Flying the latest Wills Wing T2C 144, round 2
Florida|Wills Wing T2C 144|Jeff Shapiro|Quest Air|sailplane|Wills Wing
,,Quest Air, Groveland, Florida, USA
On Thursday I had my second chance to fly the latest Wills Wing T2C-144. The winds were 14 mph out of the southeast, a perfect day for drifting down wind for 100 to 150 miles, but Greg Dinaur wanted to head upwind and stay local, and I thought that that would be good practice for upcoming competitions.
I was the first to tow up a little before 1 PM and and just south of the field I noticed that we were climbing pretty well but I couldn't hear anything from my 6030. I looked over and the vario dial was white, i.e. pegged. The averager was showing 1,300 fpm. I pinned off and climbed out to 4,500'. The vario sound was so high pitched that I didn't notice it squealing.
There was a cloud street heading to the southeast and since our task was to get to Wallaby and come back I headed out under it. Greg was being towed way below to the south south east to the west of my cloud street over the sunlit ground. I flew 7 kilometers under the cloud street without finding any lift until the end where I "hit" 100 fpm. Greg had continued south in the sunshine (blue hole), and finding nothing headed back toward Quest where he found 400 fpm just before getting there.
I really didn't want to go back downwind to get the good lift but I headed over to the west into the sunshine and found 400 fpm myself. What is it with this lift under the blue hole, but not under the clouds?
Greg and I worked our way south down highway 33 toward 474 intersection. The lift was broken and the winds were strong but we were able to push up against it and make our way along getting good lift at the sailplane port thermaling with numerous sailplanes.
The glider was flying great and I was pulling on the VG and letting it off often. It was so easy. I was treating the VG rope the same as I had when I was flying the Moyes Litespeed RS 3.5 in January in Australia. First figure out what speed I wanted to fly at and then set the VG rope at that setting (which set the bar position that didn't require any pushing or pulling from me to maintain the given speed).
Greg got nervous south of 474 and east of 33 (it's a long way over private lands to get to Wallaby in a head wind from there) and I said let's head back. I was at the intersection of 474 and 33 and was heading up 33 as I didn't want to get out over the Branson ranch.
I drifted back to more lift by the sailplane port and climbed to 4,000'. The 6030 said I had Quest made easily so I went on final glide. As I got closer to Quest and I was sure that I would make it I pulled on full VG (past the last stop as there is no "bumper" on this glider - it didn't come with one).
The glider flies at 45 mph at full VG with no input from me. But I pulled it in and got it going up to 55 mph, with my arms half cocked (forming a ninety degree angle at the elbows). I have never flown a glider that fast without straight arming the base tube. It got up to speed quickly and stayed there with minimal input from me. I would have straight armed the bar but there was a bit too much turbulence.
I played around a lot with the bar pulled in at full VG and the bar pressure was minimal. I see no reason yet (maybe never) to dial down the sprogs. The glider goes super fast with minimal effort from me. We'll see how fast I can get it going when there is minimal turbulence around.
I came back to Quest easily but Greg was down to 325 feet just east of the sailplane port. He hung in there and was drifting back toward home. He just kept hanging tough and finally was able to make it in.
This is the nicest T2C that I have flown. It has the stiffer leading edges which I didn't like the last time I tried them a couple of years ago and carbon fiber/Kevlar leading edge inserts. The 24:1 VG setup is the hot ticket. I love it (as I did on the Litespeed RS 3.5). It really encourages me to use the VG. Using the VG cuts down significantly on pilot fatigue. Just set the rope to the speed that you want. Then with very little bar pressure you can go to the highest speeds if you like.
Again I loved the landing. In T2C's I seem to have the habit of grabbing the base tube with my bare feet at about 20 feet AGL just as I rock up and pulling in hard with my toes. I can dive that baby in to a couple of feet off the ground, then push it out a little to coast across the ground. At the last moment I drop down and flare after a few seconds for a one stepper (bare foot). I'm tempted just to land it with my feet on the base bar for a modified slider.
You probably won't land this way, but it suits me. Maybe it's the Rotor harness (Jeff Shapiro has my Covert at the moment). I seems to me which ever way one lands, this glider makes it easy.