photo Miroslav Černý
How I learned
to Ski in a Trenér
As winter sets in, with its temperatures around zero, shorter days and high
penetrating air moisture levels, activity around the aeroclub airfields slowly
winds down. Glider pilots don’t particularly feel like spending hours on the
ground waiting for their colleagues to finish their circuits around the airfield
or looking for the remnants of thermals in their frozen gliders. In that case,
there is not much work for tow aircraft as well. Towing is mostly conducted by the Trenér aircraft on Czech club airfields and “Trenér”, by the way,
translates to “Trainer” in English.
year. And after four years at that! We got the
news that KNX matriculated Trenér would be
so configured, and that anyone who wants to
either renew or gain their unofficial SKI certification, should sign up. Four years prior I hadn’t
yet flown the Trenér so this year I went into it
for the first time.
There’s No Flying like Flying…
The fun begins as described above. With waiting. I am not the only interested party in going up, and I am last in the queue. That doesn’t
bother me, as it gives me a chance to observe
and go over with the instructor the nuances of
skiing in this fashion. Naturally, I’ve read up on
the subject, but there’s nothing quite like talking with someone with firsthand experience.
Essentially, there are several routes to take,
how to fly with the skis installed, and there are
generally different procedures for each field,
because each one has its unique conditions.
For example, it may be possible to fly as in the
summer, up to a height of 300m and final approach at 120 km/h, with classic lining up and setting down in a three-point landing. Level flight
is limited to 160 km/h. But I won’t be doing that
for the sake of the engine. It is well below zero,
and the temperature gages of both the oil and
the cylinder heads hang around between green
and yellow areas. There is no intention, nor
need, to push the engine unnecessarily more
than required, thus avoiding future repair work.
I was reminded, in no uncertain terms, that
any throttle adjustments need to made fluidly,
photo Marek Mincberger
Even though the tow configured Trenér aircraft have less work in the winter months, pilots seldom take them out for pleasure flights.
They are not equipped with a heating system,
and they get colder than a witch’s heart. But,
that’s not always the case. There are reasons
for pilots to cross half the country to come to
fly the Trainer. They stand around for hours in
the cold, waiting for the opportunity to sit behind the controls for a half an hour. This comes
about as a function of the snow on the ground,
and when the detailed weather forecasts accurately predict the unlikelihood of the thirty or
so centimeters of it melting anytime soon.
Under these conditions, it becomes worthwhile
switching the Trainers from wheeled landing
gear to skis. This held true for our airfield this
by Marek Mincbergr
From the first shot, it may seem as though the view from the rear cockpit is excellent, but the angle of the view is from above head level. The actual view is better represented in
the second shot. The pilot in the rear cockpit usually sets his seat height such that he can just see the top row of instruments on the front panel. Otherwise, his head bounces off
the canopy. And now imagine that you still have the instructor sitting in front of you!
INFO Eduard - March 2021