AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 112

PILOTS
Daniel Sazhin
Riding the wave
BY IAN J. TWOMBLY
GL IDER PI LOT Daniel Sazhin is interested in decisions.
He wants to know how we adapt our decision making
to changing situations. As a pilot he studies his own
decisions during cross-country flights and glider competitions,
and as a Ph.D. student in brain and cognitive
science at Temple University, he is exploring the concept
on a broader scope.
Sazhin began soaring on the eve of his eleventh
birthday when he followed his brother to the airport
to help crew. " My older brother was the one who was
born to fly in my family, " he said. Sazhin may not have
looked up at airplanes and studied birds, but a blend of
natural talent, a desire to continually improve, and a
knack for intense studying have made him fly like one.
Most glider pilots treat Schweizer two-seat and
single-seat gliders as stepping stones to the high-performance
glass ships with 50:1 glide ratios. Sazhin
prefers the modest gliders, and he delighted the small
community of Schweizer 1-26 lovers when, in 2013 at
only 18 years old, he won the national 1-26 competition
with a teammate. He won it solo the year after, and
repeated the feat with a teammate in 2015. " My heart
is set on the 1-26, " he said. " If you just want to go up
and get enjoyment from flying, you can't beat the 1-26. "
He's also found success with cross-country flyLOGBOOK
/
WHO Daniel Sazhin, glider pilot and instructor
HOURS 1,700 flight hours and 712 flights
FAVORITE A IRCR AFT The Schweizer 1-26 for its simplicity and
direct connection to the art and science of soaring. His Windward
Performance Duckhawk ultra-high performance mid-wing speedster
is a close second.
EXTRA Sazhin says that soaring is part science, part art, and that
pilots who are most successful at it expertly and equally blend the two
aspects. " The act of soaring and the way you pull the energy out of the
air is very much a feel thing, " he said.
112
AOPA PILOT / August 2021
ing, setting world records for distance flying. In 2016,
Sazhin flew the 1-26, an aircraft with only a slightly
better glide ratio than a Boeing 777, more than 541
nautical miles. " As a sportsman or athlete, you know
when you're performing well and it's fun to get in that
zone. That's where I want to be. " He's one of a few
dozen pilots to earn all three of soaring's diamond
badges in a 1-26.
Most athletes want to win championships, and
Sazhin certainly has his sights on a good result when
he represents the national team in France this summer.
But, ultimately, his goals are focused on his personal
results. " It's not about beating someone. It's about doing
better than I did before, " he said.
Well, that, and the chance to study the decisions
other competitors make. Sazhin loves competitions, in
part, because he has a captive group of pilots all facing
the same task, all being thrown the same variables, with
each making different decisions. It's a researcher's-and
a pilot's-playground. ian.twombly@aopa.org
PETER MURPHY

AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - BB1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - BB2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 9
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 11
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 20
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 22
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 24
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 25
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 27
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Cover4
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