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Old Aug 30, 2012, 07:24 PM
Full Scale Piper Cub Driver
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Hinckley, Ohio
Joined Nov 2008
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Whoops!
Did Something Dumb… Plus I have a Question

Today was beautiful weather and I took a half day vacation. 100% blue skies, no clouds, 80F, and almost calm winds. I launched my E-Sensor 117 at 2 pm upwind to 1000 feet, cut motor and was surprised to find I was in sink. Did a search pattern per Thornburg’s Buzzard book and nothing. So I decided to high-tail it down wind. Plane was making a straight beeline at 800 feet when I noticed that my path was going to cross the sun. I’ve done this many times with fixed wing powered ships with no problem. Just close you eyes, tip your ball cap down, count to 3 and wella, the plane comes out the other side. Wow, big mistake with sailplanes at altitude and sun directly overhead. No plane showing up and I blinded myself looking at the sun. Started to panic and after about 30 seconds I saw the plane behind me at 300 feet and about a 500 feet out. I did catch a thermal and ended up seeing 1600 feet. So after coming clean with you guys, I have a question… Does anyone reverse their turn direction in a thermal (CW -> CCW)? I did this today with the thought that the reversing turn makes a figure 8 which is twice the width of a regular circle. This extra width allows me to explore how wide the thermal is. Is this a good strategy? Perhaps only at altitude where you might bail out anyway? Once you turn into the wing that is “lifted up” it’s kinda hard to core the thermal. Anyway, that’s my thought for the day…
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 07:38 PM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
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Thornburg says to always do at least one figure eight in lift to find out if one side near you is lifting better or not. I try to do that when I remember to do it and if I am high enough, at least a couple of pine trees high (maybe 150 ft).
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 08:01 PM
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Charlotte, NC
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Sorry that I am not a book learned flyer but I am all over a thermal. I swing wide, do 8's, reverse direction all in the search for the sweetspot, all depends on the height, strength, wind etc... never do two thermal the same way...
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 09:00 PM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan D View Post
Sorry that I am not a book learned flyer but I am all over a thermal. I swing wide, do 8's, reverse direction all in the search for the sweetspot, all depends on the height, strength, wind etc... never do two thermal the same way...
+1 Now this sounds like a great approach, especially since no two thermals are the same.
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 09:12 PM
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I have often done a figure eight, when trying to find a stronger part of the lift. If I'm low, and it appears I am going up on all sides of the thermal, I don't search too much, but if I'm in and out of lift in the circle, then by all means I will work at coring it up better!
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 09:23 PM
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Piper:

A figure-8 is perfectly fine - as long as there is no one else in the thermal. Polite flying usually requires you thermal the same direction as the highest guy in the thermal.

Like Evan, once climbing, I will explore all over a thermal, but always mind the others, and circle the same way they do.

Yours, Greg
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 09:34 PM
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United States, TX, Weatherford
Joined Nov 2002
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I never do figure 8s. The reversal of direction causes a much more draggy flight condition than just being in the coordinated turn, and takes too long. I widen my circle and see where the sailplane is going up the best. I concentrate on tightening the turn into that thermal core. If there are others in the thermal, all should circle the same direction as the first guy to enter it. Reversing directions is not good thermal etiquette... as Greg mentions above...
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 09:39 PM
Life-abstract=conformity
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Just hold your Tx up to block out the sun.
Skies
Jay
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 09:45 PM
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I concur with Schrederman. Using the controls more than you need to get where you're going uses up more height than you need to use. Just check which side of the circle is favored and shift the circle over.

I'll use a figure 8 once in a while, especially if I think maybe the thermal is rotating with me instead of opposite me. If it's rotating opposite, I go around the circle slower, so I don't need as much bank. But that's pretty subtle, usually, and maybe I'm fooling myself most of the time.
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 09:45 PM
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I'll often do a figure eight as a way to move my circle over if I've decided the lift is better on the side I just flown through.

Also, one time while flying power I took off and proceeded to fly right through the evening sun, blinding me. Fortunately I was standing next to a competent pilot. I pushed the transmitter into his hands and said "take it!". After a minute or so I was able to take it back.
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 06:07 AM
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Was taught this somewhere.

Closing one eye, while attempting to fly clear of the sun, has always worked for me. Open as soon as you have passed through the worst of it.
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 07:07 AM
the flying is good
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USA, CT, Hamden
Joined Oct 2002
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Opening up and tightening a circle for all or part of a revolution is a lot better than doing a figure 8 when looking to see the extents or find the core of a thermal.

If you're headed to the sun, well you don't have to go right through it! If you pass it by, your hat brim or transmitter can block the sun while never losing sight of the plane. Close one eye for the duration of the transit and you'll have a good eye when away from the sun.
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 08:20 PM
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United States, OK, Moore
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I've never done a figure 8 in that manner or for that reason, I've always done as others mentioned, widened the circle to find the strongest lift, and then adjust the next circles to stay in it.

But don't take my word for it, I've been doing this for 3 decades, and I still feel like a newbie a lot of the time!
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 03:19 PM
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San Diego area
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If you're headed to the sun, well you don't have to go right through it! If you pass it by, your hat brim or transmitter can block the sun while never losing sight of the plane. Close one eye for the duration of the transit and you'll have a good eye when away from the sun.[/QUOTE]

I always fly with "Extreme Glare Sunglasses" sold by www.zurichsunglasses.com.
I wear these over my regular dark glasses and they do a pretty amazing job of reducing glare. It is easier to fly closer to the sun.

Craig
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 03:47 PM
the flying is good
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USA, CT, Hamden
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I had a pair of sunglasses once that would allow me to fly right past the sun without even having to block the sun, squint, blink or anything, lately I've thought of getting another pair for bright clear days.
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