Cross Country Soaring
|Caracole Soaring is one of the few soaring sites that
offers cross-country flight training and rental ships for cross-country flying.
The desert is DIFFERENT from the rest of the settled and cultivated world. A pilot cannot land out in the native terrain and hope to do less than destroy the glider. It would be likely to suffer major injury from an outlanding in the brush.
Hence, our training curriculum requires that you demonstrate mental assessment of accurate location and calculation of glide performance to safe, known landing positions at all times. This training takes place in the AS-K 21 two-seater. You fly with an experienced X-C pilot and practice and demonstrate your skills at thermaling, navigation, performance calculation, and radio communications. You must also demonstrate accuracy landing skills in the rental aircraft (touch and stop in 500 ft. or less) without abuse to the glider. When your check pilot feels that you will maintain composure and responsibility, you are granted X-C solo privileges.
The use of data loggers in the training process offers post flight review of thermaling technique, course selection and glide performance. Often the post flight review is more beneficial than the cockpit time for thermal centering training!
Rental pilots are expected to carry current charts marked with our known safe landing fields. Some places are aero-retrievable, some are only trailer retrievable. Landing spots can vary in suitability from season to season, so we do not publish a list of these coordinates.
We do have a collection of photographs from prior flights that illustrate known sites in various seasons and from various ranges and azimuth to assist your ability to locate these sites while in flight. We often have a group of pilots coordinate a flight in our 182 along their intended badge course, to aid in landing site identification and bolster confidence during their soaring badge attempts.
While electronic nav-aids are a workload reducing factor, GPS does not absolve a pilot from a chart carrying requirement, nor from the responsibility to use pilotage.
They are all pleased with the benefits of this training opportunity. Learning X-C or contesting does not have to be a "buy it to fly it" proposition.
We train in aerobatic flying, either for pleasure or for situational awareness emergency-recovery training. The ASK-21s are fully aerobatic in positive maneuvers. Customers may demonstrate competence in any maneuvers to receive privileges to fly those maneuvers as PIC. Laminar mountain wave lift is a great place to train in aerobatics.