Everybody's First Gliding Book!
ID #: M162A
What does a
newcomer want to know about soaring? This can be a hard question for
soaring experts to answer, simply because the soaring expert has been
hanging around soaring for decades, and has entirely forgotten what it
feels like to be new to the sport of soaring.
As the owner/operator of a very active glider flight school and glider
ride service, I have enjoyed many years' worth of experience answering,
as best I could, the questions that newcomers ask (or would like to ask
but are too shy to ask). These questions covered the entire gamut from
"Is it as much fun as it looks?" to "Will I die?" As the author of a
monthly aviation magazine column - Beginner's Corner - for SOARING
magazine, I had the opportunity to organize and collect my answers to
newcomers' questions and write them for publication.
Some of the articles in this book are the descendants of those articles,
re-written and updated for this book. Alongside these updated pieces are
twenty new articles that have not appeared in SOARING magazine, nor
anywhere else. So, what you hold in your hands is a new book, aimed
right at you, the newcomer. I have done my best to provide you with
straight talk and honest answers to the questions that most people want
to ask about gliding.
When you are at the very beginning of your aviation journey, everything
about soaring is new, beautiful, and strange. The aircraft are
streamlined, unfamiliar, exotic-looking, and they are made out of
different materials than you would use to make a new car or a house or a
toaster oven. Gliders are at the same time remarkably strong (as in
their wingspars) and remarkably fragile (as in their Plexiglas
canopies). They move with great grace through the air but are
elephantine when you have to drag them around on the ground. They are
mainly white - ever wonder why? They are essentially handmade, and they
are expensive. To me, they are all beautiful.
Getting into a glider is more like climbing into a race car than it is
like climbing into a normal automobile. The glider tips left and right,
like a boat, as we handle the glider on the ground. And when the canopy
closes over your head for the first time, just before your first flight,
it feels like you are getting ready for a launch to the moon in your
Once airborne, the sensations of flight are new. They may be disturbing
as well. For most of us, at some point in our aviation exploits, these
sensations are upsetting enough to induce motion sickness.
Ground-dwelling creatures need time and practice to adapt to the
sensations of flight. In much the same way that sailors accommodate
themselves to the motion of their boats on the sea, sky voyagers must
accommodate themselves to the motion of their aircraft through the sky.
The view outside the canopy is different than the view in an airliner,
if for no other reason than the fact that gliders are lower and slower
in flight than airliners usually are. The flight instruments in the
instrument panel are foreign and exotic looking. Even the lap belt and
shoulder harness that we wear in the glider are different from the
automobile seat belts we use in everyday life.
They are very safe and are beautifully engineered, but they can be
dangerous if flown poorly or maintained poorly.
When so much is so new, it's easy to understand why newcomers ask so
This book will help you answer questions such as:
- Can an ordinary, normal person (...
errrr, umm, like... me?) learn to fly gliders?
- Is gliding really fun? What's it
like to learn to fly? Where should I go to learn to fly?
- What risks am I undertaking as I
learn to fly?
- What are the medical requirements to
become a glider pilot?
- If I get airsick, what can I do
about it? Does it mean that I cannot learn to fly?
- Why is learning to fly so
frustrating at times?
- What is a learning plateau, and why
do I feel so stuck on one?
- How important are the flight
instruments? Do they always tell the truth?
- What books and Web resources are
available if I decide to learn to fly gliders?
- What tests do I have to take to
become a glider pilot?
- What flight maneuvers must I learn?
- How many lessons will it take for me
to go solo the glider for the first time?
- How much will it cost to get to solo
standard in a glider?
- Are there national standards for
glider pilot training? If so, where are they found?
- What books and materials will help
me to learn to fly? Where can I buy them?
- Does the FAA know about this glider
thing? Does the FAA set training standards?
- What Federal Regulations will I be
required to study?
- I am an airplane pilot. Will my
airplane skills help me in glider flight training?
- Is the glider maintained as
carefully as airplanes are required to be maintained?
And dozens of other questions and
answers, as well. I hope this book helps you to make your dream of
flight come true.