Originally Posted by Jovanx
One of my favorite things to do with the Radian is to milk the ground effect for all it's worth. If the field is big enough, you can get it down to about 2 feet off the deck and still go an amazing distance before finally setting it onto the grass. My question is...does this still apply when the wind is blowing hard and the plane is hovering in one spot?
When the wind is blowing absolutely steady, it has no effect on rate of descent. However, keep in mind that when you are in ground effect you are very close to the ground which means that any wind will be affected by frictional ground forces and deflect off any discontinuity in the surface. This in turn causes turbulence, which negatively impacts the aircraft's performance, but it may also cause little updrafts which will tend to keep the plane aloft a bit. What I've found though is that these little updrafts generally hit one wing or the other which causes the plane to bob around which is not good if you are trying to get every last little bit of performance out of the plane.
I find that I get the best glide in this situation on absolutely still days. Then the plane seems to want to fly forever, even 12 inches off the ground. It's fun to do, unless you misjudge things a bit and find yourself heading for a fence, curb or pick-nick table, in which case you have to dump the nose real quick and pick up a little grass.