Thursday, May 30, 2013

PW-5 Fying in Edmonton

After a long winter the Edmonton Soaring Club has started up and on Sunday, I managed to get down and do some flying.  I did my two annual check flights and then looked for a single seater to fly.  The PW-5 was sitting in the hangar and after giving it a good wash and ensuring the paperwork was complete I took off at 6:15pm.  It took me awhile to connect but once I did it was very enjoyable.  I had to accustom myself to the thermalling technique that it requires. The last time I had flown a PW-5 was in New Zealand but only ridge flying; the last thermalling flight was 2007 in Ontario.  The PW-5 has a small rudder so it can be difficult to roll into a thermal.  If a normal coordinated turn is used, the nose will turn only very slowly.  I found that using full rudder and keeping the ailerons neutral (to avoid aileron drag pulling the nose the other way) was the most effective way to initiate the turn.  A little bit of opposite aileron helped as well but not too much otherwise it got too unstable.  After staying pretty close in I landed just past 8pm as the day was starting to end.  Sunday OLC
Monday was forecasting thunderstorms with 60% probability but this is normal for a good soaring day in Edmonton.  I had not prepared for a cross-country flight and was scrambling in the morning to make a 5V power supply for my GPS.  I took off at noon, just after Bruce Friesen.  I did not find good lift right away and started from the airport below 3000ft AGL.  I then found my 5V power supply was not only not charging my GPS but discharging it quickly.  I unplugged it and kept the screen off for most of the day when I did not require it.  After that, I ran into a 5 knot thermal and had a great run east.  I had to stop short of the turnpoint I was planning because a large storm cell was heading northeastward toward me.  I did a bit of scrambling to the southwest and eventually headed north.  As I reached Two Hills I noticed the cell had been following me and there were no clouds behind me anymore.  After pushing a bit more to the north I decided to head home to make sure I got back before the weather crapped out.  My GPS was also very low on batteries.  Bruce kept flying for a couple more hours so there was definitely more soaring to be had.  300km is the longest flight I have done in a lower performance glider like the PW-5.  I had always wanted to do one in a SZD Junior at SOSA but never completed it.  Monday OLC