Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dolphin Flight

In gliders it's called dolphin flight.

In rising air the craft is slowed;
it lingers in the lift.

In sinking air the speed's increased
to exit from the sink.

The craft arcs up then plunges down,
a dolphin playing in the waves.

The wing's finesse is sacrificed; finesse
is local, but essence is global.  The larger
picture wins.

Power corrupts the picture with the opposite

The power pilot, sinking, slows the craft.

The power pilot, climbing, adds more speed.

The power pilot lingers in the sink,
and exits from the lift.

At times this is the only course.

In clouds the craft must hold the altitude
strictly; a change of height raises the
spectre of colliding with a craft below.
Holding altitude wastes the essense the glider
pilot gleans from the movement of the air.

A collision robs the craft of all of its finesse.

But when flight is pure the need for stricture
disappears.  Essence is more important
than altitude.

Seeking essence, the power pilot
in rising air slows less than a glider might
but nonetheless allows the craft to climb.
In sinking air, allow the craft to sink.

Altitude is essence.

Every push or pull of the controls uses
essence.  More essence than an engineer can calculate:
the constant jerking angers, or worries, passengers.

The air's whims cannot pass unchecked.  If the
craft climbs too high the peril of hypoxia might
raise its euphoric head.

If the craft sinks too low there is the peril of the ground.

A small change brings on none of these
effects, so let the craft rise or sink a little
with the air.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What? No Government?

For the record: I sent my medical recertification data to the FAA the first week of August.  It was my usual obsessive-compulsive-A-student package with 27 glossy 8 by 10 photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back describing each.

My medical expired at the end of August.  Right now I am in the middle of an extended checkout of a new Mooney owner who is legal to be PIC so I don't need a medical.  (And, it's fun.)  But I will soon!

I have not even taken the disheartening step of calling the FAA to see if they are working on my medical.  I just assume the answer is no.  And I'm afraid that when the Washington Baboons get their act together and work resumes the FAA will decide to determine the length of the validity of my authorization based on when they got around to looking at the results, not on when I sent them.

The FBO at the glider port has a Cessna 162 for rent and it's starting to look pretty attractive...