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Old 13th April 2011, 01:19   #1
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Default Gliding at Moissac, France

This may not fall into category of a travelogue or a test drive report. But let me go ahead and see if some tbhpians find this interesting. If I have to think about how to make this suitable to be part of TBHP forum, i would like to call this "elevated off roading"

Working in aerospace domain has its advantage and I have got chance to fly several times in powered glider, utility 2-seater and (not powered) glider. Last friday, I got a chance to fly with a veteran glider pilot who also is my boss.

we started for a small town called Moissac which is around 60kms from Toulouse in the north west direction. sunny and warm friday afternoons are definitely a treat for the glider pilots and there were many of them gathered at the CVVTG club. please don't ask for the expansion. its not relevant either. we reached at around 1:30pm and ahead of me was an exciting, fun filled and adrenaline releasing afternoon.

now, only pictures:

Here comes the glider tug - MIDOUR II. this aircraft was built by an aero club in france, named after a river, especially for the purpose of towing the gliders. this has a 4cylinder opposed piston Lycoming engine with 180hp.
Gliding at Moissac, France-1.jpg

the towing machine being towed by hand
Gliding at Moissac, France-2.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-3.jpg

Some views of the glider towing aircraft: For those who are interested, the details can be found on this page.
Gliding at Moissac, France-4.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-5.jpg

now, comes the silent bird. the good thing about the gliders is you can enjoy those heights with calmness. this glider is all composite 2 seat sailplane manufactured by a German company. the wing has low thickness to chord ratio and span of around 18m making it "eagle of the sky". the wing dihedral and T-shaped tail plane gives extra stability for a safe and comfortable flight. For tech specs and other details, see this page.
Gliding at Moissac, France-6.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-7.jpg

the direction to takeoff is generally decided by the wind flow. in general, takeoff is done against the wind and landing is with the wind. see that windsock in the background?
Gliding at Moissac, France-8.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-9.jpg

Now, time to help others get their gliders ready.
Gliding at Moissac, France-10.jpg

Last edited by unicorn_i20 : 13th April 2011 at 03:54.
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Old 13th April 2011, 03:29   #2
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Default Re: gliding at moissac, France

other gliders being towed out of the hangar:
Gliding at Moissac, France-11.jpg

closer look of MIDOUR
Gliding at Moissac, France-12.jpg

my boss giving some briefing:
Gliding at Moissac, France-13.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-14.jpg

time to get insured. everybody who flies need to be covered by insurance.
Gliding at Moissac, France-15.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-16.jpg

allright, now lets get started. the gliders or sailplane get their energy from the updraft of wind commonly known as "thermals". thermals can generally be found over the cities/town where human being like us would have created lots of heat through emissions, air conditioning, fuel burning etc etc. this cause atmospheric air to get hot and rise up. and this is what gliders look for. find a packet of air which is rising up. this updraft in air cause additional lift on the wings.

other location to find good updraft of air is near mountains. before taking off, to gauge the location of any thermal nearby, we looked for any flying eagles or kites. we could spot one which was flying very low which is not a good sign. anyways, we proceeded:
Gliding at Moissac, France-17.jpg

gliders being towed by a golf-cart:
Gliding at Moissac, France-18.jpg

while towing a glider, only one person is required to keep the wings leveled, and have to give yawing moment whenever required. while towing two gliders at the same time, the wingmen walk with different wings:
Gliding at Moissac, France-19.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-20.jpg
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Old 13th April 2011, 03:52   #3
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Default Re: gliding at moissac, France

continued...
Gliding at Moissac, France-21.jpg

thats my boss:
Gliding at Moissac, France-22.jpg

instrument cluster on G103 (glider): the most important instrument is the dial towards the top left corner which essentially gives strength of the updraft or downdraft. anything between +1m/s to +3m/s is good for glider to rise up.
Gliding at Moissac, France-27.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-28.jpg

thats my boss helping the first pilot to tow his glider:
Gliding at Moissac, France-31.jpg

first pilot taking off:
Gliding at Moissac, France-32.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-33.jpg
Gliding at Moissac, France-34.jpg

to be continued...
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Old 13th April 2011, 06:25   #4
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

Very interesting. The pics are great! So whats your role in this project?
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Old 13th April 2011, 07:14   #5
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

Was just looking at how to learn to fly and you post this. Great pictures man. Keep them coming
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Old 13th April 2011, 10:18   #6
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

errrr....AFAIK landing is also done against the wind direction. This results is lower ground speed and so shorter stopping distance. I need to stand corrected if gliders follow something different from air planes.

Looking forward to "glidelogue" instalments.
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Old 13th April 2011, 10:30   #7
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

Nice photos. Why is "Winter" written on the gauges seen in the cockpit of the gliders ? Is it to do with the settings during winter or something of the like ?
Also I can imagine what an exciting afternoon it must have been for you. How high did you go ? Did you land back at the same airfield that you took off from ?
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Old 13th April 2011, 11:27   #8
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

Woah, I never knew that gliders were such advanced machines! Thanks for the enlightenment unicorn. And of course the interesting pictures. Me feeling so excited to see the gliders in action.
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Old 13th April 2011, 15:48   #9
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

You are a lucky dude unicorn_i20. Whats the project vision? I see many type of Gliders here, whats the difference?
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Old 13th April 2011, 16:58   #10
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

Great snaps. you surely have given offroading a different dimension. Need to add one more to do activity. You surely are lucky.
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Old 14th April 2011, 00:36   #11
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
errrr....AFAIK landing is also done against the wind direction. This results is lower ground speed and so shorter stopping distance. I need to stand corrected if gliders follow something different from air planes.
yes, you are right! thanks for pointing it out.
while writing, i was confused in what direction we landed. but further insight will tell that the glider plane should have ability to dump the lift using spoilers/airbrakes or create extra drag using flaps, while landing. so that it can descend to ground. so without airbrakes or flaps, as is the case with some gliders, i would not try to land against strong winds or else there may be chances of overshooting the runway. the one i flew had airbrakes and wind wasnt strong, so we landed against the wind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ambivalent_98 View Post
Nice photos. Why is "Winter" written on the gauges seen in the cockpit of the gliders ? Is it to do with the settings during winter or something of the like ?
well, its the name of the manufacturer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjith.rajaram View Post
You are a lucky dude unicorn_i20. Whats the project vision? I see many type of Gliders here, whats the difference?
its not a project as such. this is just a hobby flying. the others including my boss are members of this flying club who also participate in cross-country gliding competitions.

there were several types of gliders in this club. i will try to explain some differences as i keep on posting the pics..
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Old 14th April 2011, 01:21   #12
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

the commonly ignored thing among the glider community is the towing cable.
It happened here as well. after getting everything ready for the takeoff, we realised that nobody has brought the towing cable. so, while somebody was bringing it, my boss gave a quick briefing.

before taking off, a visual inspection is performed mainly to see any major damage on the body. also to make sure that the pitot tube and other important sensors are not blocked. after sitting inside, we need to make sure that all the pilot controls are working. so, we checked the rudder, elevator, ailerons, spoilers, trim weights and canopy lock.

after all the necessary checks, fellow pilot leveled the wing and did to the MIDOUR pilot. and the run started. typically at 100kmph, the plane took off along with the glider. the plane took us to 500m above ground. the tow cable was released and we were on our own
but oh! the feeling. no sound, cool breeze and the feeling of weightlessness! to make this last long, we needed to find a thermal and gain some altitude. we loitered above the nearby town and slowly started rising up. we could reach up to 800m above ground and then we starting gliding like eagle.

after reaching this stable altitude, the controls were handed over to me. did couple of pull ups and reached around 2g. more fun is with pitching down that gives the feeling of light-weightness. but my personal favorite is "stall" that feels like free fall. after all this play, we had lost several 100meters and it was time to climb again. my boss took over the control and entered the thermal again. by this time, all the fellow members were also air-borne and it was fun to fly with so many gliders around. obviously, lots of care was required to avoid any collision.

i guess enough of writing, and i am not a writer who creates interest, so some pics:
Gliding at Moissac, France-52.jpg

Gliding at Moissac, France-54.jpg

Gliding at Moissac, France-55.jpg

do you spot another glider?
Gliding at Moissac, France-57.jpg

the red string seen in this picture gives the idea of sideslip. it being straight means we are getting most out of the forward speed
Gliding at Moissac, France-photo0168.jpg

600m above ground, 100kmph airspeed, 1m/s updraft. after a while, we could reach 900m
Gliding at Moissac, France-photo0174.jpg

Gliding at Moissac, France-photo0173.jpg

Gliding at Moissac, France-photo0177.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 15th April 2011 at 19:44. Reason: No more than 2 smileys a post please
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Old 14th April 2011, 07:47   #13
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

Unicorn,

Your thread is unique, gives us a good insight about gliders, esp. the towing cable.

Narrative and good ariel shots, thanks for sharing.
Regards,
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Old 14th April 2011, 12:24   #14
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

Unicorn, you are a lucky Dude! Thanks for sharing this.
I am sure this must have been a ride and half! Lovely pics indeed.
Any more updates coming?
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Old 14th April 2011, 13:36   #15
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Default Re: Gliding at Moissac, France

Wow..That's really a nice thread.. 5 stars for it. You had mentioned that you are a member of Flying club, do you need a pilot licence to do this flight or how does this work? I am sorry, I am a novice, so please don't mind if my question is silly. You are real lucky to do a flight by yourself..
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