I bought a new sail for my glider last December. It really improved the handling and it improved stability at higher speeds. I thought it flew like a new glider. Unfortunately, over the last couple months the handling and stability seemed to deteriorate. I knew I had a bit of a left turn. Rob and Dave and Ken told me to make sure the glider was symmetrical before doing any other adjustments. Everything looked right but I had a few battens that ran out of adjustment so the sail tension was probably not symmetrical. Dave Aldridge helped me shorten all but about 4 of my battens and the next time I flew the roll pressure was less and the left turn was more pronounced, or at least more noticeable. So, following the advice of Dave and Ken I adjusted my tip wands to correct the turn. After that the glider flew really well, even better than when I got the new sail. I was very happy and thought I was set with a fine handling glider when Jonathan Dietch sent me an eMail asking what I was up to. In a follow up response he asked me if I knew about wax. Bingo. Before he answered I knew he was talking about waxing the tip wands. So, last Friday Jonathan and I flew Crestline and before we launched he helped me check the angle of my sprogs and put Zipper Ease wax on both ends of my tip wands. Turns out my inner sprogs were two turns (~3 degrees) too low. Frankly, I don’t think I noticed a difference in my glider performance from adjusting the sprogs. But the wax, the wax was the icing on the cake. It noticeably reduced the roll response time, especially roll reversal. From now on, I will keep Zipper Ease in my harness and will probably apply it every other weekend. Another tip that Jonathan gave me was to use the zipper ease on the keel to reduce the friction on the VG. While that certainly helped, it was overshadowed by the improved roll response. I guess I don’t really know what a brand new T2C feels like but right now mine feels great. So, here is what I learned and I hope it might help someone else:
- If you think your flying skills have taken a down turn, consider that it might be your glider tuning.
- Really, really, really pay attention to your batten tension. Follow the manual recommendations for setting the tension If your batten tips are already screwed in all the way, you can remove the tip, cut the batten and replace the tip. There are some important techniques to follow when cutting a batten so ask someone before you start.
- Check your glider to see if it has a turn. Because we always fly in mixing air one way to do this is to put it in a turn then let go of the control bar. I can only speak to my T2C but it will pretty much stay at that bank angle and maybe, just a little, gradually bank a little steeper. Most important, it does the exact same thing in both a left and right turn. You should consult with one of the WW guys (Rob or Ken or Dave or Alfredo) about how your glider should respond. Frankly, my glider response might not be exactly right but I’m so happy with the handling I probably won’t change anything.
- Lube your tip wands. They call these gliders flex wings for a reason. The sail needs to move freely and that includes tip rotation. I’m using Zipper Ease because that’s what Jonathan recommended and I think he worked this out with Dave Gibson, the comp and acro pilot from Utah who is also very meticulous about his gliders.
I hope you can forgive me for this long winded post but this tuning exercise over the past month has made a real difference in how my glider flies and even in how much fun I am having. Glider tuning matters and I hope this post might help someone else.