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By bacrdek
#406301
Does anyone practice launch/landings at the training hill on a topless?

I've heard it's a bad idea. Not sure if it's worse than only practicing ~20-30 landings a year on XC flights.








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By TjW
#406302
bacrdek wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:10 pm
Does anyone practice launch/landings at the training hill on a topless?

I've heard it's a bad idea. Not sure if it's worse than only practicing ~20-30 landings a year on XC flights.
It would depend on the training hill. If you can get off and get high enough to get the speed required for a good landing, I don't see what the problem would be.
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By waltspoint
#406306
I've done that occasionally with my T2/T2C. The drawback is sheer exhaustion carrying it back up the hill. I probably wouln't do light-wind launches for fear of the glider getting ahead of me as I run down the shallow slope. But if the wind is >5mph, then sure. Mostly though I take my single-surface to the training hill so I can do lots of flights before I collapse, and try to do some landing practice with my T2C at the cliff. I've totaled about 100 flights (many very short of course) each year for the last few years and my launches and landings have improved. Not as good as I'd like though, sigh... I think practicing with a single surface at the training hill does help me when I'm flying my performance glider as well. Just going to the training hill a few times a year and flying whatever is a good idea IMHO. /jd
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By miraclepieco
#406307
Due to one's proximity to the ground and precise control required so close to terrain, training hills are the most exacting and demanding place you can fly, and the place most likely to have an accident. Why pilots assume that going to a training hill to practice is a good idea is beyond me. A high performance wing will only compound the dangers.
By USHPA7
#406311
I once witnessed the great Bob Wills blow a shallow dune launch at Cantamar MX, because he was so used to high mountain launches.

I use to spend about one day per month, away from flying the mountains, at little Norco (SoCal). Just playing around and getting in some launch / land practice on the fifty foot training hill.

Frank
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By red
#406312
miraclepieco wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:59 am
Due to one's proximity to the ground and precise control required so close to terrain, training hills are the most exacting and demanding place you can fly, and the place most likely to have an accident. Why pilots assume that going to a training hill to practice is a good idea is beyond me. A high performance wing will only compound the dangers.
Campers,

I agree, if hiking back up is required on the bunny hill. Fatigue is the real enemy, there; it can make you sloppy and weak, when compared to your best. If you fly the hot glider whether or not you will get a long flight, and frequently, then you should be okay. Flying only rarely, and/or only on good days, can be the start of problems relating to current skills. Stay current on your hot glider. If you have a fun glider also, do your practicing on that one in between times.
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By TjW
#406313
miraclepieco wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:59 am
Due to one's proximity to the ground and precise control required so close to terrain, training hills are the most exacting and demanding place you can fly, and the place most likely to have an accident. Why pilots assume that going to a training hill to practice is a good idea is beyond me. A high performance wing will only compound the dangers.
You could say pretty much the same thing about any landing.
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By DAVE 858
#406318
Stepping up in performance to a topless hang glider is an incremental process. I may get some flak for this, but if you are still going to the training hill, IMHO U are no where near prepared enough to be on that glider.

I think that practicing launching techniques & flare timing are really the only benefit of most training hill flights. I assume training hill means a hill that is less than 300' tall.

As to my first point. A topless wing has a huge speed range & takes skills and currency to fly the wing accurately and be precise in approaches. These are skills that should be more or less mastered on an intermediate glider before even considering a topless.

I also want to touch on currency. I feel like flying a very demanding wing requires currency. Stuff happens really really fast and if u are just a little bit behind the wing, its going to bite u sooner or later.

I quite frequently see many pilots who fly topless gliders who are not only not current, but also no where near prepared enough to be on that wing. I have seen things like belly landings, slow approaches nearing stall speed, inaccurate flare timing, broken metal etc... Another thing that drives me nuts is that the people who are having these problems don't do any XC or aerobatics. They fly around the local valley & land close to launch. U DONT NEED A TOPLESS WING TO DO THAT!

Personally I don't fly a topless wing. My goals in hang gliding are met with the 2 wings I do fly. Which brings me to my last point. If u are considering a new wing, please consider your goals in HG first & be honest with yourself.
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By waltspoint
#406319
For me, the training hill offers a lot of things:
1)Opportunity to get a lot of flights in one day, 10 to 18 if things go well
2)Lots of flare-timing practice
3)Flat-slope launch practice, running with the glider
4)Flying during the off-season, keeping current
5)Sharing the enthusiasm of new flyers
7)A good work-out!

I've been going to the training hill 5 or 6 days every year in the winter months for the last decade or so. I find it very worth-while. The points made about keeping current, choosing an appropriate glider for your flying goals, not getting in over your head, are of course all very correct. I thought the OP was already flying a topless and was asking if it was a good idea to augment his XC flying with some training hill days.

Thinking over my opinions, I guess I'd say that training hill days are a good idea but better spent with a sport/recreation glider than a performance glider. I don't take the view of one post above that training hills are dangerous and should be avoided. If you can get 100 XC flights in a year, that's best! But if you can only get 20 soaring days in (like myself) , then a few additional training-hill days can really help sharpening skills.

BTW, I'm lucky to have a really good training hill at Tres Pinos. It's 60' so not too hard to climb, and super consistent. There's a winch-tow from which you can land on top of the training hill, giving two flights for the price of one. Maybe not all training hills offer all this, which would change the equation.
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By mario
#406321
I think there are too many variables to answer this simply.
I’ll add to the above that I shouldn’t be worried about a training hill on my topless if I expect to be launching off high altitude launches that may even be flat with light winds, which I do. Put some wheels on and use a light harness if necessary. I don’t think that time on the training hill is ever wasted time, although I have never considered it that useful for helping landings - because it usually bypasses much of what makes an approach and landing on a topless glider challenging. Even running your glider on flat ground is useful.
I also strongly advise having people watch your non training hill take offs and landings in general so that they can let you know if you are starting a bad habit etc. Phone movies are easy to share in the LZ to help point things out. If someone tells you that you are consistently popping your nose on launch, then get to the training hill.
I think that if I were worried about flying my glider on the training hill, it would be a good sign that I’m flying a glider I should be worried about flying anywhere but the easiest coastal site - and that I better find an easier glider before I hurt myself.
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By entelin
#406324
This might be obvious to most people but one thing that helped me significantly is spending some time doing gentle stalls and flying and turning on the very edge of a stall while paying close attention to all the tells the glider is giving you. Vibrations, how sluggish the turning feels, bar position, sound and feel of the air, pitch authority, etc. When you consider that the final coasting phase of the landing is merely seconds long, it should be no surprise that flare timing is likely for most their weakest hanggliding related skill. Even 200 landings in a season only adds up to a handful of minutes worth of flare timing practice. While you wouldn't actually flare from altitude of course, at the very least it can give a good sense of when you are definitely too late, and being that the glider will give some fairly obvious cues before then, I think it's pretty useful, especially since there's no distractions like the ground racing by to distract you from learning what the glider is trying to teach.
By bacrdek
#406326
waltspoint wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:50 pm
For me, the training hill offers a lot of things:
1)Opportunity to get a lot of flights in one day, 10 to 18 if things go well
2)Lots of flare-timing practice
3)Flat-slope launch practice, running with the glider
4)Flying during the off-season, keeping current
5)Sharing the enthusiasm of new flyers
7)A good work-out!
My instincts exactly. However I've heard several times from more experienced pilots that it's too dangerous.
waltspoint wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:50 pm
I thought the OP was already flying a topless and was asking if it was a good idea to augment his XC flying with some training hill days.
Correct.
In general I'm looking for ways to get more practice without the full day commitment of XC, not counting soaring coastal flights where it's too easy. Practicing anything 20 times a year seems insufficient, e.g. hitting a baseball. Lots of good feedback here, thanks all.
waltspoint wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:50 pm
BTW, I'm lucky to have a really good training hill at Tres Pinos. It's 60' so not too hard to climb, and super consistent. There's a winch-tow from which you can land on top of the training hill, giving two flights for the price of one. Maybe not all training hills offer all this, which would change the equation.
Nice, that sounds ideal!
mario wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:47 pm
I don’t think that time on the training hill is ever wasted time, although I have never considered it that useful for helping landings - because it usually bypasses much of what makes an approach and landing on a topless glider challenging.
That's a great point I hadn't considered actually.
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By BubbleBoy
#406340
My goodness. If you think it's risky to launch and land your blade wing off a training hill, get off your blade wing until you're qualified to fly it.

Tune up's on the training hill are awesome valuable.

JB
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By LoganR
#406341
I break all my new wings in at Point of the Mountain (south side). As BubbleBoy said
"Tune up's on the training hill are awesome valuable." So if you can find a training hill where you can top land, and have a relatively safe launch even in the event of a mechanical failure. You can go from "I hope this works"* to loving life in a hurry; especially if you have a friend that'll bump your hang strap around or perform other tweaks for you.

*Pre-flight inspections are critical, but they don't catch 100% of problems on a new wing, or new configuration.
By USHPA7
#406343
The Puffin will be tested at Dockweiler Beach. A site with a long history of firsts flights of new designs. However, in the case of the Puffin, it is not intended for it to ever leave the training hills.

Frank C.
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By andylongvq
#406344
bacrdek wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:10 pm
Does anyone practice launch/landings at the training hill on a topless? I've heard it's a bad idea. Not sure if it's worse than only practicing ~20-30 landings a year on XC flights.
I've spent a lot of days at training hills with my flex wings after I've gotten some hours on them... including my topless Sensor which was my last flex wing before I started flying rigids. Mostly both the southwest and northwest training hills at Ed Levin, starting early in the morning so you can do no winder launches.

You can't believe the confidence doing this will give you in your launches and landings but it's not for the faint of heart. Standing there on a dinky little hill with it trickling in (or calm) and wondering if you can even get your topless glider off the ground before the bottom of the hill can be intimidating. But once you pull off your first flight you realize it's not that hard. You just have to run your ass off.

Even after a lot of hours on my topless Sensor, and one day at the training hill already, I went to Ed Levin and took Pat Denevan's launch and landing clinic. It was very helpful in further refining my technique. On Pat's suggestion, I arrived with a set of very large training wheels so you can just go to the nose after you land, pick the nose up some and push the glider all the way back up the hill. Way easier than carrying it.

Doing launches from the training hill at Ed Levin gave me the confidence to do a no winder from the Timberline launch at Hull Mountain on my topless Sensor on an east day where it was blowing lightly down at launch with pauses where it was completely calm. It was no big deal... but would have been had I not been doing no winders at the training hill. After barreling off launch, I turned right, hooked into a climb and beamed out to 13,000... while everyone else was stuck on launch.

Other than that, I second what WaltsPoint and BubbleBoy said.

- Andy

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