Observations and lessons learned:
- If in doubt, speak up. I thought the volume felt quiet even before takeoff, and should have double-checked that while still on the ground.
- Once I got used to it, and when I wasn't going into the clouds, towing was sort of fun – a slightly surreal experience that reminded me of my tandem-passenger experience with my brother (maybe because you don't have control over the direction, and so you're basically there for the ride like a passenger, when the boat is going straight?).
- For the types of wings that all of us had (beginner wings, A-s or B-s), that wing just wants to fly. It wants to recover from collapses, it wants to fly straight, and it can recover from just about anything, provided that you have enough ground clearance for it to do its thing. I feel like the SIV really reset my feeling for what bad turbulence is, and what my wing can handle. If there's one thing I learned this weekend, it's that – while its pilot is still a work in progress – my wing is rock solid!
- Spirals were intense, especially the first few times (and I'm glad I got to experience them twice before when flying tandem, once with my brother and once with Matty a few months ago). But they were also kind of fun. Apparently, you can remove some of that intensity by doing do a low-g spiral by collapsing the outside portion of the wing. In practice, I'm not sure I could tell the difference (but maybe I would after more revolutions – I was exiting my spirals after a max of 2 revolutions to not burn up too much altitude).
- The B-line stall was fun, and felt like doing a pullup on my wing. It felt very mellow. Full stalls, on the other hand, felt like chaos – the wing flapping like crazy overhead. Finding the backfly (tailslide) position was cool, but coming out of it symmetrically wasn't easy. Out of the dozen stalls that I did, on at least two instances I came out spinning, under no control whatsoever – and was basically relying on either the wing to do its thing or for Matty to tell me what to do. Spinning was super disorienting, and I considered throwing the reserve if the spinning wouldn't stop within a few seconds, though I thankfully regained control soon (not sure whether through my efforts or not).
- If I understood it correctly, the trick to doing it right is to release the backfly just a bit (and symmetrically!), while looking up at the wing. At that point the wing will surge forward. Then apply the brakes before the wing surges too far ahead, and again, make sure that everything is symmetric.
- If it's NOT symmetric, you can just re-stall the wing. A stall is a reset button after all, and will stop the spinning. By the time we talked about this after my run, it was time to start other maneuvers so I didn't have a chance to try it out.
- Along the same lines, something that wasn't obvious to me, but that another fellow classmate explained to me: if you're spinning, you want to apply brake to the outside to slow it down. I.e., if you're spinning to the right (clockwise), apply left brake to get that side to slow down, and you won't be spinning anymore! Again, didn't get a chance to practice it, but it seems obvious when put that way.
- If I understood correctly, the trick to avoiding the cravattes in the first place after a stall is to semi-aggressively pull the brakes after releasing the backfly (or at least to maintain good pressure?). Without enough pressure, the wing tips get tucked under and then require clearing.