During early WWII, in Canada, teenage members of an Air Cadet Squadron built and flew an English designed Dagling Primary Glider ... .
April 26, 1998
During early WW II I
lived in Canada where I was a young teen age
member of an Air Cadet
Squadron. We built and flew an English
designed Dagling Primary Glider.
We towed the disassembled glider on
a trailer behind a 1928 Packard
roadster to a rather steeply sloping
hill that had a flat area going back
for a couple of hundred yards
from the crest of the hill. I would guess
the height of the crest
above the meadow at the base of the hill was
roughly 125-175 feet
with about a one-in-eight gradient.
glider was assembled at the base of the hill and then towed to
the top of
the hill by a stripped down Ford Model T car. Meanwhile,
roadster was jacked up and one rear wheel was removed to
make room for
the installation of a plywood drum that would receive
the rope towline as
it wound in.
Because of the layout the winch operator could not
see the glider
when it came time to go. A system of flag signals was
used. A wingtip
runner would select one of three different colored flags
based on the
degree of competance of the student. One flag color would
beginner (me) and the signal would be relayed by a second flag
the crest of the hill to the winch operator down in the meadow at
bottom of the hill.
The beginner was then given a tow at a
speed just fast enough to
have aileron control. This would allow the
student to learn to
balance the glider as it slid along through the
grass. The tow of
course was terminated well before the crest of the
hill. The second
different colored flag would be used for more advanced
would give them enough speed to lift off and fly in ground
a short spurtagain stopping before the crest of the hill.
and final colored flag was used as a signal to all that here we
an accomplished aviator type who was to have bestowed upon him a tow that would truly launch him so that usually by the passing of the
of the hill the glider would have I guess perhaps two hundred
agland then would continue the climb to perhaps a release of
fifty or so above the base of the meadow. No soaring ever took
was all down hill literally.
When my turn came for my initial
"indoctrination tow" there was a
screw-up in the flag signalling or
interpretation thereof. I got the
number three type towa most hearty
send off sent me swooping over
the brow of the hill. I vividly recall the
sudden sweeping panorama
of the meadow below and the tiny (to me darn
The glider was pitching and porpoising in
what I now know was the
product of PIO. I do not believe I released the
tow, I think it
released all on its own-probably because of the degree
of pitch- up
I was attaining. Right after the release, the glider mushed
series of stalls and somewhat partial recoveriesall made
tangent to the face of the hill. Somehow the wings stayed fairly level and the stalls were not deep enough to precipate a spin
entryall luck, NO skill!!
The arrival at the base of the hill was strong
enough to break
almost all the landing wires that radiated to all points
structure from a central king post mounted above the wing center section.
This adventure was my first instructional (??) session,
solo flight and only accident that I will admit to in over fifty
years and fifteen thousand logged hours! Incidentally, the broken landing wires made from about 1/8" piano wire were replaced from a
roll of wire in the rumble seat of the Packard, the airframe was
back into rig and was flying again within an hour or so!!