The checks to be performed before every flight are defined by the acronym:
C B S I F T C B E
C – Controls. Check for full and free movement of the stick and rudders. Move all controls to the extremities of their movement individually and also together to ensure that the they are not snagging each other. You should also check that the control surfaces are moving in the correct sense – if you can’t see the surfaces from within the cockpit you can check before you get in or ask someone standing outside.
B – Ballast. Check that your weight and the weight of your instructor are both within the limits on the placard in the cockpit. Don’t forget that your parachute weights approximately 7Kg. The ballast check should also include a check for loose articles – make sure that there is nothing that that can move around in the cockpit and snag the controls or hit the canopy.
S – Straps. Make sure your straps are tight and secure and check that the instructor’s are too.
I – Instruments. Check that the battery is on and that the FLARM is working. Adjust the altimeter so that it is reading zero. Check that all the other instruments are reading as expected and that there is no broken glass.
F – Flaps. You won’t be learning to fly in a glider with flaps, but if you do ever fly a flapped glider this check ensure that you don’t forget to select the correct take-off setting.
T – Trim. Check that the trim control has full and free movement and set it for a landing speed appropriate for the glider and wind strength on the day.
C – Canopy. Check carefully that the canopy is securely locked and confirm with your instructor that the rear canopy is locked. Apply upward pressure to the canopy with your forearms to help check that it is secure, but never put your hands on the canopy.
B – Brakes. Open the air brakes. Look left and right and check that they are fully extended on both wings and moving freely. Shut and lock the brakes.
E – Eventualities. Consider what might go wrong during the launch and discuss the eventualities with your instructor:
- Wind speed and direction
- Firstly look at the windsock and the way in which the canopy string is blowing and familiarise yourself with the wind speed and direction.
- Choose a safe approach speed for the day.
- Choose in which direction you will turn if the launch fails and you cannot land straight ahead. This will normally be down wind.
- Wing drop on the ground run
- Think about any cross-wind and how it might cause a wing to drop on the ground run. You will keep your hand on the yellow cable release and release immediately if a wing drops and you can’t immediately pick it up with the aileron.
- Procedure if the launch fails during the climb
- You will keep your hand on the yellow release knob throughout the launch and if the launch fails you will immediately pull the knob to dump the cable and, at the same time, lower the nose to the recovery attitude (which is steeper than the normal approach attitude) and wait until you see your safe approach speed on the ASI. Then you will decide where to land.
- If you can safely land straight ahead that is what you will do.
- If you are too high to land straight ahead then you will turn in whichever direction you have decided and choose a safe location in which to land.