Flying at the Coast,and a cautionary tale!

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Flying at the Coast,and a cautionary tale!

Post by Berzo » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:40 pm

Hi gang. good to see people getting out, and better to see folks getting in some ground handling practice when it's unflyable!
Just wanted to raise a couple of points.
1. Last Thursday I had the most unpleasant flight in my flying career so I thought I'd share what happened with you all. I inflated my glider without any problems and slowly made my way forwards and had a short 'feel' of the air. All seemed well, there was little movement in the wing, other than that gentle welcoming feeling of being drawn forwards into the airflow! I pushed two steps forwards and flew off, quickly turning left into the wind which was about 20 degrees off. My forward speed seemed too fast for the wind strength I was flying into ( about 18mph) and there was little lift, until I was plucked about 20 feet up, then within about ten metres dumped back down to below takeoff height. I had to turn sharply right to aviod hitting the slope though the controls seemed quite unresponsive,then as I tucked in again I climbed high enough to turn downwind. The downwind beat was no different and afer about 100 metres I turned into wind again to try and gain height into wind to enable me to top land. Again I was like a cork bobbing up and down with little or no control, with larger than usual inputs being needed to keep the wing above my head. ( At this time Suzie who was on the ground noticed grass, dust etc being whipped into the air and thrown around quite violently) I managed to get enough height to come in to top land, and although I had loads of height, the glider was reluctant to turn and I ended up coming in quite heavily and much quicker than expected, almost as if I had hit a pocket of sink! (at the same time as I landed, Sue said sea gulls who are as we know amazing fliers were being thrown all over the place). This was not Algodonales or the Kalahari but good old Bridlington!
So what can be learned from this? First, the Coast, as many have found out is not always a kind forgiving gentle place to fly. Second always make sure there is plenty of beach to make an emergency landing if necessary. ( on this occasion there was) Third, carefully monitor your airspeed and keep enough speed on to enable you to turn away from the cliff quickly if necessary. ( remember if you are flying with a lot of brake on don't 'bury' the outside brake to turn away from the cliff- you may cause a spin.- Instead let up on the brake on the side nearest the cliff and if necessary use weight shift too) .Lastly don't forget your plf and practice doing same!
With hindsight perhaps I should have made a beach landing myself.
Incidentally, although it was a bit off towards the East at Brid' that day, Several pilots were flying at Filey in a Southerly!

2. If there are a number of people ground handling anywhere in strong winds where there are members of the public nearby, always have someone downwind to politely warn passers by of danger if they're getting close. ( or temporarily stop the ground handling) And also to help to stop pilots being dragged if they lose control.

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