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Does a walkalong glider stay aloft because of ground effect (caused by the paddle), or for some other reason?

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The article you linked answers your question: "Ground effect should not be confused with ridge lift when explaining how walkalong gliders stay up. Ground effect involves a horizontal surface. Ridge lift requires a sloping surface. In ground effect the air does not have to move relative to the ground whereas ridge lift requires the wind to be blowing horizontally against the ridge. Walkalong gliders are sustained and controlled in the ridge lift produced by the moving paddle." –  Fred Larson May 8 at 16:38

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No the paddle acts as an inverted wing and pushes air up, this in turn will push the glider up.

Even with ground effect a non-powered glider cannot maintain height and speed.

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The glider is just a glider. The paddle generates lifting force, essentially creating a moving updraft underneath the glider, which keeps it in the air.

Ground effect reduces drag, but doesn't create lift. As ratchet freak mentioned, ground effect alone is not enough to keep a glider in the air indefinitely.

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