A – Glider Ops

Glider Ops of the ASG 32
(not including engine ops)

By Peter Kelly


Before reading this web page ( Glider Ops ), review  the “ASG-32 Introduction” page.  And, before your first flight you should review the Flight Manual.  Discussion about the operations of the power plant is posted on the “Motor Glider Ops” page.


Glider Ops

Cockpit Layout

As with all photos on these page, click on the photo to enlarge and to view it in a new tab.



When I decide to fly a new aircraft, I find it necessary to spend time just sitting in the cockpit and looking around.  Sitting in there for the first time, ten minutes before the rope is hooked up is just not adequate time for me to feel comfortable.  Here is the view from the front seat.


Same photo, with annotations

Front Panel with Labels


When you raise the canopy, the panel goes up with it.  Look at the underside of this front panel.

My feet are on the rudder pedals, and I have raised the canopy and instrument fnt-underside2panel.   On the underside, on both the left and right underside, there are circuit breakers and in the center there is a placard labeled “Pre Flight  Check”

Here is a photo of that placard.
It appears on page 4.9 of the flight manual as well.  Obviously this “Pre Flight Check” is accomplished, before you entered the cockpit.cklst-fnt-underside









Lets take a look at each section of that front panel, and also look at the panels and placards on either side.   First, sections of the front instrument panel.

Here is the lower left part of the front panel.  fnt-panel-lower-left

The battery charging cord is plugged in.  When it is removed, the hole is covered.  Above the charger socket are two battery switches – labeled “AVIONIC PWR”.  Left one is MAIN and the right switch is AUX.  We normally only use the left switch.  The right switch takes power from the battery that is reserved for the engine.

To the right of the battery switches is the “ILEC Engine Control Unit and Tank selector switch”.  It is often referred to by the brand name of “ILEC” or alternatively, but not commonly, it is also referred to as the “ECU”, which, as you can see, is the label on the right side of the face. If there are no lights on this unit, then it means it is not powered – thus you are free to ignore it for now.  On this page, we are reviewing glider ops, not motor glider ops, but I will give you a bit of an intro/ orientation to the engine and this control unit at the bottom of this page.

To the right of the ECU are three switches.  Although the bottom two are associated with the engine, and are not powered until the engine system is turned on, they should be in the down position.  The top switch (labeled “C N 2”) turns on the Clear Nav in the front cockpit.  So,  of all this clutter in the lower left corner, all you need to know is: left battery switch (labeled AVIONIC PWR/ ON, OFF, MAIN) should be on and the clear nav switch (labeled CN2/ ON,OFF)  should be on.  Other switches are off.

Above the ECU is the Airspeed indicator.  This one is obviously worth a careful review.  Let’s examine the face of the dial.


A single needle – pointing to zero knots.

There are three arcs:  White, Green and Yellow.

  • See the White arc (outer edge) beginning at 43 knots continuing all the way up to 97 kts.  That is a flap speed range.

– See the WK L mark at 81 kts (WK is the abbreviation for Flaps in German). Thus, max speed for having flaps in the Landing position is 81 kts.

– See the WK 5+6 mark at 97 kts – Max speed for operating in either flaps 5 or flaps 6.

  • See the Green arc starting at 47 and ending at 97.  That is the normal operating range.
  • See the Blue line at 49 kts (motor glider info).
  • See Yellow Triangle at 54 kts.  That is the Approach speed at maximum weight without water ballast.
  • See the Yellow arc – Maneuvers in smooth air only.   97 to 146 kts.
  • See the Red line at 146 kts – Maximum speed.


Above the Airspeed Indicator is the Fire Light (motor glider ops material), and to the right of that is the common mechanical vario.

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To the right of the mechanical vario is the electric Clear Nav Vario.

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Look for the two knobs on the CNv:

  • Lower right:
    set airport elevation, change altimeter setting
    After you are on home screen, the lower right know adjusts the volume of the vario.
  • Top left:
    rapidly to the left will display the home screen.

There is an XC version and a Club version of the Clear Nav Vario .  We have the XC version installed in this ASG32.
Visit the ClearNav web site for a full description of this instrument. See: http://www.clearnav.net/main/cn-vario_manual_xc.html
Watch the video that Paul Remde created:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RccpXWfHCk0
Other than Williams Soaring, of course, Cumulus Soaring/ Paul Remde is the place to go if you want to buy equipment at a competitive price, with probably the best customer service available.  Over the past 20 plus years I’ve purchased various hardware and software equipment from Paul and he has always gone the extra mile to provide support.  See his web site at: http://www.cumulus-soaring.com/clearnav.htm

The Clear Nav navigation screen is installed in the center of the panel.
Visit the ClearNav web site for a full description of this instrument. See:  http://www.clearnav.net/CN_Manual/Manual/CN-Manual-Controller.html




Watch the video that Paul created: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPxOn7-szfM&feature=youtu.be
Scroll down Paul’s page and read his narrative and glowing praises of the Clear Nav: http://www.cumulus-soaring.com/clearnav.htm




More Pix….



Engine Control Panel

Release knob for Rudder Pedal Adjustment.



The side panel – left side












Starting from the left side of the photo – the aft end of the left side panel, see the pocket.  That cable you see anchored to the wall in the pocket runs along the top of the pocket, then along the back of your seat, and over to the left side panel.  The cable is used to adjust your back rest – more about that later.

Placard immediately forward of the pocket is the “Pre Take-off Check” Placard. and below that is the “Experimental” placard.


Moving you attention forward, there is the Flap.  Spring loaded to stay vertical, and in a detent (if you are over one of the holes).

  • Fully aft is Flaps L – the landing flaps position.  Don’t pull them back to there while at 55 kts, unless you are ready to descend at about 1,000 FPM (with spoilers).  My point is – don’t select Flaps L unless landing is assured.
  • Rotating and sliding the handle forward, Flaps 6, then 5, the 4.
  • Flaps 3 is where you will be during 75 % of your flight Speed between 57  and 72 kts.
  • Flaps 2 – cruising fast.
  • Flaps 1 – select if you are flying over 91 kts – i.e. goin’ fast!

Yellow handle = tow release.  Yes, you will usually take a tow when flying from WSC.

From the edge of the shelf towards the center:

  • Green button shows you where the elevator trim is set (free moving when the green trigger is pulled on the stick)
  • The big Blue Handle operates the spoilers.  Best I’ve seen.  Very effective, yet very incremental.

The Control stick is the control stick –  nothing new there, and forward of that is the engine control console.  Out of view is a small grey knob on the lower right of that console.  You pull to that knob to release the rudder pedals for adjustment.



On this ship, they are extraordinary.  I have customized the following info by assuming that you are flying with with someone who is about 200 pounds and that you weight about 170 pounds.  Thus combined weight is in the vicinity of about 370 pounds (this includes parachutes, water bottles, snacks, etc.) more or less.

Flaps reshape the wing to provide you with the best glide possible at various speeds.  Flaps nearly cause the polar curve to form a sloped line instead of a curve.  On this ship the entire trailing edge of the main wing is altered in nearly every flap position.  Looking at the flap handle, you scan see there are a total of 7 positions.  But as you will soon learn, it boils down to only three major settings, other than landing.

  • Starting from the rear there is the Landing Flaps setting.  Don’t select this position unless you can easily make the field.  Very high drag coefficient!
  • Flap 6 is the slowest thermal speed setting, and Flap 5 is a bit faster (less bank).  Use Flaps 5 when thermalling (Flaps 6 if you are being aggressive).

Let’s look at the polar curve.  Here it is for straight flight – no extra wing loading due to turns, and, I have added a few colors that will simplify it tremendously. Make a big mental note of the slope of the pink line between 60 and 90 knots- this is important!  If you understand L/D you know what I mean.  That line is “almost” a straight line, with little curve to it.

The curve that is highlighted in pink is the approximate weight that most of us will be flying at.  That weight is  about 1685 pounds, more or less.

  • The green line is the transition speed between Flaps 4 and Flaps 3.  If you had been flying (slowly) with wings level and not thermalling you would have been in Flaps 4.  Speed would be between about 57 kts..  With no headwind, this is the best L/D speed to fly.  The wing is considered to be in a Flaps Neutral config and your best glide (no wind).  However, with these marvelous flaps, you can accelerate above the transition speed of about 57 knots, slide the handle forward to Flaps 3 and with very little loss of L/D you can fly up to a speed of about 72 kts ( the blue line on my polar).  Very little trade off in height for a much higher speed, thus allowing you to get to the next thermal sooner.


Know the transition speed for each flap setting.  The transition speed is a function of gross weight. As I mentioned, I estimate that most of us will be flying at about 1,685-ish pounds with two of us aboard.  You will see where these speeds are derived from on the next chart.

If you are enjoying good lift along the Mendos, don’t plod along at less than 72 knots.  Go for distance.  Se the blue line.  It is at 72 kts.  72 to 91 kts is a reasonable flying speed range in this ship.  You will learn that greater sensitivity is required at the higher speeds, since you will pass through the thermal very quickly.  But then again, you will need fewer thermals and you will not be stopping to thermal unless the thermal is a really good one.   You can see the polar curve line has nearly the same slope all the way from 60 knots up to 90 kts, but after that the curve steepens.  See the orange line on my polar – it is at 91 kts.  Flying above 91 kts is fun to do and good for burning off altitude, if you have plenty to burn and you want to get back home. Slide the handle forward to Flaps 1 above 91 kts.

In order to provide you with a printable handout, take a look at this PDF that I created.  You may find it helpful, and you may want to print it out.     Flap Setting Ranges  This is a simple PDF file.

To summarize:

Going for max glide distance, just to arrive at a given point with the least loss of altitude, with no wind, fly 57 kts and keep flaps neutral with a setting of Flaps 4.  But if you are going to thermal use Flaps 5 or Flaps 6.  If you are proceeding to another thermal, fly an appropriate McCready (speed to fly) setting to get there, and if you are bucking a headwind, add speed for that as well and  move forward to Flaps 3 and keep the speed between 57 and 72.   If you choose a bit more speed (and why not?) then move forward to Flaps 2.  That’s it.  Not real complicated.  Keep you hand on the flap lever, and slide it as you need to.  If you forget to come out of thermalling flaps in your haste to move along, you may detect the need for excessive forward trim and/or note that you are flying a bit more nose up than usual.  If you remain in Flaps 5 or Flaps 6, you will damage the ship, if you exceed white triangle on the ASI (which is at 97 kts), labeled Wks 5+6.  Check out that Flap Setting Ranges PDF file in mentioned a few lines above.  If you fly at these speeds: 54 kts, 66 kts , or 82 kts, then have the flap handle in these holes: Flaps 4, Flaps 3, Flaps 2.

One other version of a Flaps Summary:

  • Flaps are considered “neutral” (neither positive nor negative) when Flaps 4 is selected. Be in Flaps 4  if airspeed is between 49 and 57 kts – “smallest sink rate in straight flight”.  Unless I am in lift, or have a tailwind and I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere or cover any distance, then I consider 57 to be my minimum speed when wings are level, and my corresponding flap handle setting is just forward of the hole for Flaps 4.
  • Flaps 3 are slightly negative and should be selected if above 57 and below 72 kts.  Most typically, you will cruise in Flaps 3 – IMHO – the best L/D for range.  If cruising in lift, and you want max altitude, and are not in a hurry, Flaps 4 might be slightly better, assuming your speed is at or below 57 kts.  The bottom line for me is to always skip Flaps 4 , except for one instance, and that is: marginal final glide, no headwind and I need very inch of altitude to get there.
  • Flaps 2 are more negative than Flaps 3, and should be selected if between 72 and 91 kts.  A fast cruise will put you in Flaps 2.  Between thermals on an average x-c day on the Mendos Flaps 2 is a reasonable choice, but more sensitivity is required to feel the thermals.
  • Flaps 1 are most negative and should be selected if operating above 91 kts, but it is costing you altitude.  Note the slope of the polar curve once you get above 91 kts. If you want to land soon, have a fairly good distance to go, and have altitude to burn, then select Flaps 1 and enjoy the ride. Weighing nearly a ton, the ship feels smooth and comfortable as you fly along at over 100 MPH.  Traveling at 100 kts in this ship versus a 10 year old glider compares to driving a BMW instead of a Ford Fiesta at 100 MPH on the freeway. One is just plain comfortable and the other ( the Ford Fiesta) is just plain scary.  I’m not knocking ships over 10 years old.  They are great, but they are hardly quiet. stable and solid feeling at speeds of over 100 kts.  They just aren’t made for it, but the ASG 32 is.  you need to experience it to believe it.
  • Ground Speed Zero – Flap settings  5 and 6 are selected when thermalling.  When you are finished thermalling, move smoothly from Flaps 5 to Flaps 4, and usually straight up to Flaps 3 (assuming you are flying above 57 kts).

You could try to remember the transition speed of 57, 72 and 91 kts, but I think it is more productive to remember the hole/ detent that corresponds to the speeds of: 54, 66 and 82 kts. Those are the three cardinal speeds, as I call them.

54    66     82

“In the detent” speeds
(at weight of 1685)


Paragraph 5.3.4 Flap Setting Ranges, with my color mark ups:


From page 4.29

“Flap control allows adaptation of the aircraft to changing flight attitudes.  See diagram in section 5.3.4 for correct flap setting.

Flap settings 1 through 4 are straight flight settings. Setting 1 is for high speed flight, setting 2 is mostly used between thermals. In flap setting 2 the lower wing surface contour is flush and the low drag laminar boundary layer can pass the hinge line to the blowing holes.  Flap settings 3 gives the best L/D and flap setting 4 gives the smallest sink rate in straight flight.

Flap settings 5 and 6 are purely for use while circling. Flap setting 5 is designed for centering in thermals and circling in turbulent lift. Flap setting 6 should be selected when the conditions warrant strong and tight lift in the core of a thermal.”








The side panel right side

Pouch, Boom mike (black tube slanting upwards), Placards, crank handle to adjust back rest, Orange knob of the fuel valve, back end of the landing gear lever track.

















Forward of the Fuel Valve is the water dump valve, air vent above that, and the landing Gear Handle on the front edge of the panel.









When lowering the gear (push the gear down), the handle will meet resistance just before it is fully down and locked!.  The gear will feel like it is all the way down, but it is not!

The handle is in a dark hole, but you must observe the position of the handle.  Try to LOOK at the handle after you think it is down (but you won’t really be able to see much in that dark corner). You will find it difficult to observe.   Be sure to push it forward that last inch or so and then push the handle outboard into the detent.  Run you finger along the track where the gear handle travels.  When it is REALLY down and locked, you can feel it in the detent.  You must feel the handle in the detent, and feel the handle in the down and locked position.  The pilot in the back seat does not have a detent or handle lock position.


In Flight

The manual advises you not to do side slips and here is why…

The engine bay doors are big ( over 6 ft, I would estimate) , and they are held closed with bungee cords.  See photos below.  I lifted up the right door a small amount and wedged my glider hat along the front edge.  If you were to side slip, just a small amount you may hear the door slam back down after it opens slightly, however, if you do a full side slip and hold it, the door will come fully open, the side load from the air stream may put so much pressure on the doors, that it may damage or even break the hinges, so don’t do that!


Common footer for all ASG-32Mi Pages

Caveat: This page is not intended to be instructional in nature.  Some of my info and techniques may not be correct and may even be in conflict with proper procedure, so due diligence is required by you.  FAR’s take precedence, as does the Schleicher Flight Manual.


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