Select Page

TAT (Turn Area Task)

Last week I mentioned doing a timed task on your short day, however, you do not have to limit them to short days. As this is a timed task, you can use any length you want. Practicing every flight is what is important. On July 21st, 2006 at the US Open Class Nationals I failed to enter the area correctly because I was over-writing the task from the day before and not making a new task each day. That mistake took me right off of the podium and out of the team selection for that year. Part of the required practice is practicing the equipment, not just your stick and rudder skills.

The best task advisors make it a challenge, not just an all-out drag race in good air. Task yourself through a slow area, figure out how far you have to go into an area to get your timing right. If you are just going to the center of every turn you are making the tasking too easy and probably not utilizing the turn areas efficiently. Part of the challenge is figuring out where in the area to go. Manipulating the flight computer to represent that, adjusting your turnpoint to get a perfectly executed final glide.


Planning your last leg

Part of this timed task is not finishing under time. Anything under time is wasted time. Figure out what buffer you need or how to get your finish time perfect. Some people will default with 5 minutes overtime on the computer before heading home, you might figure out you need more and the conditions that require the change.


Finish Height

At George Lee’s camp, we would finish at 1000ft every day to build confidence in the numbers and MC settings. Finish to 1000ft, maybe 1005ft, but not 950ft, beautiful pull-up and know how much altitude you make back in the pull-up. That way as you drop your finish height you can feel confident with your final glides. Suddenly finishing at 50ft is not really that big of a deal. Once you finish at 1000ft, George Moffat talks about adding a twist to this exercise and climbing back out again to work on your low level saves.

If you are maximizing your day to get a long flight in you would be close to sunset, and your last thermal was the last bump you felt for the last hour. There are past posts on what MC setting to use, the focus here is to be very comfortable with it. Nail it each and every time. That way during a contest you are not trying anything new.


Get a group together and race

Take the Tony Smolder approach, set a task and get everyone to race. Being comfortable thermalling with other gliders is very important in contest flying. This is especially important in weak conditions. In weak conditions, it is traditionally slower to do it alone. A gaggle can search a larger swath of air and center quicker, there are also more eyes to look for signs of life. Many of the times on a weak day the ‘lone wolf’ gets stuck or lands out.

Banner photo by


Strong 303 Back parachute

The 303 Back parachute is recommended for use in aircraft where headroom is at a minimum and moving forward in the cockpit is not a problem. In many cases, by removing the back cushion of the seat pan, pilots may place the 303 Back in its place.

Parachute includes:

• Harness/Container
• Mid–Lite or 30 FT Conical Canopy
• Ripcord
• Lil Grabber Pilot Chute
• Carry Bag
• USB Manuals

Standard Color Options – Red, Black, Olive Drab, Royal Blue, Navy Blue.

Options include quick ejector snaps, Capewell riser, aero pad, sheepskin back pad, a lumbar support pad, g-pad cushion, and monogram.

Grosskinsky flap ring


Großkinsky Flap Ring

Optimum flap positions for different speed ranges change with takeoff weight. Until now, selecting the right flap position has involved using special tables carried on board or observing a confusingly large number of marks on the airspeed indicator. The Großkinsky Flap Ring for airspeed indicators makes these complicated methods things of the past.

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.