Thermaling

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Postby art » Tue May 31, 2005 11:42 am

Has anyone done much thermaling with the Lazair? How does she handle? Can you talk about your experiences? I'd really like to hear, especially from fellow Glider pilots,
and anyone else willing to share their experience. Thanks Art
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Postby rayjb60 » Tue May 31, 2005 3:05 pm

Im a glider pilot and noticed the following.

On my first 2 test flights in calm conditions I was flying with my paraglider vario and the bumps I felt and got confirmation from the Vario indicate 200fpm lift....almost instinctively I started to turn into the lift, but decided that it would be better to keep my test flights simple.

Its my opinion that the Lazair would thermal reasonably well, about as good as a Hang Glider.

The key will be restarting the engines......I made that a reliable event due to my CDI conversion.....although I cant say that I have tried yet.....but will as soon as Im feeling comfortable with all other aspects of my flying.

It needs more rudder in the turns than I have been giving it, so Im going to put a yaw string on her to help coordinate better.

I also reversed the little rudder coupling switch so the handle is on the left, so I can switch it easier in flight.

Ray
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Postby lazflyn » Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:35 am

Art,

I chased a hawk yesterday while thermaling. Great fun. The Lazair, with 36 feet of wing, loves to go up with the rising air...and you along with it! :D

I have seen plenty of days that I have to go to idle (with p-tips props slowly turning, which act like drag chutes), to be able to come down. Even at that it can take quite awhile. Can't hardly image a series I with Pioneer's, it would never land.

MarkDJ.
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Postby Shannon » Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:52 pm

Back in the early 90's a guy named Brad White apparently did a lot of thermaling. "According to him" here are some thermaling figures he claimed.

13,500 Engines at Idle
Distance 105 miles Engines at idle
Altitude gain 5,500' Engine off
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Postby Paul » Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:51 pm

Art

I have many hours flying engines off on the lazair and find it to be a very enjoyable and economical way to soar. Before I got into ultralights, I used to fly hang gliders and had a ball doing that. My longest flight was in Chattanooga Tennessee, 3 hours flight from the ramp being around 1300 feet above ground to my peak altitude gain being about 6000 feet. Being from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont, Canada, we have only a small group of hanglider pilots and we always had to use the buddy system to get out flying. I work shift work and weekends while everybody was straight days, weekends off. I grew tired of it and that's how I got started into flying ultralights. It might not seem to be pertinant to be talking about hangliding but this is where I got my soaring skills and knowledge about flying conditions. One thing that may help you is reading soaring books such as one that even though it's written for hanglider pilots, it still covers micrometeorology for all pilots called Flying Conditions by Dennis Pagen and the subtitle is micrometeorology for pilots. It explains thermal activity, how thermals drift with the wind, where to look for possible thermals, explains wind gradients and many other aspects of soaring in which the information can apply to very light aircrafts. I would suggest to read up on soaring and only progress to higher winds as your skill increases also. Many of my own soaring flights were with winds of 10 to gusting up to 20+miles/hour due to mid-day thermals and sometimes with vary stiff cross winds. At the airfield that I use, the wind was generally across the runway so I would actually land across the runway which is about 25 feet wide. When it comes to instruments, it would be to your advantage to purchase a variometre which tells you your rate of climb and descent. As you start to understand thermals,let's just say for example while your'e on a straight course you start to slightly turn left, this can be a possible clue that theres a thermal on your right so you turn right and then you actually feel the plane getting into the lift of the thermal and then you will be searching for the center of the thermal which has the highest climb rate and depending how windy it is, you'll have to drift downwind accordingly. There's also ridge lift you can soar if you have hill's over 250 feet or more. Again the book from Dennis Pagen explains all of that and the precaution you should know about. Landind during windy mid-day thermal activity was a little hairy at times and very challenging. You had to watch the windsock like a Hawk, and when you had a consistant wind direction you take that opportunity to land. The problem that I encountered after landing in windy conditions was getting the plane back to the tie downs, sometimes pulling the plane backwards and generally walking my plane back off the runway holding wind side wing down so as not to have the plane to go flying without me. Not all soaring days are windy in fact I had after supper flights during summer when the day starts to cool down and seems to release all the heat in the surrounding fields and parking lots and creates one huge mass of rising air. Theres a term for that in hang gliding lingo but I don't remember it. Anyways, to soar you generaly get into higher winds, and if you take it slow so as to learn new skills and limitations of yourself and your aircraft , you can do it safely with greater knowledge and understanding while reducing risks.
good luck and have fun learning

Paul
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Postby Chappy » Fri Jun 03, 2005 6:54 pm

The old Dennis Pagen books (Flying Conditions, 1976, Hang Gliding and Flying Skills, 1977, and Hang Gliding for Advanced Pilots, 1978) I believe have been superseded by his newer book called "Understanding the Sky", described as A Sport Pilot's Guide to Flying Conditions. He published it in 1992. I don't know know if the older books are still available new.

Nobody knows micrometeorology like Dennis! Even if you have no interest in power off, soaring flight, you really should read this book.

Dan Poynter published a good book call Hang Gliding, The Basic Handbook of Ultralight Flying (1973 through at least 1981) and Jack Lambie's Ultralight Airmanship (1982,1984). Good books, but not near as good as Pagen's, IMHO. The old books turn up at used book stores on a pretty regular basis. I've bought a pile over the years and given them to new flyers that were actually interested in learning something.

I just bought a new copy of Understanding the Sky for my daughter. She had her best flight to date last weekend, lasting 40 minutes from an airtow to 2500 feet. Made it to 5000 once. I suspect she will earn her Hang III this summer. She and a friend made their first trek to Grandfather Mountain two weeks ago, but the weather never cooperated with flyable conditions.

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Postby skypilot » Sat Oct 22, 2005 4:35 pm

Art, I have soared my series III many times if leaving the engines at high idle for buoyancy counts. Thermals have taken me up to where the air starts to feel clamy, then a little fog, then gray out. Cut power and dive. I have had a Red tail right under my wing about at the strut attach. I could see his eye. Then I saw something perhaps no one has ever seen. He lowered his landing gear and pooped. Raised the gear and peeled off. The only other thing I encountered in a thermal was a corn stalk leave. Has any one ever flown with a Makiki vario?
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Postby rayjb60 » Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:04 pm

Hahaaaa how funny......that hawk was trying to show you something, but I guess you could not duplicate his feat!

Interesting technique, I guess relaxing your muscles makes you gear go down....LOL

Either that or you scared him shitless.

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Ray
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Postby lazair3ca » Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:36 am

He was just dropping ballast! to improve his L/D :-)
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