Updated: May 26, 2021
So the first Course I had to postpone due to weather, but with a bit of luck and light wind we managed to reschedule to the weekend after.
Six motivated pilots, all different levels from all corners of the world - Canary Islands, Colombia, UK and Australia!
And a last minute add on, a pilot from the previous course who wanted to improve his spirals.
Like always, we started the course on Thursday morning with the one to one interviews, followed by some theory on how to use your reserve and then straight into the first exercises, asymmetric and frontal collapses.
Starting with the simulator going through the exercises before flying, really just a perfect tool to teach each pilot how to do each exercise correctly before letting them loose in the air.
Paco arrived promptly briefing the group on the do's and don'ts when it comes to the winch.
And then finally the much anticipated first flight, standing on the bank of the lake, we decided to take off from one side and land on the other as the wind was light. First round was easy, the pilots climbed quickly and thanks to the abundance of thermals everywhere quite high which in turn gave the pilots the opportunity to take their time with the exercises. They were a bit scared, understandably never been dragged up by a winch, but after the first round they were all wanting more.
So first round done, we just started on the second run when the wind picked up and sadly only two pilots flew. So it was time to stop and head back to the classroom, after debrief we broke for lunch and some much needed RNR before starting on theory for day 2, rapid descent techniques, B riser stalls and spirals.
Day 2 Friday 8.30 am, straight away continuing with round two. Asymmetric and frontal collapses with full speed bar. These exercises are not for the faint hearted, but each pilot managed to follow my instructions safely. By round 3 the pilots were so pumped up on adrenaline they wanted more, next the B riser stall, which theoretically can be rather easy to simulate but you can be in trouble if you don't know how to do it correctly, and this happened to a few pilots. Too scared to release their risers fast enough, which is a common mistake the glider then parachutes and starts flying in the opposite direction. But not to worry that's the whole point of doing an S.I.V Course inst it!
It was time to hike up the intensity, next ...spirals. Having already done the pitch control exercises, it should be a natural progressing easing into the spirals. It is very important to know how to control the exit of the spiral, and this is where the pitch control is extremely important.
After teaching them all the different ways to exit the spiral, we then first attempted the easiest one, by exaggerating the pitch backward and forward, but we also attempted the most difficult way to exit, by simply dissipating the energy of the glider in some turns. The pilots all did great and definitely pushed themselves.
We finished a bit earlier and returned to base camp.. debrief, theory and lunch, then finished with some more theory ready for the last day.
Day 3, Saturday, same time, 8:30am start. The wind direction and speed was perfect. We continued working on improving the exit from the B Risers Stall and also did some Spirals, but then I started to introduce anti-collision maneuvers and the Stall. Round one already we saw the first reserve pulled and landing in the water, in fact with the first pilot of the round. A common mistake to make once he stalled his wing, he pulled his hand up too quickly and ended up with a cravat, then spiraled, at this point without the experience its very hard to regain control but the student managed to safely deploy his reserve and landed safely in the water with Paco and Alex patiently waiting with the rescue boat!
We kept going , next Pablo age 16 what a talented young pilot. First stall went perfectly, anti-collision maneuver both sides, perfect pitch control and landing. Not sure if it was the excitement of acing the exercise or the adrenaline of his "fight-or-flight" response kicking in but his hands were shaking!
What a fantastic group really, across all levels, ..including both male and female pilots, Pilar, a pilot who couldn't fly the first two days because work tried to fly at least three rounds on the last day... we had time, so we managed to do them all, incredible motivation! On one of her Spiral exercises she lost control for a moment, but with my radio assistance, she managed to still exit. After landing, she told me she did it on purpose to understand the limit - is it allowed for a guy to say "You go Girl"
Last round of the day, Javi all dry and ready to go again, now completely relaxed after his last flight, started on Spirals both sides and then anti -collision maneuvers, he aced it!
All in All it was another successful course, with a fantastic group of pilots. As an instructor at best you can hope for motivated pilots and this group had plenty of motivation, It was a pleasure guys!
That's it for me, next course in September, dates already published!