 2 check flights. Good reaction to cable break. Good landings and was flying in stronger winds.
  • Personal notes:

  • Solo soaring flight 19 min.
  • Evening sideslip approach with instructor.
  • Tues 27th Oct: Conditions: Strong winds.

    Instructor notes:

  • Strong wind. 800 foot launch. Overcast cloudy.
  • Personal notes:

  • Evening solo calm air practice sideslip
  • Sat 28th Nov: Conditions: Light winds.

    Winch launch:

  • Put stick just forward of centre pos & it should fly itself off ground.
  • Aerotow:

  • Come out to left to waggle wings to say cannot release. So easier for pilot to see you since he is seated on left.
  • Instructor notes:

  • 3 flights well handled. Stalls, reduced G, spin off shallow and steep turns, CBSA.
  • A picture of the launchpoint taken on 28-Nov-2009.

    The Lasham Launchpoint Bus in all its Glory.

    Sat 12th Dec: Conditions: 15kts NE crosswind. Cold. Moist.
    Now the notable thing about this day was that the instructor was an accomplished competition pilot. And just in case you think this is all just for the boys, the instructor was a lady. Very good comments about needing to fly more coordinated and to be more exacting with the general handling. That is one of the things I love about Lasham. There are some real experts there.


  • Be more focussed.
  • Don’t get caught out low downwind.
  • Must fly more coordinated. Keep string nailed central.
  • Instructor notes:

  • Problem circuit. Don’t get caught out low downwind! Need to fly better coordinated. Modified circuit flown well.
  • Then after this good start in 2009, I didn’t fly at all in 2010. So the next Chronicle will be from 2011 which will bring us almost up to date.

    See ya…

    Comments welcome. Let me know what you think...

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s