First off, I appreciate any and all the input, and I am sure other pilots do as well. The following arguments are only to spur further discussion and ideas.
Second, I'm keeping my eye on the XC pie and the probable impromptu out-landings, so I'm focused on developing those skills required to remain in good working order. I am not interested in pursuing a fishbowl pilot career. So please keep this in mind when I lean to the devil's advocate side.
EricH wrote: ↑
Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:53 pm
I teach my students to come in one up, one down as they get in stronger conditions, watch how she get the hang straps all the way parallel to the downtubes and even beyond. If you're landing in mild conditions having both hands on the downtubes is an advantage because you don't have to transition any hands, you can keep your hands low on the downtubes and just walk them up as you slow down as Lauren does.
The uphill LZ in which I have much of my landings at present provides only mild conditions during the later stages of glass-off or early in the morning. Other times it is a bumpy ride all the way in, with a probable chance of rotor and back-winding from either the hill or a group of trees if finding oneself low near the base of the hill with some cross or head winds (found heavy sink on final a few times, other times have bubbles lifting off). The easiest conditions here are with a quartering or trailing wind. I've found that for full control, it's best to transition the remaining hand from the control bar as late as possible, usually while 'zooming' up the hill face. To achieve an adequate amount of 'zoom-time ' up the hill requires a good dive prior to rotation, at least with the falcon. Yes, if conditions seem to be smooth and consistent, the transitions can occur sometime before the rotation. But even then, I'd rather not assume surface conditions are calm, and practicing quick, accurate timing with high-energy approaches in easy conditions is always the best time to teach and reinforce eye-motor timing compared to a relaxed, 'safer' approach. I'd rather burn it in with more than enough energy rather than taking a risk of not quite enough energy and flubbing it up.
There are other pilots (h2, h3's) that approach the hill more timidly, and rarely if ever achieve a spectator-approved landing.
There is a very experienced, very talented local pilot that is advocating new pilots come in with both hands on the basetube. One of the problems is that he flies high performance gliders, and single surface gliders that most of the new pilots are flying don't have near the energy retention making the hand transition difficult at best, and impossible at times. As someone else mentioned, I also like the triangulation of one up, one down.
I know that I will have a DS glider in my near future, so what better time to iron out the timing now rather than later. Plus, bringing the ship into GE on the control bar allows the pilot to be quite aggressive with inputs if conditions require. Why not practice for this in all conditions?
Robert takes it to the extreme, I prefer to only use that hand position up high because I want to be more upright near the ground. Belly landings aren't graceful or funny, they're very dangerous in my opinion. Leading with your most valuable, weakest part of your body, head and neck, instead of with your strongest muscles and biggest bones doesn't make sense.
The thing about being upright at a high AGL is that if you trigger bubble on final glide, there would be a much longer period of time for the transition from upright to more prone, throwing the pilot off glide slope more so than if already in a semi-prone posture. In a semi-prone posture, the pilot's waist does not interfere with the control bar being thrown back, and the pilot can thrust her body forward to where her thighs or knees are at the bar, if required. Much quicker reaction can occur. There have been multiple times when this has saved me from being thrown up off my glide slope, and likely over the ridge of the landing hill, down the other side and into the awaiting trees.
Belly landings are not the prescribed method of landing. Obviously. But just as in any other aspect of flying, it's better to have a bulging toolbox rather than relying on one or two basic tools to do the job. If proficient with each tool, gnarly looking or not, the pilot will get the job done without much adieu. Looking at Rob's example, I am presuming that due to the hiker being on his optimum final, he had to change to a non-optimum final, possibly directly downwind of the hill, and landed within a rotor.
A similar situation happened with a pilot landing seconds before me on the preferred landing area of a hill. I had to choose a different final, which put me in a boat-load of sink, and then rotor just as I was in rotation to climb and 'land' up the hill. With more experience and tools in this kind of situation, I would have not attempted a flare, but would have done what Robert did. I felt the back-wind even though I was coming in hot, but attempted the flare anyway, all to the detriment of a barely bent DT and a little grass staining on my harness. Lesson learned: if your airspeed drops unexpectedly and ground speed increases while very close to Terra-Firma, be aware of all your tools, and don't be apposed to a wheeled, belly landing.
I think every instructor and school should be using these invaluable tools, unfortunately there are none that have anywhere near the amount of video as my school (sorry for the brag;) https://www.youtube.com/user/BayAreaHG
It's also a resume of my students over the last 7 years. The first 19 years of my flying I videoed two of my flights, now with the smaller cameras I video almost every one of my flights, and every continuing student. GREAT way to learn!
I fully agree. I've learned much about my flying while viewing, reviewing, and frame-by-frame dissection of my vids, especially launch and landing sequences. There are only two landings that I missed reviewing because the camera went dead just before the approaches. One of them had to be my most 'intense' approach and landing sequence so far, into a very RLF.
Eric, you have an excellent methodology for teaching H2's. Thank you for your suggestions.