Sunday, October 24, 2010


Being back in Florida it's impossible not to notice the vastly different flying we do here.  I've said a hundred times, the Florida lift is fat and oh so smooth...nothing but easy, fun, relaxed flying.  But that was definitely not the case over the summer.  Between Ager, Cucco and Laragne I had more than a few really bumpy days.  I was talking with Carl about the turbulence one day in Laragne, explaining that I went through one area near the Pique de Burr early in the flight that scared me so bad that all I could do was fly straight out to the valley and land.  He gave me this rather confused look and said "don't you know that the turbulence never lasts?  It might be really rough in a particular spot, but it's not that way everywhere, all the time!  If you just stick it out and deal with a little turbulence, then fly on to the next turnpoint and you'll likely find that it's back to smooth and comfortable again."  He couldn't understand why I would just give up on an entire flight because of one little spot of turbulence.

Writing these words now really makes me laugh because his advice applies to so many things in life.  I do have a hard time toughing it out through the turbulence and I tend to want to just get out of the air and get my feet on the ground again.

Telling this story to Maria over coffee this morning, she said "yeah, you can find the answer to any of life's problems in hang gliding."  ;-)


Hadewych said...

so incredibly true, hanggliding provides us with a language to learn lifes lessons. This one is especially valuable I think, so thanks

gordon said...

Turbulence doesn't matter unless you are going to hit something.

JackieB said...

Well, you toughed it out through law school, raising a child, building a career, and reaching a level of independence that most only dream about. I think you can cut yourself some slack for landing because you didn't like the turbulence. :) :) :)

I would agree with gordon's comment that turbulence isn't a concern as long as you aren't at risk of hitting anything or overstressing the airframe - in a conventional aircraft! I didn't mind it when flying a sailplane. Just tighten the belts down and enjoy the ride.

But a hangglider is a bit different now, isn't it? I started learning to fly them and wasn't too far into my training when I had to ask about two terms I'd never heard before - tuck and tumble. What's that mean? When I found out, the plot thickened.

Then, I started to learn a bit more and began to consider the physics of the fact that the CG is established by the pilot's body (I knew that) and is suspended by a flexible nylon strap (knew this as well), that MUST NOT BE UNWEIGHTED. Oh, that's interesting. I guess that is important now that I think of how an unweighted wing behaves.

So while I appreciate the point that sticking through difficult challenges is important because they are usually temporary and persistence is the key to success (no argument there), I'll go ahead and land if I feel like it. :) :)

gordon said...

If the glider is correctly designed and the user hasn't maladjusted it, then the glider is alright if the hang strap is slack, as long as its still moving forewards through the air.
-and as long as the pilot isn't banging into it to hard and in the wrong places.

JackieB said...

That's good to know, Gordon. I'm a very low-time pilot and probably won't ever fly anything more high performance than a Falcon, so I don't guess I have too much to worry about here anyway.

But I have to admit that when I first became interested in hang gliding as a licensed glider pilot and discovered what the terms "tuck" and "tumble" mean, that got my attention.

I was like "Excuse me? Could you explain that in a bit more detail, please? Because those two situations appear to me to be contraindicated from a medical standpoint." Hahahaha.

Gerrrrolf said...

God, how long is this terrible turbulence gonna last - I am already scared just reading about it all those last few month now ;-)

Jamie Shelden said...

Well I suppose it's a more widespread bit of turbulence that I first thought Gerolf! We'll see if I manage to get through it soon.