Questions About Gliding
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Gliding is the ultimate place to start for either a career in aviation or to pursue an interest in flying. Glider pilots worldwide are soughtafter in the aviaton industry as they often demonstrate an elite level of airmanship, due to their grass roots in gliding. Gliding also gives one a great sense of adventure, and the thrilling freedom of piloting a motorless aircraft.
Flying is open to everyone of different ages, however the minimum legal age for flying a glider solo is 15. The Sunraysia Gliding Club is also actively instructing older learner pilots. If you are not sure about flying, a trial introductory flight can be easily arranged. Contact us to arrange your flight today!
A Glider is a high performance motorless aircraft powered by gravity. It has a high glide ratio compared with a powered plane. The glide ratio is its ability to fly expressed as a ratio. A modern training glider has a glide ratio of about 40:1. That means when flying, for every metre of height it loses, it goes forward 40 metres. By contrast, a powered light plane has a glide ratio of less than 10:1.
After launching to 1800 feet by a powerful winch, the pilot searches for a thermal. A thermal is a rising column of air, warmed by contact with the ground. Because the thermal rises faster than the glider is sinking back to earth, the net gain is that the glider goes up! The pilot circles the glider gently within the thermal and gains altitude. Near Mildura it is common for thermals to rise to well over 10,000ft in Summer!
Modern gliders have a top speed of close to 300 Kilometres per hour (150 knots). However, our training gliders commonly manouver at around 120 Kph, or about 60 knots.
Depending on the time of day, lift sources can sometimes pause or stop. This isn't a problem if the pilot is near an airfield, but this isn't always the case. Rarely a pilot has to conduct an off airport landing at either another airfield or in a suitable paddock. All glider pilot's are trained for this, but the fun and games of outlanding usually only happen in competition.
At Sunraysia we are lucky to use a winch launch system, where Gliders are launched using a stationary ground-based winch mounted on a heavy vehicle. The motor is a Cheverolet V8, which pulls in a 1,600-metre (3,000 to 5,500 ft) rope, made of a synthetic fiber compound, attached to the glider. The cable is released at a height of about 1,300 to 2,200 ft after a short, steep ride.
Gliders are mantianed to absolutely stringent safety standards in accordance with the Gliding Federation of Australia maitenence schedule. Pilots are trained and checked annually and gliding has equally the best safety record for all sport aviation disciplines in Australia. As a club we are very interested in maintaning our safety record and are watching out for yours too!