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My First Glider

We don't have inked signatures on all the necessary paperwork quite yet, but when the proper forms have been filed, I'll be taking possession of my first glider; a BG-12-16, one of Gus Briegleb's evolutionary designs. For too many years, this little wood-framed ship has been sitting patiently in its trailer at Hemet-Ryan Airport in Southern California, waiting to know what the fates would hold for its future. Its fate was revealed when, along with all the other gliders in the flock based at Hemet-Ryan, the future recently arrived in a rush as orders to vacate the grounds were suddenly announced. Time to hit the road for one and all.

The BG's trailer needs a bit of attention before hitting the road. Both tires had been flat for a very long time. With enough air pumped into one of them to show the damaged, wrinkled sidewalls half-buried in the hardpack, it was obvious that two new were needed. Removing the wheels revealed that the trailer is equipped with electrically actuated drum brakes. Horrible noises arose from spinning the drums - - gobs of rust, dust and debris poured out onto the ground after removing the drums. Since I didn't anticipate rectifying brake problems this Saturday, I replaced the drums and temporarily remounted the newly-tired wheels. On the next trip to the airport I'll bring the tools and equipment needed to clean up the braking system and to repack the wheel bearing grease. Not sure if I'll bother hooking up the electric brakes at this time. I'll be pulling the trailer with my heavy old Chevy Tahoe and don't expect that the relative light weight of the trailer and glider will cause much fuss for the short distance I'll be moving it - - only about an hour away. If things get to the point where real cross-country jaunts are possible, the electric brakes would probably be a good thing to have available.

Of course the glider’s main tire is flat as can be and needs pumped up before the big move. I’m hoping that it will hold air long enough for the trip down the freeway. The tire could be replaced now, but time is getting short for getting things squared away.

Like most special-interest groups these days, there is an on-line community dedicated to the BG series of gliders at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BGsailplanes/ and there are some photos of the BG posted there. I'm hoping for some advice and guidance from the on-line folks, and I'll be joining my local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association to tap into that invaluable reservoir of information. I’d enjoy hearing from any other BG enthusiasts about their experiences, please feel free to drop a note to me: editor@ssa.org

Posted: 9/7/2009 By: Charles Coyne

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