Typically there comes a time when a glider pilot moves on from sharing club aircraft with up and coming students and purchases their own glider, or at least part of one anyway.
Unfortunately for me the needs of my growing family has meant that this dream is on hold for at least another year while I fund a larger house...and perhaps a holiday.
In the meantime fellow club member Geoff Purcell has let me have an insurance share in his much underused ASW19 'DTE'. After organising insurance coverage I got my first chance to fly DTE this past weekend. First of all compared to an Astir it is a doddle to put together, two pins in the spars and the 5 control connections and your away. The cockpit is quite spacious and there is room for my 6' 210pound frame without to much problem, infact a slim parachute let me fit perfectly into the seat.
after we towed her out to the aero tow point I was a little anxious as I'd heard and seen stories of the 19 dropping a wing easily because of the low ground clearance and sloppy aileron control at slow speed. The first launch actually passed uneventfully and I only had to make sure I flew the aircraft on tow, due to the belly hook, rather than let it be towed behind the tug.
After release I slowed up in some weak wave that was present and was immediately impressed by how well the glider handled at slow speed, me being a fatty meant that I could just about hold 45kts with full rear trim in a straight line and the stick neutral. After loitering above 4000' for 20mins the wave collapsed and I started to head back to the airfield and approaching I could see that glider soaring above the town. I joined them and was pleasantly surprised that she would thermal hands off, albeit a little fast. After climbing away I tested Geoff's comment that she would fly straight hands off for several miles, and she does.
Some light wing overs and a nice circuit had me back on the ground with no bounce and no control confusion after being airborne for an hour and thirty minutes.
Lovely aircraft to fly and I am going to update the blog with our adventures over this coming season as we go looking for some gold.