Wednesday, August 26, 2009


My eyes got tired and watery as I searched the endless four letter combinations on Transport Canada database. Suddenly, the letters FLBY came up. Fly-by seemed to be such a fitting name for an aerobatic glider that I reserved it on a spot and just like that my future glider acquired its Canadian registration.

The glider I was buying (with my 50% partner) is called SZD 59 ACRO. What attracted me to it was the fact that it had two personalities. With the short wings (13.5m wingspan) it is capable of very serious aerobatics and with the wing extensions it is a capable cross country machine.

Winter and spring were spent waiting for our new glider to be built in Poland and dealing with some preliminary paperwork. The glider showed up on a field during Canadian Nationals, but paperwork to make it airworthy too another long six weeks. When it was finally ready for its maiden flight in August, the weather almost prevented us from going up.

It was the end of the Sunday and it rained on and off for most of the day, so there were very few people on the field. We stayed put waiting for a break in the weather. It finally came very late in the day and we rigged and towed the glider to the flight line.

My partner being more experienced than me was to do the first flight. He elected to go with the long wings configuration so we put the wingtips on. One of our aerobatic instructors was on a field and did the wing running, so that I could take pictures of the occasion. When my partner took off, the ceilings were still low, so he only got to 3,000 ft. He had a good flight and a picture perfect landing. And then it was my turn.

I decided to fly in the aerobatic configuration. As I got in the glider, I really did not know what to expect, but take off was not bad and ceiling got high enough that I managed to get to 5,000 ft. I released from tow and gingerly took the glider to the stall, spin and then did a few up and down lines to get the feeling for G-forces. It flew like nothing that I flew before, in a good way. I had a good landing and then my partner went off in again in the acro configuration.

And that was is for the day, although I did a lot more acro flights in it since. More on that later.

No comments: