Our plan is to fly on the big training hill in the morning, with Pat re-clearing for his first mountain flight. Then, we will go up to the office, Pat will complete the one remaining written test he hasn’t done yet and get the required chalk talk on his flight plan. Finally, we will each take a tandem flight to learn how to recognize our altitude in preparation for our first mountain launch. Then, we will return Sunday morning and Pat will fly off the mountain. I get nervous thinking about it.
While this plan all sounds grand, the weather forecast has not looked promising. I have been crossing my fingers that the predictions will be completely wrong. Here I am, up at 5:30AM on a Saturday morning, standing on our balcony with a cup of coffee. It feels like it’s close to 60 degrees. The wind is whipping up, although we’ve found the wind on our balcony is no predictor of the wind on the training hills. But the rain is holding off. The clouds even appear to be breaking up a bit. I decide maybe our plan will work after all and continue getting ready.
We start off on time–pulling out of the parking lot at 7:02AM. But as we make our way down the road, lightening appears in the sky. We drive to the hills anyway, arriving in time to watch the storm blow across the field. At least we didn’t set up any gliders.
Now it’s Sunday morning and it’s a rerun of Saturday. With one major difference–this time we have a new foster dog, Tisen, who will join us.
Today, the weather is semi-cooperative. I start learning how to make 90 degree turns. Pat, however, isn’t feeling well and, after his first flight, drives for me until I call it quits after an imperfect landing. I was coming in fast and hadn’t bled off enough speed when I started to flare the glider for the landing. This caused the glider to swoop up into the air. While this is scary, it’s not really dangerous because the glider will act as a parachute and set you down relatively gently as long as you lock out your arms. However, at the last second, I dropped my arms, causing me to impact the ground harder than I’d like. I also somehow managed to hit my knee with the control bar when I landed. Given that my knee was hurting before I decided to whack it with a control bar, it seemed like a good time to call it a day.
Pat, feeling better, got in two flights before the wind started getting crazy. We went up top for him to finish his test and get his chalk talk and discovered, at high altitude, there was no visibility and crazy winds. No tandem flight today, either.
But that’s OK. When it comes to learning to fly, I’m happy to wait for good weather.
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