Flying conservatively

As a follow up to an earlier article I posted here explaining the notion of “Speed to Fly” when soaring, I had the opportunity to catch up with and instructor at the Thames Valley club – he gave me the following tips to fly with efficiency when close to the hill in dynamic lift.

Those first few minutes and first turns after taking off are critical to gain enough height and avoid a top to bottom as well as to get a chance to find the first weak thermal that will see you climbing enough to extend your flight. Here is what you need to think about:

  1. Try to only turn in lift. Pilots always seem to fly religiously to the end of a ridge instead of turning as soon as they find lift!
  2. Find the lift band, is it wide or short, close or away from the hill? That can change from a day to another. Some days you need to fly close and other days fly further away.
  3. Slow your glider down in lift, not too much just a little bit.
  4. Gentle in the turns in light lift, be efficient, little opposite brake to prevent the glider banking up.
  5. Observe other gliders and birds, where is it working best?
  6. Think about wind direction and airflow, into wind ridges and spurs will always work.

Apply the tips above and you should stay up and be able to go and hunt for that first elusive thermal!