the sport of gliding
Put simply, a glider - also known as a sailplane - is a small, sleek aircraft without an engine. To fly the unpowered aircraft, the pilot relies on the same naturally occurring air currents that birds use to fly.
Gliding relies on three types of rising air to remain airborne:
Thermals: columns of rising air produced when the sun heats the atmosphere
Ridge or hill lift: air pushed upwards when it blows against the edge of a slope
Mountain wave: currents of air that rise to get over the top of hills or mountains and then flow and rebound, creating a wave-like motion that can continue for hundreds of miles
Using these invisible currents of air, known as ‘lift’, the pilot can soar to great heights and travel amazing distances around the country at average speeds of over 100 miles per hour.
Becoming a glider pilot is an exciting and immensely fulfilling journey. It is also a process that requires technical skill, mental focus, emotional self-control, and commitment. The best way to find out whether gliding is for you, is to take a trial lesson. Should you decide to proceed, you can continue onto an instructional programme with the aim of becoming a solo glider pilot.