How do gliders fly?

Light Airplane

Gliders soar across the sky by riding on air currents.

Airplanes without engines are called gliders.  They are very light, with long, slender wings.

A glider can glide downhill on air.  It also can soar  upward on rising wind and heat currents in the air.

These updrafts are caused by warm air that rises upward from sun-heated plains.  In hilly land, up currents can come from wind that rises up a hillside.  There are also rising currents in large, puffy clouds.

When a glide pilot finds a rising current of air, he sets the rising air push his light glider upward.  Then no glides downhill until he finds another rising current.

A good glider pilot can soar aloft for many hours. In flight, gliders are controlled like regular airplanes.

Most gliders are launched by pulling them into the air like kites at the end of a long line towed by automobiles or airplanes.

Once aloft, the glider unhooks and is trees to sail without power on the air currents. – Dick Rogers



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  2. When the air blows over hills such as those in the highlands it rises to get over the hills and then sinks down the other side. Under certain conditions, this wave-like motion continues for hundreds of miles downwind of the hill and to heights which are many times greater than that of the original hill. By flying in the upward part of the wave, gliders can climb to over 40,000 feet. Often the air is so smooth that the glider will fly itself and you can just sit there laughing, watching the ground and even the clouds fall away from you. Wave lift is very common in Scotland during the winter months – make sure you experience it during your time at Edinburgh.

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