Special glider gear

I have had more people puke in the glider back in the first two years of my aviation career than all of my 18 years of flying helicopters. Maybe it was because I was new and my skills have since improved a little, but I think it’s more because gliders do get bounced around quite a bit. With the gigantic wings they pick up every little updraft (duh! That’s the idea!) and the sun beating down on the poor passenger through the bubble creating the “ant underneath the magnifying glass” effect isn’t really helping either I’m sure.
My brother, the artist, once filled up the bag in the back of my plane but got everything inside the bag at least. However he forgot to take the microphone out of the way. Good times …

When I tell people that helicopter flying is actually surprisingly smooth I often get asked the question “But not when you’re flying into a fire, right?” “That HAS to be pretty rough!”
I used to say “not really” and “you’d be surprised” but I have since learned that I just never noticed how rough fire flying can actually be because I was always too busy driving and working. Now that I am flying a in a multi-crew cockpit environment where I am not always the one driving I often think “holy moly, this is rough!” and “how come I’ve never noticed that before!”
It may also have something to do with the fact that this gigantic aircraft is not exactly known for being the smoothest machine in the fire world. It kinda feels like driving a gravel truck down a gravel road. It’s probably a good thing we don’t have any passenger to worry about while fighting fire.

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14 comments on “Special glider gear
  1. Speedsix says:

    [QUOTE] However he forgot to take the microphone out of the way. Good times …[/QUOTE]
    LOL! You really saved my day. 😀
    Let´s hope Chuck does everything right this time!

  2. Pep says:

    Helicopters are rough because they don’t actually fly. They just beat the air into submission:)

  3. mike says:

    Yeah, Speedsix, It was a mess! I think we ended up throwing the mike away because he got everything right in there and we weren’t able to clean it up without people still smelling it. (since it sits right under your nose ;-)…)

    And yes, Pep, maybe you’re on to something. The Crane sure does with the air whatever she wants. It’s cool to see contrails on the blade tips on moist days….

  4. Glider Dave says:

    Nearly 1600 glider rides given….12 bag fills, 0 bag misses. Here’s hoping that trend continues.

  5. mike says:

    HAHA! Good one Dave! Let’s hope so!

    Over the years I developed “an eye” for spotting a puker before hand!
    While I was giving the briefing I’d hand out the bags to the people I thought would need them. I was right about 90% the last few years I was still flying with passengers. 😉

    I remember one lady in particular. I took her on a wild horse and burrow survey and she did the nervous constant talking and loud laughing telling everybody how excited she was to go on her first helicopter ride. I gave her a bag and said “you should have this” to which she responded “no, I won’t need it! I’m too excited plus I never get sick!” . . .
    20 Minutes into the flight she got quiet all of a sudden, followed by asking 25 Minutes in “Say, how long did you say the flight was? 2 hours?” I told her, that it was still 2 hours and we really have no places to land either and to keep hanging on to the bag.
    It was full about 30 min in…..

  6. This guy says:

    In my experience most people get sick in gliders from the circling. Especially since flying a glider for the first time somehow makes people do the worst things imaginable, look at the ground in turns, tilt their head to their eyes level to the horizon, etc. Add to that the bumpiness in a thermal and you have a recipe for the “going quiet all of a sudden”. Followed by the sound dreaded by every glider pilot who has ever flown a newbie around.

    One of my fellow pilots at my club has had a severe case of “missed the bag” though. On final approach. In bumpy weather. All over the front inside of the canopy…

    That was most certainly not a good afternoon, as we all had to pitch in to get that plane cleaned properly. (The acid in puke does not mix well with instruments, barb-wire cages, canopy hinges, control rods, etc, etc)

  7. Albert Vermeule says:

    At my first lesson in a glider i was really early, but at the same time the glider from my teacher landed and i could trade places with the guy who still had about 45 minutes to go. To avoid the danger of having to puke he thought it was a good idea not ot eat that day till after his lesson, but to lack of food upsetted his stomach as much as being to full,

    He didn’t puke, but neihter did he feel very well , so i had my first lesson somewhat sooner while hij wen’t for a snack.

  8. Gregory says:

    Someone should note that all the big airline almost disasters, (the ones where the Pilot managed to save some or all of the passengers,) all had Glider experience before they studied to pilot the big jets. the two big notables in this case are the Gimli Glider and Captain Sully’s ditch in the Hudson.

  9. Mike Pine Tree says:

    Say Mike.. “have no places to land”?? What kind of helicopter were you flying??
    And here’s a truth about them:
    “Helicopter (hel-i-cop-ter [Hěl’i-kǒp’tər] n.
    Thousands of parts flying in close formation around an oil leak waiting for metal fatigue to set in.”

  10. mike says:

    I was flying an AStar, “Panaca Jane” actually.

    And yes, you’re probably referring to the fact that a helicopter can land almost anywhere in theory. However in reality it’s not always that simple. We were flying over almost all Nevada Wilderness in which no mechanized equipment is allowed in. (Skids can’t touch the ground. Not an FAA regulation, but a State and/or Fed regulation)
    In an emergency I wouldn’t care about that of course but some girl puking her guts out in the back seat didn’t warrant an emergency landing…
    We were actually supposed to do two flights but I left her behind at the airport we got fuel from. She had someone drive up there and get her. That’s how done she was. Poor girl…

    Love the helicopter definition. I have flown a few where this was especially true, HAHA!

  11. Awesome says:

    I got a free glider ride once. My old flight instructor does glider rides in the spring. He asked me to come down so I could get a free ride (and tell all my friends about it).

    The glider is an old Army trainer from the ’50’s. Pretty neat set of wings. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it is compared to a powered craft. The second thing I realized was how nervous I was to be in an aircraft with no engine. I mentioned this to my instructor (the pilot) and he gave me the stick and told me to try to stall the glider. Of course, I was unable to stall it, having never flown one before. After a couple of attempts, the pilot showed me how to stall a glider. I was NOT expecting free-fall and I almost needed new pants.

  12. Ken Glaze says:

    Ha, yes, this is true. I’m a glider tow pilot with 4100 tows and a lot of people get sick on their first ride. Gliders are very different from all other aircraft. I know of only one barf-bag miss during a ride; the ride pilot told me the passenger went really quiet and just as the pilot suggested picking up a bag, the passenger “projectiled” all across the canopy. Just like this cartoon, actually.

  13. Yawnitz says:

    If it makes you feel better, even Bob Hoover had to train himself out of his airsickness, if I remember right.

  14. krummy says:

    I took my girlfriend out for a nice fly-in steakk dinner. Then on the way home, I (without malice aforthought) showed her what zero G felt like. SHe filled two sacks that night. Bright girl still married me though. Go figure!

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