What is gliding?

 

What is gliding?

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Essentially gliding is flying a fixed wing aircraft without an engine.  A glider has all the same components as a powered aircraft but uses cutting edge aerodynamics and modern materials to create an aeroplane that is highly efficient, with a glide angle up to ten times that of a typical light powered aircraft.  This enables gliders to glide great distances between climbs.  You can use gliding as an inexpensive start to gaining a power licence; for the fun of soaring for hours on end above the Shropshire Hills; you can cover great distances cross country; or you can enter local, regional, national or international competitions, including aerobatics.

glider elements

The parts of a glider

Glider pilots use natural energy to gain height and then glide to the next source of lift – a bit like pedaling a bicycle up hill and then freewheeling down the other side.  Because we only use a small amount of LPG to power the winch for each launch it is an extremely green sport.  Although flying a glider is often a solitary pastime, it requires the teamwork of quite a few people to get each pilot into the air so we do expect people to help out on the ground as well. Gliding promotes discipline, patience, technical ability and attention to detail – a superb set of skills for anybody.

To remain airborne and soar, glider pilots use three main sources of lift:

thermal soaring slope soaring wave soaring
Thermal Soaring:
pilots can fly long distances by climbing in rising air and gliding to the next good source of lift.
Ridge or Hill Soaring:
a strong wind against a hill or ridge produces constant lift.
Wave Soaring:
strong winds deflected by an obstacle form a standing wave pattern in which pilots can climb to great heights.

 

To get an idea of what gliding from the Longmynd is about have a look at these YouTube clips: