Thursday, May 20, 2010

Second day of towing practice and as I get early to the ranch, I could see that the wind was stronger than yesterday.

Using the very same equipment, I get in line for towing, once again adjusting to the fact that barely after I wake-up and I´m already strapping myself to an airplane and telling it to go!!

This tow goes very much like the reasonably succesfull tows of yesterday, but maybe I was a little better at keeping level with the tug. There was some shear action by the tree level altitude also. This is good to make me prepare for the rougher tows ahead of me, during the afternoons.

My problem seems to be still pulling in too much. Everytime I look the Dragonfly is already getting higher than me and I see the pilot signaling for me to climb.

One more time I am enjoying the feeling of throwing my glider around while I descend in the silky smooth air. This time though, the wind is so strong at altitude that I can park my glider at anypoint over the ground and even fly backwards if I slow down enough. I play this game for a while, trying to absorb the sensation of the wind drift as I maneuver over the ground features below.

After I land, Malcolm cancels the morning operations because the wind has increased too much.

Once again talking to the pilots they tell me I´m still fighting the tug way too much. I tell them that I don´t like it when I go faster than the tug and it seems that the rope gets loose, and I´m afraid I´m gonna stall. Finally Paul, one of the pilots, tells me "Dude, there´s no way you´re going to stall, I´m right there with this engine ready to pull you out, there´s no way you can catch me with your wing and let the line go loose. Just keep seeing the Dragonfly pilot´s face in the Dragonfly mirror and you´ll be ok!".

And the thing is, right there, as he said that, it simply dawned on me what I was doing wrong! It was weird to have to convince my mind of something in order to make my body automatically respond to the situation correctly, but that´s how it went with me.

I mean, hang-gliding is something that once you learn, you don´t think about the theory very much or at all, your body just reacts, you want to go left you go left, you want to go right you go right. While you´re towing that´s pretty much all you have to do, go left or go right, go up or go down. It´s just reactions. But my mind wasn´t letting my body react correctly. After I finally pictured my mistakes, thinking and rationalizing them, my body learned the lesson.

I guess some people are more like this, like having to rationalize in order to make it become automatic. Others seem to get the hang of things just by doing it. Some pilots are more rational, some are more instinctive.

On the afternoon Mike Barber was going to work with a student from Arizona, and I wanted to try my first tow on thermally conditions.

Having a better capacity of a

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