DALMD80
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Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 1:53 pm

Here's a dumb question for you. Is it possible that if there was a fire near an area where a glider was flying (assuming this glider has water ballast) the glider pilot, being a Good Samaritan, could fly over and drop his load of ballast, and (assuming the field was near by) get back to the field?
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 2:00 pm

Not a very big fire!

GF
 
DALMD80
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 2:05 pm

How much water does the average glider carry?
You can take the boy away from aviation, but you can't take aviation out of the boy.
 
bvp95
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 2:25 pm

Coming from a glider pilot: some newer sailplanes can carry in excess of 300 pounds of water.

I don’t see why it couldn’t potentially happen, but doesn’t seem very practical or likely to help much. To get low enough to really be accurate, you would need to be really fast to get enough altitude back. So maybe if it was at the airport where you were landing. Or stay higher and not be accurate. But then again, the water does not come out very fast at all, so your water load would be stretched out over a pretty large distance
 
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Aesma
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 2:49 pm

If you drop from too high, the water simply evaporates so nothing will get to the fire.

A glider not being a water bomber, and you not being a water bomber pilot, I doubt you'd manage to drop it on the fire even diving into it.

Also if it's the wrong kind of fire water might make things worse.
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DALMD80
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 2:51 pm

Right. If you could get fast enough to make multiple passes on a house for instance, could it help? Also... are there any potential legal ramifications that could arise from doing this?
You can take the boy away from aviation, but you can't take aviation out of the boy.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 3:03 pm

DALMD80 wrote:
Right. If you could get fast enough to make multiple passes on a house for instance, could it help? Also... are there any potential legal ramifications that could arise from doing this?


We have enough problems with drones curtailing firefighting activities, we don't need inexperienced pilots that aren't in communication with fire crews clogging up the airspace and grounding the actual tankers while engaging in an activity that at best just raises the relative humidity of a tiny area slightly. Leave it to the professionals, don't try to be a hero.
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DALMD80
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 3:06 pm

Spacepope wrote:
DALMD80 wrote:
Right. If you could get fast enough to make multiple passes on a house for instance, could it help? Also... are there any potential legal ramifications that could arise from doing this?


We have enough problems with drones curtailing firefighting activities, we don't need inexperienced pilots that aren't in communication with fire crews clogging up the airspace and grounding the actual tankers while engaging in an activity that at best just raises the relative humidity of a tiny area slightly. Leave it to the professionals, don't try to be a hero.

1st off: I don't have any soaring experience, it was a hypothetical. 2nd: I wasn't really thinking forest fires, more a house fire that one happened to spot while flying around the pattern and decided to be a Good Samaritan.
You can take the boy away from aviation, but you can't take aviation out of the boy.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 3:12 pm

A garage fire next to the glider port, yes, I might help. I’d bet the fire service would be on the scene first.

GF
 
DALMD80
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 3:17 pm

Ok, ok. Obviously not much you could do. But I still don't see why it wouldn't work.
You can take the boy away from aviation, but you can't take aviation out of the boy.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 4:59 pm

I haven't flown any gliders that carry water ballast, but in the gliders that I have flown that required ballast it was for balance purposes. So if you carried it for that and you dumped it for a fire, now you're out of CG.

300lbs of water is like around 35-40 gallons of water? that's about 15-16 seconds of water from a 1.5-inch fire hose or 10 seconds of water from a 2.5-inch fire hose.
what kind of fire can you extinguish from a 1.5-inch fire hose in 15 seconds? Maybe the trash can, they lit on fire for the annual pilot fire fighting recurrent training.

Now you're out of CG, trying to make multiple passes to drop your 40 gallons of water.

Flying gliders you just can't go where you want, you fly strategically, faster through sink, slower thru lift, and you're constantly searching for lift or looking for a place to land out. or carrying extra energy to get yourself out.

Whatever amount of ballast a glider carries, 20lbs 100lbs, 300lbs - the ballast is a significant amount of weight in the total weight of a glider which may be anywhere from 800-1500lbs total gross weight of the glider. - getting rid of it will affect the handling characteristics of a glider.
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mxaxai
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 6:04 pm

DALMD80 wrote:
Ok, ok. Obviously not much you could do. But I still don't see why it wouldn't work.

Having stood directly under numerous gliders releasing their ballast water, I can assure you that it barely tickles. It might snuff out a candle if you're lucky.
 
Zeke2517
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 6:14 pm

Gliders have ballast for a reason, right? So wouldn’t dumping it in the general direction of a fire that you probably aren’t going to extinguish be... kind of a dumb idea?
 
DALMD80
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Re: Glider Ballast

Thu May 30, 2019 6:48 pm

I was thinking along the lines of gliders that use ballast to increase speeds for XC.
You can take the boy away from aviation, but you can't take aviation out of the boy.
 
slcguy
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Re: Glider Ballast

Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:42 pm

Guess if you are non smoker and somebody is near the end of the runway while you are on short final is smoking, if you time it right and your aim is good you might put out the cigarette. LOL Even then 320lbs (40gal) of water dumped over 2-3 seconds from an aircraft at 55 knots will result in a fine spray spread out over a couple of hundred feet.
 
KFLLCFII
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Re: Glider Ballast

Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:44 am

DALMD80 wrote:
Here's a dumb question for you. Is it possible that if there was a fire near an area where a glider was flying (assuming this glider has water ballast) the glider pilot, being a Good Samaritan, could fly over and drop his load of ballast, and (assuming the field was near by) get back to the field?


The only way it would have enough payload for such a mission is if it took off from a treadmill.
"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."

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