Cross Country Magazine Tuesday Tip

This week's tip is from 50 Ways to Fly Better, the new book from Bruce Goldsmith and friends.

Get the most out of your first wing before moving on

The pressure to move on to your next wing after a season or two can be quite high. However, unless you've really flown it a lot, hang on to it for a little while longer.

Ideally you shouldn’t move on from your first wing until you’ve perfected your launches, thermalled it to base, set off on your first cross countries and finally wrung the life out of it on an SIV course.

The reasoning is this: as a new pilot, your workload in the air is phenomenally high. You have so much to think about to stay safe.

During your first 200 hours, you’re looking to convert as much of that workload to intuition as possible, so the basics – ground-handling, glider control, thermalling and gliding efficiently and safely on speedbar – become second-nature.

This will allow you to free up some mental space to deal with decision-making, route-planning and so on – only then are you ready to fly a higher aspect wing.

Indeed, most pilots move on from their first wing far, far too quickly, sold on the empty promise of ‘better performance’, when in reality they would progress far quicker and become more natural pilots by flying their first wing to the absolute limit of their capabilities first.

Make the most of your first wing

Watch: Fifty Ways to Fly Better

Watch: Fifty Ways to Fly Better