Takeo77 wrote: ↑
Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:52 pm
...Anything you can do to reduce your workload in the landing phase you should do so you are ready to take on any problems you might encounter. 1' off the deck is no place to find out you can't get out of your harness or get upright.
Given your experience with powered GA flying, you are well aware of the requirements for absolute and quick control on final. Correct? You are not holding the yoke or control stick by it's lowest mechanical advantage positions, are you? Certainly not. Why do an approach on an HG while attempting to control your glider using a low-mechanical advantage hand position?
I have GA flying experience as well, but what we lack in HG flying (flexies) are a reasonably consistent CG, controllable moving surfaces, and powered propulsion. If while piloting a powered aircraft the pilot experiences a severe updraft, power can be applied for a go-around, or he can fully deploy flaps and dive it in with a slip if a go-around is not possible. In a sailplane, the pilot can deploy full flaps and down elevator, or fully deploy the Schempp-Hirth-style airbrakes, and slipping is beneficial as well.
HG pilots have two tools for turbulent LZ's, ok, three... Don't launch, or deploy the drogue, or pull the foocker in hard. The only method of giving yourself the most pitch control if you get thrown is to have the control bar well in hand and be in a position where the pilot's body does not interfere with the control bar. I've been in a few situations where I was very glad to be riding the control bar all the way into GE, and once firmly within GE, had little (no) problem with the hand transition. The glider is in it's most stable flight regime while within ground effect, so why not use that moment of maximum stability to best advantage?
I suppose it boils down to first: the pilot's comfort level with a 'late' transition, and second: the amount of practice a pilot is willing to put in to ensure accurate transitions. I have witnessed quite a few experienced pilots with truly sloppy and misplaced hand transitions, even at altitude, so I can understand their misgivings and unwillingness to explore the alternate possibility. I've also seen some rather beautiful, graceful approaches and landings in some very gnarly conditions. But that only occurs when the pilot is aggressive and in full contact with the CONTROL bar.
It's been my experience that previous experiences with other high-speed activities, such as closed-course and/or road motorcycle racing, motocross, speed-skating, etc, all where the athlete is very close to the ground at high speeds (especially if body parts are routinely in contact with ground or ice), can help to 'train out' a pilot's anxiety caused by high-speed proximity while approaching the ground and trains him for clearer thinking in fast-paced situations. Activities like these also trains a pilot to keep his eyes on the prize, rather than on his demise.
To my thinking, a pilot should do everything he/she can to maintain positive and instantaneous control in the event of turbulence on final. Everything that reduces control, i.e. hands on DT's in a fully upright position much above GE-altitude, is merely waiting to be thrown off the chosen glide slope. Being thrown off GS may not be such a big problem on approach into a large LZ, but we don't have that luxury most of the time. Perhaps you do?
To my recollection, no one ever mentioned keeping the legs in the harness on final, and why would a pilot not be able to maneuver to the upright position as the point of zero pitch moment approached?
But then here is a possible scenario.... a pilot's harness zipper snags and the velcro doesn't release. If the pilot is so accustomed to approaches while upright and hands up, not being at all familiar with an approach on the control bar, it's almost likely that the landing is not going to be spectator-approved. Perhaps worse.
Anyway, Thanks for all your ideas. I hope this conversations generates further thought.