Choices, Choices . . .

Ah, the choices we make.  I was planning on spending Friday at the Indianapolis Air Show.  Then work happened.  And I’ve scheduled my commercial glider checkride for Tuesday and need to get the knowledge test out of the way later today (it’s the wee hours of Sunday) and fly my ass off in preparation for the ride.

So I’m obviously not in Indy.  The show was kind enough to transfer my credentials over to Lindsay Shipps, who, judging by the great shot above, has made good use of my hang tag.  She’s really a great media person.  Wish she could edit video, too!  Maybe she can.

Here’s where I spent my day. about 2.5 hours total.  We departed from KDET around 1030L.  Five miles out, John failed my engine and we turned back to KDET.  Don’t try this in an airplane.  But, in a glider (even one with a relatively crappy glide ratio of 19:1 if you scrape the bugs off of it), it’s eminently doable.  We turned the 2,000 feet AGL into the five miles or so back to the airport, including actually pulling the mix and stopping the prop just to make things interesting.

After that, John let me get as far as Troy (KVLL) before pulling the engine again.  This time prop-stopped at altitude.  Some serious S-turns (80 mph and 45 degrees back and forth) and we put it down silently on Rwy 27, then taxied back.  The engine functioned reasonably well to KPTK with pauses en route to circle my house and then go find a couple of John’s friends a few miles south at a coffee shop.

We headed in to KPTK and got eight or 10 trips around the pattern before pulling the TG-7A in to Flight 101 for some gas.  I then took over Don Weaver’s office while he and John wring out a C-172 getting ready for John’s private ASEL checkride next week.  I got to watch John and Don beat up the pattern on and off while studying for the knowledge test.

When they completed three hours in the aircraft, we got a quick dinner, then scrambled to the TG-7A to head back to KDET.  The TG-7A has no position or anticollision lights, so you have to have it down and out of the movement area before sunset.  We crossed over the line with a few minutes to spare after yet another engine-off precision landing.  I had taken the aircraft out around Troy so we could maintain altitude outside of the Detroit Bravo, so that meant really getting some airspeed on the way into KDET.  120-130 mph, which is well into the yellow arc of this aircraft.  Yet another part of the aircraft’s envelope.

So it’s back to the books.  I’ll let you know how the knowledge tests went.

About Steve Tupper

Stephen Force is the superhero alter ego of mild-mannered tech and aviation lawyer, commercial pilot (glider, with private privileges in ASEL, ASES, AMEL, IA, and DC-3 (SIC) type-rated), and Civil Air Patrol lieutenant colonel Steve Tupper. Steve writes, records, and brings you the inside story about everything that really matters in aviation. He's flown with the USAF Thunderbirds, he's and airshow performer and air boss, and he's one of only five pilots ever to earn a FAST card in the glider category. Follow Steve's ongoing quest to do all that is cool in aviation at or on Twitter as @StephenForce.


  1. If it helps at all, this NH fan KNOWS you will ace the check ride but will be holding a vigil on Tuesday anyhow!

  2. David Bruton says:

    Hope it went well. Do you plan Aerotow and or Winch endorsements? Just woundering.

    Best Regards,

  3. No present plans to add any additional glider endorsements. It’s all about the motor at the moment.

Speak Your Mind