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Last Week we looked at the weather forecast. Now to determine the best task for the day. This will depend on the weather, your schedule, your mood. However like any athlete you cannot take the easiest practice. You still have to have a plan to improve yourself. You improve by pushing yourself. If you never land out, you are not pushing hard enough. If you land out often, you are probably pushing too hard. But there will be days when your heart is not in it and a lazy romp around the sky is what interests you. I would try and alternate tasks between your flying days. Spending more emphasis on assigned tasks.

All Flying days

Remember that contest are won and lost on the weak days. I am not just saying this because I own the towplane, but you cannot improve if you are not flying. Be confident on the weak days. Many pilots only come out and fly on the good days. Then they are disappointed that they are not able to fly as far as others or do not fly as far as they think they should have been able to based on the forecast. This leads to a pessimistic view on the forecast when really it is just their inexperience.

Centering Practice

Work on our general flying. Coordination and centering practice should always be on our mind. We want to center faster than everyone else. We want to make that decision if we are going to keep the thermal or keep moving quickly. Along with that quick centering we want to have a clean efficient pull-up. We also want a clean and efficient thermal exit. Also leaving the thermal before the average drops to a predetermined strength, not focusing on maxing your height out as you did when you first soloed.

Thermal entry from cruise speed

Entering and centering a thermal is much more of an art when cruising at 80-90knts. So practice cruising faster at home, it is very rare that you should be cruising at best glide speed. So do not work on the Sky King award for duration and try and move around even if local. Practice centering. Climb up, then once you get to the top, leave and you could spoiler back down and re-enter the same thermal, center, climb, repeat. This is better practice than sitting at the top of the thermal and not moving.

Flight Computers

On every flight use a flight computer. Learn it, understand all of the menus. Do not wait until you are in a gaggle with 40 other gliders to figure out how to change a turnpoint. The flight computer should be second nature to you. That was one great thing about the ILEC SN10B remote, the pilots I flew with that had one could quickly twist their fingers and end up on the correct screen without looking at it. Make sure you have the information you want easily accessible.


Because you were motivated you were able to get some friends to come out and fly over the weekend with you. So practice thermalling with other gliders. The more the merrier, you might see a US Nationals with 40 gliders or a WGC with 100+, suddenly the 3 of you in one thermal isn’t so scary.

Work on out-climbing someone in a thermal. There is a way to do it right and a lot of ways to do it wrong. If you trade paint that is definitely the wrong way. You never want to go into a position where you are in someone’s blind spot or move them into yours. Cutting inside of someone when you cannot see them is not a good idea. If they pull just a little harder you might hit. You want them to be able to stay in their turn and you move around them.

They should not have to make evasive maneuvers when you are entering, exiting or passing them.


Banner Photo by Elisabeth Sophia Landsteiner


Contest ID Decals

Contest ID Decals

Sailplanes are required to have a unique Contest ID made of two or three letters/numbers when entering a competition. It’s typical for non-competing sailplanes also to have Contest ID. Normally 12″ characters are used on the vertical stabilizer and 24″ characters are placed under the right wing.  Identification is commonly placed on trailers, wing wheels, tow bars, rigging systems, and cars. We recommend Arial Bold type font for Contest ID’s.

FAA Requirements

The FAA has font requirements for “N Numbers”. See below. We print N Numbers with FAA font style.


Trig TA 50

Trig TA50 GPS Compact GPS Antenna

The space-saving antenna is perfect for gliders and light sport or experimental aircraft where mounting options are limited and space is tight. The TA50 GPS Antenna is small, easy to stow and built for aviation use. It has been developed to provide trouble-free operation with the TN72 GPS Position Source.

Use with Trig TN72

The TA50 comes complete with a secure and reliable QMA connector – this plugs straight into a TN72 GPS unit. Using a TA50 antenna and a TN72 together is a cost-effective way to turn your Trig Mode S transponder into an ADS–B Out device. Use the TA50 as part of your ADS–B solution to get all the benefits of greater visibility and safety.

The TA50 is an uncertified product, the TA70 certified GPS is best suited to Part 23 aircraft, where a conventional dorsal antenna is required.

  • Optimized for use with Trig GPS Position Source equipment
    • Lightweight and simple to install – plug and play
    • Weatherproof – allows external fixture
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.