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By Takeo77
#402630
I'm with Eric in this regard, I transition early (much earlier than my compatriots) because of one thing I learned from powered aviation:

When you are on your downwind leg you should be in the landing configuration. You don't see powered airplane pilots doing a lot of configuration changes (especially for complex airplanes) on final because of the vastly increased workload. Very experienced pilots can do a full, 180 degree power off approach, drop flaps and gear, set mixture, prop and check seat belts while setting up a perfect profile to landing... that's just too much to do for most people. In my case, as I turn base my gear is down and locked (i.e. out of the harness, legs free) hands up the uprights and I am totally focused on the approach path, rounding out and waiting for the bar pressure to fade away.

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.
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By DMarley
#402639
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. :thumbsup:
User avatar
By red
#402642
DMarley wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:46 pm
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.
Campers,

"Velcro doesn't release . . . " I would hope that nobody has ignored this hazard, this far. You can be pro-active on this issue. It's easy. Please click here:

viewtopic.php?p=356074#p356074
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User avatar
By DMarley
#402644
Thanks Red.
The point was primarily that anything can happen. Might as well have maximum control potential all the way into GE. And practice it on every approach.

I was hoping pilots who have done some XC and out-landings into any ol' postage-stamp-sized landing opportunity kind of experience to give their opinions and methods, and to add to remmoore's excellent advice:
Personally, I've long used one hand on the upright and one on the basetube for good approach control. I can fly fast, but I'm not fully prone. I take this hand position as I go into whatever landing approach I'm going to make, and don't move my second hand to the upright until I'm in ground effect and there's no more bar pressure.
RM
By the way, Rem, do you have any video examples?
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By remmoore
#402645
I don't do much vid, but I've got a few ground-based photos showing my landing posture. The first one show me semi-upright, but still on the basetube - it's moments before I bring my right hand up to the downtube. The timing on when I do this can vary on the location and conditions, but it's usually when I'm turning onto final.

The second photo shows me with my hands located where they will stay until I'm well into ground effect and the glider is back at trim speed - no real concern about making the final transition at that point.
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By remmoore
#402663
I guess it was a natural assumption, but “Mitchell” refers to the name of the LZ - Mitchell Canyon.

RM
User avatar
By Takeo77
#402668
"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 never run out of control authority on both down tubes even though I've flown in rough conditions. If I need more pull in than would otherwise normally be required I use reverse grip. In any case I've seen jacked up landing after landing by people who transition in the final seconds (even when there's no bar pressure), due to grabbing a wire instead of the downtube, getting a foot caught on the harness, missing the downtube with the hand, getting popped during the transition.

In airplanes, any issue that causes a destabilized approach is cause for a go around (a rule I apply regularly). Since we don't have the option, as few configuration changes as possible in the final seconds of an approach is called for. Good control authority is worthless when you are risking task saturation. If strength is an issue, then maybe the gym is a good place to improve one's technique.

If others can do it, that's great, they should stay with the method that suits them, but my current method suits me. The ONLY time I stay on the base bar and prone into the roundout is at Fort Funston, when the air is almost always smooth in the landing area.
User avatar
By Wonder Boy
#402687
Unzipp high. (leave some time to work on any possible zipper issue)
Rock up some
One hand up, one down till the bar pressure is much less and manageable.



User avatar
By EricH
#402755
There's a lot of talk about having a full tool box, but there's also a skill in knowing which, and being able to pull out the appropriate tool.
Yea, you could hang a picture with a 17" framing hammer, but there are advantages to using a little tapper.
The issue with practicing new tools with a hang glider is that you can make a dangerous situation in order to try and prepare for a dangerous situation.
User avatar
By DMarley
#402787
Thank you all for your insights.

This past Friday I had a nice little flight with some good ridge lift and gave me my first experience thermal soaring. After topping off in the ridge lift at 1000' over launch, I took off looking for some other play-toys. All I found were some punchy, tight, spring-time thermals I was not really accustomed to and lots of sink in between them, but had lots of fun trying to ride those tight columns. Some took me up by at least 1500 fpm. Falling out felt like going over the falls. Quite a few times. Bailed for the LZ when I figured I could easily make it in the kinda stiff winds (at 2500 agl), for the higher I climbed the more I was getting thrown around. What a wuss.

Wind was approximately 15-18 mph (NNW) on my Falcon-3/195 (~235 lbs hook in) and 2000' agl by the time I clawed my way over to the cozy-sized LZ, so had plenty of time to plan and set up for the approach. This was the first flight of this year, 152 days, 1 hr, 10 minutes (!) after my last flight, and first time flying this site.

The LZ is cozy, with an S-facing uphill landing for the NNW winds that would be flowing over trees at the top of the hill and then tumbling down the slope, with a tree line at the southern edge. I mostly boxed the field all the way down except for one attempt to try some figure 8's on the southern side, but got blown downwind too fast, so resorted back to the DBF mind-set with good timing. Mostly just a 'dBF' approach as the downwind leg was just below mach 1 while clawing upwind while flying the boxes took forever.

Began my dive on the base leg, with the control bar at mid-thigh position while over and paralleling the southern tree line, left hand on the bar, right pronated (reverse grip) on the DT. Then carved into final with the bar just above the knees so I could land as far downwind of the obvious rotor-generating stuff as possible.

Rotated at my target to toe-tapping altitude and a zoom up the hill. If it wasn't for a gust the took me up another eight or so feet, and then a mild brain-fart, the landing would have been perfect. Upon being thrown up, I grabbed the bar with the right hand and pulled in with both, then on the way back down I transitioned both hands lower than optimal on the DT's. But my energy was depleted, and my body position was most likely not upright enough. Tried to flare, but rolled it in. The vid shows the real truth... slightly harder than I remember.

Perhaps if I had set up on the DT's sooner, the landing may have been smoother. However, I was quite aware of the tall, upwind rotor generators, and wanted to land as far downwind in the LZ as possible, having to clear the tree tops in a dive. I do not believe I could have landed anywhere near as far downwind as I did if riding in on the DT's and would have possibly encountered heavy rotor otherwise. The gradient was quite severe as well. At ground level, the windsock (about five feet above ground, positioned roughly mid-field, was hanging limp, streamers barely moving as I was on approach, with the winds in the trees likely at 15 mph.

I can guess what you're thinking... shouldn't have launched in those winds. Earlier in the day, my friend launched on his smaller U2 with 15 - 20 mph winds and got tossed around some in the punchy conditions, with not the best penetration and little altitude gain over the ridge. I launched at 1730 hrs and the winds were much better suited for my ship at approximately 10 mph, reasonably steady, and it appeared that ridge lift was kinda sucky because a turkey vulture was flapping trying to stay up. So on launch, conditions look easy enough for at least a sled ride.

An imperfect landing is enough to spoil a whole flight. But still I had plenty of fun and learned a lot! Just not a great landing in a new-to-me LZ in some fun winds, after lot's of time off from flying. Weather conditions here have really sucked this past year.

Thanks for all your comments!
-doug
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