Questions tagged [glider]

A glider is a heavier-than-air aircraft that is designed to be operated in unpowered flight.

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41
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8answers
20k views

Why would a glider have water ballast? If it is trying to stay aloft without an engine, wouldn't it be better to be as light as possible?

So I was looking at the description of a ASW 27 B glider and ran across this statement: Two water tanks in the wing plus a further 35 liter tank in the fuselage enable the ASW 27 B to carry more ...
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4answers
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Is it normal for gliders not to have attitude indicators?

This answer shows a picture of and describes a "modern" glider instrument panel, with two variometers, airspeed indicator, altimeter, compass, temperature gauge and radio controls. Notably (at least ...
29
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11answers
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Why can gliders fly for so long?

When you throw a paper airplane, it flies for a couple of seconds before losing speed and stalling. With a glider, it has a very long wingspan, but you take off with another plane or winch tow pulling ...
29
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4answers
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Can a glider make a go-around?

Since gliders don't have engines, is it possible for them to go around? Are there any extra features on a glider to try to prevent that situation from happening?
28
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2answers
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Is it safe and effective to have “glider pilot mentality” when landing single-engine fixed-wing aircraft?

I am a low-time pilot, of approximately 200 hours. I trained on the DA20 and DA40, designs that are derived from the Diamond touring motor glider design(s) of the early 1990s. I anticipate getting my ...
26
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7answers
18k views

Can fighter aircraft glide?

In case of engine failure, do the fighter jets have such a stable airframe so that they can glide their way through to the nearest landing strip (As it happened in the case of Gimli glider)?
26
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6answers
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What emergency situation can pilots encounter in gliders/non-powered aircraft?

Pilots have to be able to handle a wide range of emergencies in the air. For powered aircraft, the obvious example to me is recovering from an engine failure, but obviously this can't happen on an ...
25
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2answers
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Has any airliner ever collided with a glider?

I've read about many near-collisions between gliders and airliners, but did such a collision ever happen in mid-air, actually?
24
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9answers
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Can you fly a glider in a cloud on primary instruments?

Assume you enter a cloud with no visibility of the horizon. Your glider is not equipped with an artificial horizon, turn speed indicator or the like. You must fly within safe limits, using air speed, ...
24
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5answers
11k views

Is there a maximum lift to drag ratio?

If I recall correctly, the best competition gliders have a L/D ratio as high as 60:1. What imposes this limit? Is there a maximum theoretical L/D ratio, or could sufficiently advanced materials allow ...
22
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9answers
7k views

Why are winches not used for towing commercial planes up?

In this video a glider is pulled up by a winch on the ground, like this: (Source) I would say you could apply the same principles with bigger planes, possibly even using sustainable energy sources. ...
21
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2answers
959 views

How can we calculate the benefit gained from taping glider wing roots?

Most (all?) glider pilots will be familiar with the practice of taping wing roots. As most of the gliders in my glider club (and I would guess, in the world) are stored with the wings detached, the ...
19
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2answers
4k views

Why are the wingtips of sailplanes painted red?

Modern (plastic) gliders are painted white (I suppose for thermal reasons), except for some shapes on the fuselage (generally blue or red, but it seems the color does not matter). And the aircraft ...
19
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2answers
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What is the purpose of the string taped to the front of the canopy on gliders?

What is the purpose of the piece of string taped to a glider canopy? Is it effectively a turn coordinator, but then what advantages would it have over a gauge such as the ones fitted in powered ...
19
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1answer
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How can the Perlan II glider climb to 90,000 feet?

I've been reading material about the Perlan II experimental glider. They hope to take it up to 90,000 feet -- higher even than an SR-71 BlackBird. But the Perlan II is just a glider. Can it really ...
19
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2answers
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Are transport gliders used by modern armies?

Famous WW2 operations involved transport gliders, for troops landing and vehicles transportation behind front lines. Gliders were cheap and quiet aircraft. The advantage over individual parachutes ...
17
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2answers
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How is a glider recovered and returned to an airport after landing in a field?

If a glider has a safe normal landing in a cow pasture or other farm field and has no damage, how is it typically recovered to be returned to an airport for a future flight? Are the wings designed ...
17
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2answers
2k views

When is a sailplane a sailplane?

A simple question that I could not find an answer to: When is a sailplane a sailplane (from a regulatory point of view), especially a powered one of the TMG (touring motor glider) variety? EASA has ...
16
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6answers
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Should head stay level or inclined in a bank?

I just started to receive instructions to become a glider pilot, yay me! :) I (and my instructor) have noticed that I have the tendency to keep the head level (eye-line parallel to horizon) in turns ...
16
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2answers
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How can the Pipistrel Apis land safely?

I just saw a photo of the Pipistrel Apis motor-glider, and it got me wondering: How can it safely land with only 2 wheels total? To me it seems that falling to the side would be inevitable, and with ...
16
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2answers
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Is there an abnormal condition that could have caused this fatal accident involving a stall?

In 2009, a Grob 103 glider stalled and crashed at Richmond Field, Michigan, killing the passenger but not the pilot. (NTSB accident report: CEN09LA353) The accident occurred after a failed winch ...
16
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2answers
701 views

How can I estimate the minimum runway needed to take off with a hang glider?

I'm interested in short, or trick, take-offs - such as from platforms, tall trees, etc. I think that I should have a wind speed and direction measure an understanding of my wing surface area This ...
15
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3answers
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Are gliders susceptible to bird strikes?

Gliders don't travel at the high speeds that make bird strikes so devastating in airliners. However, they are also smaller, lighter and softer, and can still move pretty swiftly. Are they also ...
15
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4answers
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Are glider winch launches rarer in the USA than in the rest of the world? Why?

I had heard before that winch-launching gliders was a relatively rare practice in the USA, while quite common in the rest of the world. My data is mostly anecdotal, but I do know gliding clubs in ...
15
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6answers
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What happens if only rudder is applied in a turn without ailerons? Do the two have to be applied together all the time?

Fresh newbie in glider flying. I was told the joystick (aileron) and the pedal (rudder) should always be applied together when making a turn. My question is, what happens if I only pedals the rudder ...
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1answer
3k views

Is it safe to fly a glider when I can't move the stick fully left and right?

This past Saturday, I started training in a Schweizer 2-33A glider. When I got in the glider for the first time, I found that I couldn't move the control stick fully left and right, because my legs ...
15
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6answers
3k views

What is the optimal bank angle to accomplish a given turn in a glide?

For an aircraft in a glide, what—if any—is the optimal bank angle to make a given turn while maximizing glide distance and maintaining published best glide speed? In other words, at a constant ...
15
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1answer
7k views

How does a ring paper airplane fly for a long distance?

My friend showed me something which he called the glider. At a first look, it looks like it will crash, but it flew quite well: I was surprised to see it go about 25 meters (82 feet), as it was ...
14
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4answers
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Drop the rope or drag the rope?

I was the safety officer at a glider operation earlier this year and we had a new tow pilot who forgot to drop the rope. By radio, I instructed him to drop the rope before landing. The downsides of ...
14
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3answers
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Why use plywood to hold the bearings for the airbrakes on a fibreglass glider?

The ASK-21 is mainly a fibreglass construction. However, the bearings for the airbrakes and their control rods are fitted into small pieces (some 10 cm wide) of what seems to be plywood molded into ...
14
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2answers
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How are the glide polar and L/D ratio charts related?

We know from other questions and answers that airplanes and gliders in particular can have their performance described in terms of glide polar and Lift-to-Drag ratio. As it appears from the images in ...
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3answers
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How does the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's glide ratio compare to other airliners?

I just saw a documentary on the design of the Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" and one of the designers said that the wings were inspired by gliders. Looking at the production version of the plane, it is ...
13
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2answers
5k views

Why are birdlike airfoils not used?

Here are two airfoils (lets focus on Re 100,000): SD7043-il which is simple to build and has a glide ratio of about 60 e376-il a birdlike and much harder to build if using paper or similar due to the ...
13
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1answer
2k views

When flying a glider in emergency situation, would it be more safe to bailout or to land in a forest?

Is there any consensus when it comes to this question? If it depends then it depends on what exactly? I'm interested in the decision making in this kind of situation.
13
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3answers
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Do thermals stop rising when clouds are formed?

Glider pilots know that one indication of thermal lift is the formation of cumulus-type clouds. My question is: Does the rising air (that lifted the moisture to form the the cloud) stop rising after ...
13
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2answers
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How are thermals found?

As far as I understand glider pilots like to look out for thermals. I assume that when you are in one, you can perceive that and you can make roughly sure to stay in it. But what if you're not in a ...
13
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2answers
711 views

How should a glider pilot signal turns to the towplane?

When in aerotow in a glider, I thought the correct way to get the towplane to turn right (say) was to move gently to the left. That would gently nudge the towplane’s tail to the left, which would then ...
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10answers
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What is the most 'environmentally friendly' way to learn to fly?

As this question indicates, I've been thinking recently about the environmental impact of flying (since when automated cars are the only means of ground transport, aviation will be responsible for ...
12
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2answers
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What are the vertical pieces of metal on the Slingsby Swallow wing for?

I was watching James May's Toy Stories, particularly the one where they try to fly a glider across the English Channel. In the middle of the episode they mention a glider that was used for training ...
11
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8answers
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Why aren't any wingsuits able to sustain flight?

I'm aware that under zero power it is a glider, but there are gliders that sustain flight and have enough lift to climb etc (Edit: this is not always true. See below answers for why). So, would it not ...
11
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3answers
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Can gliders access restricted airspace?

If I recall, in America there were several "Prohibited Access" airspaces and others required permission, via radio, to enter in a typical aircraft. But, what if I'm gliding over a restricted airspace? ...
11
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2answers
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Do glider pilots require normal headsets?

When flying light aircraft, we use headsets which include ear protection from the noise of the fan. Being that unpowered gliders are presumably much quieter, are the same headsets used? My assumption ...
11
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1answer
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Any info on very strange wing endings on this Stemme glider?

Do you have any info on this strange wing endings used on Stemme glider? Source
11
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3answers
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How can a hang glider take off from flat ground?

There are a number of different ways of taking off with a powerless hang glider, the most commonly used being either running down a hill or jumping off a cliff/platform. This is how I learned to hang ...
10
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2answers
4k views

Can you ride a storm to save fuel?

Cargo sailboats, of the old, depended on wind direction. Like these ships, planes also save time by flying with the wind. On the extreme end, could a plane use storm fronts or hurricanes by flying in ...
10
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6answers
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What is the difference between a glider and a sailplane?

The words "glider" and "sailplane" seem to refer to similar or the same type of aircraft. In particular, the Wikipedia articles "Glider (aircraft)" and "Glider (sailplane)" seem to be describing the ...
10
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2answers
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Why do gliders have bungee cords in the control systems and what do they do? Are they on all control surfaces? What about ultralights?

Why do gliders have bungee cords in the control systems and what do they do? Are they on all control surfaces? Why don't ultralights have them?
10
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3answers
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Are there any data on the safety rate of gliders vs single-engine GA aircraft?

Can anyone point me to statistics on the safety record of gliders vs. single engine general aviation aircraft?
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2answers
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What is automatic control connections and how does it work?

The Rolladen-Schneider LS4B control connections are automatic. This feature, also called automatic control hookup seems to be common. The last time I assemble a glider was more than a decade ago, and ...
10
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3answers
771 views

Is this paragraph about the dihedral effect in the FAA's Glider Flying Handbook correct?

I've been reading the FAA's Glider Flying Handbook, 2013 (FAA-H-8083-13A). In chapter 3 ("Aerodynamics of Flight"), the book is discussing stability. On page 3-12, it states: Dihedral is the upward ...