In the fall of 2003, Lynn Weller was anxiously awaiting the arrival of his new acquisition, a beautiful DG-1000 20-meter dual-place sailplane. I had previously checked out in Charlie Hayes' DG-1000 at South Lake Tahoe airport, and was ready to help Lynn as he brought the first DG-1000 to the Great Northwest.
On 29 November 2003, I had the pleasure of helping Lynn Weller assemble his DG-1000, and fly with him for the very first flight of N7760A in the United States. What an awesome sailplane! If you're familiar with driving off in a brand new car and enjoying that 'new car smell', it pales in comparison with being able to strap on brand new bird and take it aloft for its first flights. Lynn's DG-1000 is especially nice, since the workmanship and flight control harmony are so outstanding.
Lynn had previously flown once in a DG-1000, with Knut Kjenslie of Seminole-Lake Gliderport in Florida. We had both read through the DG-1000 flight manual in detail, and felt confident of the speeds and capability of the sailplane. For the first flights on this overcast but dry day, Lynn and I swapped front and back cockpit opportunities, giving us experience in both cockpits during our four checkout flights. I was amazed how smooth and balanced the flight controls felt, and how agile this sailplane was in turns, even with its 20-meter wingspan. Lynn and I checked out tow procedures and the DG seemed to just follow the towplane in its tracks. We checked out the correct rudder use to balance out adverse yaw, flew shallow and steep banked turns, straight ahead and turning stalls, slips at altitude, and then just reveled in cruising at a 47.5:1 glide ratio. The DG-1000 is an amazingly smooth and quiet ship, surprisingly agile in thermals. Pattern, glideslope control and landing are a breeze, especially with the very effective spoilers.
In the early summer, I got my next real taste of cross-country at Ephrata, after getting an awesome DG-1000 flight in Omarama, New Zealand.
A couple of sample Northwest DG-1000 flights:
Outstanding cross-country flight with Marty Gibbins, his first DG and first XC flights. Nice thermal right after tow release, climbed northwest past the duster strip, continued across the Moses Coulee to Badger Mountain, then west of Waterville. Flew with swallows at 10,500'. Continued north to Chelan, then east to Mansfield, caught boomer thermals to 13,700', nice cumulus markers, took photos of Steamboat Rock. Flew by Coulee City towards Wilson Creek, then on to Quincy. Demo'd three lazy 8's, then flew formation and thermals with the BESC L-23. Nice approach and landing, my first in the DG-1000 at Ephrata.
DG-1000 cross-country with Lynn Weller, over an hour of scratching between 3400' and 4000' in the Ephrata local area after an early takeoff. Finally caught a decent thermal to 6000', headed northwest. I worked a decent thermal to 8000' off a dust devil at the plateau duster strip. Lynn pressed NW, found a boomer thermal west of Wenatchee, Lynn worked it from 5500' to 10,300'. I flew on to Wenatchee while Lynn took photos of a relative's home, cruised all around the ridges to the east of Wenatchee, but found not a bit of lift. Worked the ridge for 20 minutes, finally had to land out at Wenatchee. Lynn took the landing on runway 25, with a nice rollout to the taxiway and into a parking slot right in front of the FedEx hangar.