Wednesday, November 08, 2006

While Scott and I were in New South Wales, Australia in October we took one day to visit Southern Cross Gliding Club in Camden (south of Sydney). It's amazing how gliding clubs all over the world are all the same. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. We even ran into someone who had been to Sosa and taken a flight in our Puchaz in 2005!!

Scott took a flight in their DG1000 and I flew their Lark. The Lark isn't as glamorous but I had never flown one and may never get the chance again. It felt like a higher performance Blanik. I would definitely not recommend a Lark for Sosa. I found the control harmony unpleasant; you had to lead with the rudder just like the Twin Grob and the ailerons were extremely heavy.

Scott's comments, "Special thanks to everyone at Southern Cross, Bill Nixon in particular, for arranging this, it was a busy day with great soaring, you can imagine that there was a fair line up for the airplane.
Since SOSA is in the market for another 2 seater I was particularly keen
to compare the DG 1000 to the DG 505. Generally I found the two
airplanes very similar. Handling and performance were close enough that I had a hard time telling them apart. Advantages of the 1000 over the
505 include a simpler tail ballast system and slightly higher
performance (46:1 vs. 44:1). Another advantage is the way the 20m tips
are angled on the 1000. This moves the ground contact point into the same place as a 17m wing, reducing ground looping possibilities.

Disadvantages were confined to the tail wheel landing gear configuration; on the DG 1000 the lack of a nose wheel makes it a pretty big step up to either cockpit.
While it is a beautiful ship I can't recommend getting the DG1000 instead of another DG505. I didn't feel the tail ballast setup and performance increase justified the extra price, especially when it would mean adding an extra type to our fleet with all the subtle conversion issues that brings with it. That said, if we did get one everyone would love it (as long as we got a 3 wheel undercarriage!)."
Look at the attached picture of the DG1000...notice the guy hanging off the nose of the DG1000 so they can get the tail dolly off?

We also had the opportunity to fly a Super Ximango motor glider with one of their very generous members, Richard "the dentist" (everyone called him that so even I have forgotten his last name).

Thanks Richard for letting me do all the flying. I got the two hour scenic tour to Stanwell Park on the coast, flying south over Wollongong then heading west over Kangaroo Valley. We shut the engine off at that point and soared back north to Camden. I couldn't tell how strong the thermals really were because most pegged the vario (over 10kts)!!!

Then Scott took a shorter, one hour flight with Richard over the Blue Mountains. I hadn't realized just how hilly the east coast was! I had assumed all of Australia was like the outback, flat.
I must say that Australians are just as friendly as I expected. We'd definitely go back for a visit in a heart beat. Although the 14 hour flight from Los Angeles wasn't as bad as we expected the 14 hour time change when we got home wasn't something I would want to repeat too often.