I learnt to fly at the Essex Gliding Club, and I thank all the lovely members and tremendous instructors for having me! In winter, she instructs at her local club near Cambridge. She was also the first woman to fly km in the UK and one of the first of either gender to do so in a standard class glider. Apart from her championship wins, she has had many great gliding moments.
While racing in Chile, she was privileged enough to share the sky with a family of immense Andean Condors who flew close to her wingtip, eyeing her carefully. She also cherishes the memory of the view on the day she flew to 34, feet over Aboyne in Scotland when she could see the entire coast outlined from Edinburgh up to the Black Isle and across to the Outer Hebrides. I just love the sense of freedom and the pure pleasure of manoeuvring a high performance sailplane among the clouds. Steve took up gliding in as a way of revisiting his beloved hills, after losing the use of his legs in a motor cycling accident.
His disability has not proved to be a handicap to the retired youth and community officer and Steve flies his sailplane, which has been adapted for hand-only controls, at various sites around the UK and abroad, although most of his gliding is done at Portmoak in Scotland where there is a splendid ridge to soar. While he participates in all forms of gliding, including aerobatics and competitions, Steve is particularly enthusiastic about mountain flying where his achievements include a km flight along the spine of the Pyrenees and a ft high flight over the Cairngorms.
Steve enjoys gliding because of the sense of freedom it confers, while having the challenge of making decisions and judgements to ensure a safe flight — all this against a backdrop of beautiful landscape, particularly when mountain flying. You can read more about gliding for people with disabilities or limited mobility here.
What equipment is in a glider?
Tochi Marwaha, 63, is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. Before getting the gliding bug he was a top level hockey player who represented Uganda, the Army and the Combined Services.
He is also an instructor and is now on his second stint as the Chief Flying Instructor of the Wyvern club. Apart from flying and instructing he has been involved in the administration of the sport as Chairman of Wyvern Gliding Club and the Army Gliding Association. Whilst I fly motor gliders as an aid to instructing my best enjoyment comes from flying pure gliders, especially on cross country flights when you are one with the birds. It is a sport where you are always learning and improving and that brings its own enjoyment.
The challenge remains to get the height and distance Diamonds and the dream to join the k club. Technical translator, Claudia, started gliding while at university in her native Germany. Now flying from Oxford Gliding Club, she shares a glider with her husband, Nick. When not competing, Claudia is just as happy flying over the countryside in a leisurely fashion and enjoying the view! In addition, she is a key player in Women Glide UK, an initiative aimed at getting more women into the sport.
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Another nice thing is that gliding gives you what you want to get out of it — be it cross-country flying, aerobatics, instructing, leisurely sight-seeing flights, pottering about at your gliding club, etc. John now flies from Portmoak in Scotland where he is one of a small group exploring and constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved by flying in mountain wave.
John says that he enjoys the views of the hills, the peacefulness, the angst, the adrenaline, and the membership of a community of like minded nutters. Support worker, Sarah, was brought up under the flight path into Manchester Airport. She always dreamed of being a pilot but thought that the cost would make that impossible. However, she found out about gliding during a holiday in Cyprus, came home, joined her local club and is now a fully-fledged pilot about to take her first steps into cross-country flying. As well as flying as often as she can, Sarah, like many glider pilots, helps with the smooth running of her club.
What is gliding? These gliding competitions test pilots' abilities to make best use of local weather conditions as well as their flying skills. Local and national competitions are organized in many countries, and there are biennial World Gliding Championships. If the weather deteriorates pilots are sometimes unable to complete a cross-country flight. Consequently, they may need to land elsewhere, perhaps in a field, but motorglider pilots can avoid this by starting an engine. Powered-aircraft and winches are the two most common means of launching gliders.
These and other launch methods require assistance and facilities such as airfields, tugs, and winches. These are usually provided by gliding clubs who also train new pilots and maintain high safety standards.
Gliding | World Air Sports Federation
Although in most countries the standards of safety of the pilots and the aircraft are the responsibility of governmental bodies, the clubs and sometimes national gliding associations often have delegated authority. The development of heavier-than-air flight in the half century between Sir George Cayley's coachman in and the Wright brothers in mainly involved gliders see History of aviation. However, the sport of gliding only emerged after the First World War, as a result of the Treaty of Versailles ,  which imposed severe restrictions on the manufacture and use of single-seat powered aircraft in Germany's Weimar Republic.
Thus, in the s and s, while aviators and aircraft makers in the rest of the world were working to improve the performance of powered aircraft, the Germans were designing, developing and flying ever more efficient gliders and discovering ways of using the natural forces in the atmosphere to make them fly farther and faster.
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With the active support of the German government, there were 50, glider pilots by The best flight lasted two minutes and set a world distance record of 2 kilometres 1. In the s, gliding spread to many other countries. In the Summer Olympics in Berlin gliding was a demonstration sport , and it was scheduled to be a full Olympic sport in the Games. Gliding did not return to the Olympics after the war for two reasons: a shortage of gliders, and the failure to agree on a single model of competition glider.
Some in the community feared doing so would hinder development of new designs. In many countries during the s, a large number of trained pilots wanted to continue flying. Many were also aeronautical engineers who could design, build and maintain gliders. They started both clubs and manufacturers , many of which still exist. This stimulated the development of both gliding and gliders, for example the membership of the Soaring Society of America increased from 1, to 16, by The first event was held at the Samedan in There are now six classes open to both sexes, plus three classes for women and two junior classes.
However the meteorological conditions that allow soaring are common and the sport has been taken up in many countries. At the last count there were over , active civilian glider pilots and 32, gliders,  plus an unknown number of military cadets and aircraft. Clubs actively seek new members by giving trial flights, which are also a useful source of revenue for them. Glider pilots can stay airborne for hours by flying through air that is ascending as fast or faster than the glider itself is descending, thus gaining potential energy.
Thermals begin as bubbles of rising air that are formed on the ground through the warming of the surface by sunlight. Without clouds or dust devils to mark the thermals, thermals are not always associated with any feature on the ground. The pilot must then use both skill and luck to find them using a sensitive vertical speed indicator called a variometer that quickly indicates climbs and descents. Occasionally reliable thermals can be found in the exhaust gases from power stations or from fires. Once a thermal is encountered, the pilot can fly in tight circles to keep the glider within the thermal, thus gaining altitude before flying toward the destination or to the next thermal.
This is known as "thermalling". Alternatively, glider pilots on cross-country flights may choose to 'dolphin'. This is when the pilot merely slows down in rising air, and then speeds up again in the non-rising air, thus following an undulating flight path. Dolphining allows the pilot to minimize the loss of height over great distances without spending time turning.
Climb rates depend on conditions, but rates of several meters per second are common and can be maximized by gliders equipped with flaps. Thermals can also be formed in a line usually because of the wind or the terrain, creating cloud streets. These can allow the pilot to fly straight while climbing in continuous lift.