Soarcerer wrote: ↑
Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:39 pm
Last weekend I caught what to me was some big air - I zoomed-up over launch almost immediately after launching from our local mountain site. The problem is that the air was bumpy and it made me a bit nervous. I probably could have stayed up for an hour or longer, but after about 15 minutes I decided to land. I had a lot of trouble trying to descend, though, because thermals were popping over the landing zone. Again, the air was choppy and bumpy. I landed just fine but it felt like it took me forever.
So my question is...is turbulence and choppy air just something a new pilot gets used to the more he/she flies?
Short answer, Yes. You will even get good at flying in bumpy air, but flying in a lot of smooth air in the future will decrease your "bump tolerance" back to earlier levels. A good "bump tolerance" is even a safety factor of sorts, because you may (wisely) decide not to trust the thermally LZ at mid-day, and just fly the bumps at altitude, until things mellow out later. Never assume that you can hit a thermal at 75' (23m) AGL without very serious physical risk.
Ideally, for now, you should wait out the roughest air of the day on launch, then take off when you are able to fly in the bumps until the air gets more mellow in the evening. Then you won't need to deal with a radical LZ when you land. That judgment takes experience at the flying site, and hopefully there will be local HG pilots who can give you the right answers from their experience. Otherwise, just approach the issue on the cautious side; it's better to miss out on the bigger thermals of the day than to land in wild-and-crazy air because of fatigue (when you are least able to cope with the combination of bad air and
close to the dirt).
Unless you are flying close to terrain (in any direction) or other pilots, there is no real need to get tense and fight against every bump. Keep a decent grip, sure, but let your arms relax, and maybe the next bump will correct for the last bump.
Once you get bumped off course to some uncomfortable degree, then make a single big (relaxed) course correction, to correct for the last few bumps. I'd call this flying style "going with the flow," as long as you are keeping things reasonable. After some time in the bumps, you will know by the feel which bumps you can safely ignore, and which bumps will need instant corrections. When flying close to terrain or other pilots, then you should take a firm hand with the glider, and keep yourself out of trouble.