I had instructed my son David in a number of soaring flights while he was in high school, and he soloed years ago, accomplishing a great 5.3 hour solo flight in the club's 1-26 early in his college years. His soaring opportunities had slowed while finishing college, getting a full-time job and moving from Washington state to California. In April 2006, I had the chance to get David re-acquainted with soaring when we both flew at Hemet, CA with the Orange County Soaring Association, which later merged into Cypress Soaring.
Although David had a great soaring re-introduction, I knew he was very involved in scuba diving instruction, and I didn't expect much more soaring involvement for awhile. However, without letting on, David joined OC Soaring in late summer, and set about getting soloed again and began working on his Private Pilot Glider certificate in earnest. David prepared well, and flew on a bunch of Wednesday mornings with OC Soaring instructor Mary Rust. He successfully achieved his Private Pilot license on December 22nd, 2006, as a special Christmas present. Needless to say, I was very pleased.
To celebrate David's new Private Pilot's license, I arranged with Lynn Weller to borrow his DG-1000 for a few flights when David visited over the Christmas holidays here in the Great Northwest. We lucked out with a beautiful sunny day with outstanding visibility, and got two enjoyable cruising flights along the Cascade foothills. David did very well on the takeoff, tow, cruising and getting to know the DG-1000's flight controls, plus flying two full patterns and landings. I also demoed a few Lazy 8s to show off the DG-1000's maneuvering capability.
Here's a description of flying the DG-1000 from David's perspective:
"Imagine you've been learning to drive (fly) in a minivan (Blanik L-13/L-23), spending lots of time with your parents (instructors) learning the ropes of driving (flying). Oh sure, you got to fly by yourself in the minivan (Blanik L-13/L-23) now and again, and your friend let you drive (fly) his old VW Bug (1-26). You even got to take a jaunt in a nice Lexus (Grob 103). Then imagine you're handed the keys to a beautiful Porsche 911 Turbo (DG-1000) and allowed to simply have fun with it!
That's about the best analogy I can give for my experience in the DG-1000, by far the best ship I've had the privilege to fly. The controls are so light and easy, the cockpit is very comfortable, the view from the front simply stunning, and the performance of the DG is absolutely breathtaking. The glide ratio just blew me away as we were able to easily make it back to the field from altitudes you'd never have a chance from in a plane like the L-13.
A big thanks to Lynn Weller for letting us borrow the plane for some Father/Son bonding, and thanks to my Dad for all the training and encouragement that helped me along the way to my Private rating!"