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How do you prepare for a takeoff? Just wiggle the rudder and as the wing starts to roll, fix it with aileron, when the spoilers open, close them?

Make sure you are doing the checklist in its entirety. As my Mom likes to say “giving lip service to your checklist.” As she enjoys pointing out, especially on the occasional gear up landing.

Spoilers are a control and should probably be included in the control check. On an SGS glider it is listed as Dive Brakes closed and locked. I always unlock, open fully, then close them. Why because it is embarrassing when the spoilers open on takeoff.  Worse then embarrassing is if you crash at the end of the airport because you could not climb.

I once had a ASW 20 behind me while towing in the Super Cub and we were a lot closer to the trees then I normally care to be. I was actually reaching for the handle because both of us were not going into the trees. But then we made it over and back into an open field where he eventually realized what was going on. This was after radio calls from the ground and visual signals from the towplane.

I have watched 2 new Schempp-Hirth owners not realize that the over center on the spoilers was much stronger then what they were used to. However if they would have opened and closed them it would have been obvious that they were not locked yet. So I always open them all the way open (to make sure I can get full travel) then close and lock and make sure that I get the pop of the over-center.

Many times when I am doing a flight review in the Grob 103 with someone with their own ship, they start with the stick most of the way forward and sometime after passing a normal lift-off speed they realize the nose is too low and we go launching into the air. So when I teach my students I don’t just say bring the stick aft of neutral in the SGS 2-33, but I ask where the nose is and where do they want it to be to lift off.

Same thing when doing a 1-26 and 1-36 (we have the taildragger version) checkout. We always talk about where do you want the nose, how to get there and then I pick up the tail to get the nose to where they are going to want it for lifting off. That way they have the elevator in the correct position to get the nose where they want it to fly. Back to the Grob, they normally are still waiting for some type of change, until the towplane is airborne and there is still no change happening…

Same thing goes with the ailerons. You know what is going to happen with the crosswind the upwind wing is going to get picked up, we know that from moving the glider around on the ground. So if we have a wing runner they can help us by holding the wing a little low, you can help them by not using full opposite aileron. That way when they let go you drop the downwind wing with force. Generally when the pilot is fighting against me my motivation level to run farther decreases at an exponential rate.

Many airports have Wind T’s or tetrahedrons so we know the concept of weathervaning. Few prepare for it until it starts yawing on them. This is very important to us because we do so many crosswind launches. Many times you will end up off the side of the runway if you let it start weathervaning on you.

Before you wiggle the rudder get the controls set to counteract the movement you know is going to happen and get the glider going in the direction that you want. Nobody wants to go off the edge of the runway…

Photo: Roberto Ruiz


GoJak® 4107™ Airplane Jack is the perfect tool for self loading smaller wheel assemblies primarily found on light aircraft. The extreme angle of the handle allows for maximum clearance from body parts and fender covers. Hand operation enables you to easily use directly under wings where pedal operation would be more difficult.

The Model 4107 can handle wheel weights up to 1025 pounds, tires ranging from 7½ to 22″ in diameter and width up to 7″ wide. The built in linear ratchet provides smooth and controlled lifting and lowering of tires. The unit uses four, 3″ double ball raceway casters.

Borgelt B400

The Borgelt B400 (Variometer with Audio and Averager) designed to replace mechanical variometers with modern technology with more useful features.

Built in audio, push button averager and unique to Borgelt Instruments, climb optimiser – green LED lights when vario is above 20 second running average reading – that is, average is getting better. You can select an audio change at this point also.

The B400 is available in both 57mm and 80mm sizes for easy installation in existing instrument holes and is only 85mm deep behind the panel including connectors (20mm shorter than the B40).

A standby power pack of 4 x AA alkaline batteries will provide at least 7-8 hours of operation in the event of main power systems failure.

A remote press button circuit or button in lower left enables the pilot to select the 20 second running average rate of climb at any time. The audio continues to function as a variometer during this time.

garret willat  Garret Willat holds a flight instructor rating with over 8000 hours in sailplanes. His parents have owned Sky Sailing Inc. since 1979. He started instructing the day after his 18th birthday. Since then, Garret has represented the US Junior team in 2003 and 2005. He graduated from Embry-Riddle with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Aeronautics. Garret represented the US Open Class team in 2008 and 2010 and the Club Class team in 2014. Garret has won 3 US National Championships.