With this book Bernard presents to the gliding community a dictionary for the meteorological phenomena that can keep gliders aloft to fly long distances.
In recent years we have seen an increase in performance of cross-country flying that seemed impossible only a few decades ago. The improved performance and handling of gliders are only partly responsible for that surge. It is most likely that the pilots’ tactical decisions and their advanced knowledge of meteorology boosted the long distance and speed records to their present level. Pilots who have developed a basic understanding of gliding theory and have an open eye for the forces of nature can explore and enjoy the almost endless possibilities of modern gliders so skillfully designed and constructed by dedicated craftsmen.
The different chapters in this book explain in detail, with clear illustrations, what glider pilots need to know to maximise their enjoyment and performance. Some lift forces are smooth or weak and others are strong and turbulent. Lift can also be isolated or lined up for long distances. Pilots who have learned to master these great forces with skill and patience can, on certain days, combine several different lift sources for exhilarating flights using all the daylight hours.
This book not only gives a complete overview of meteorological phenomena but it also explains to glider pilots how to take advantage of them. The book details the techniques of soaring in thermals, slope lift, wave, etc., and provides pilots with excellent information that they can put into practice to improve their skills and get the maximum out of the sport of gliding. Pilots who achieve the best performance are those who can recognise the different forces of nature and use them to their advantage.
Perhaps they can use an early morning wave to set off on long distance flights as I have done. I shall never forget my late glides into a sunset from a high climb in a late thermal or from a wave. In high mountains the ice breeze occurs almost every evening and one can enjoy late soaring in the centre of the valleys right up to last light. This is what makes the sport of gliding so special.
To all readers of this book I wish you excellent soaring and hope you gain as much pleasure and exhilaration from gliding as I have over the years.
I would also like to commend Bernhard Eckey on the huge amount of research he has put into writing this book and presenting it in such a useful format. The first edition of his book has been well received but because this second edition looks deeper into many additional further topics it will be even more encouraging and motivating to the many supporters of our fascinating sport.
Safe soaring to all
Content at a glance
Chapter 1 Local soaring
As thermals are the main source of energy for soaring, this chapter is dedicated to the location and use of this lift. It includes vital background information, detailed assessments and proven procedures for the benefit of the reader.
Chapter 2 Gliding and weather
This chapter deals with soaring weather, especially the prediction of soaring conditions for the day ahead. By combining meteorological theory with practical examples, light is shed on this difficult subject. Other issues such as sea breezes and favourable soaring conditions for different parts of the world are covered.
Chapter 3 Flight preparation
From checking the equipment to organising a crew, this chapter contains the information needed to get ready for soaring away from the home airfield. Even checklists for various gliding activities are included.
Chapter 4 Extended local soaring
Flying beyond gliding distance of the home airfield is a milestone in every new glider pilot’s career. This difficult step is made much easier with the information contained in this chapter. Hints on traditional as well as modern navigation methods are given and recommended training sequences are included. Even meteorological phenomena of interest to the early cross—country pilot are explained and solutions to common pitfalls are given.
Chapter 5 Advanced cross country flying
Guidelines for proven flying tactics and methods for speed improvement form the centrepiece of this chapter. The most efficient methods for extracting energy in climb as well as cruise are identified and proven methods for maximising the average cross—country speed are examined. This chapter even provides advice on reducing the cockpit workload in the interests of increasing efficiency. Also, such subjects as the effective use of flaps, optimum final glide and dolphin flying are put under the microscope.
Chapter 6 The mental game
Mental aspects of gliding such as positive thinking, decision making, thinking ahead, goal setting, self motivation etc. are vital for success and are essential tools for recreational and performance-orientated glider pilots alike. For competitive reasons, it is vital to be a step ahead and have the mental edge over other pilots.
Chapter 7 Flying competitively
Competitive aspects of the sport are discussed in detail here. Valuable hints for improving the performance and competitiveness of the glider are examined and the reader is also introduced to the concept of saving time by shaving off the seconds.
Chapter 8 Let’s get technical
Getting the most out of a glider is equally important for competition and recreational pilots. This chapter provides ideas for fine tuning your glider and its instruments for maximum performance.
Chapter 9 Outlandings
This chapter deals with outlandings and explains how safety can best be advanced. The author provides a long list of easy to follow suggestions and includes a list of dos and don’ts.
Chapter 10 Safety first
This chapter is all about safety. It deals with lookout, scanning, thermalling etiquette, use of radio and proper thermal approach procedures. Issues relating to gliders with retractable engines and manoeuvrability of open class gliders are also incorporated.
Chapter 11 Ridge lift and Slope soaring
The use of ridge lift and related issues are the subject of chapter 11. Flying in areas of suitable topography allows pilots to enjoy spectacular scenery in comfort and safety, provided the advice given in this chapter is adhered to.
Chapter 12 Wave lift
A good knowledge of wave lift can provide for unforgettable experiences. This chapter provides not only background information but also practical guidance. It provides even flatland pilots with the information required to enjoy the pleasures of soaring to diamond heights in the smooth airflow of mountain wave.