To fly as free as a bird, high above the surface of the earth - that is a beautiful experience. Everyday all around the world new glider pilots become mesmerized by the game of slowly gliding down and then gaining height again by circling upwards in rising air. Often it is hard work finding this rising air and making the correct circles to get the best climb. Not having an engine demands that you keep looking for solar energy to stay in the air. On other days, when it is exceptionally fine gliding weather, you’ll easily find lots of rising air, indicated by cumulus clouds. Racing from one cloud to the next you are able to cover great distances. On those days you know that flying gliders is the best hobby there is.

Gliding is a team sport. You cannot learn it from a book or a flight simulator. You need to be in the front seat of a two-seater glider with your instructor in the back. Before each flight your instructor will brief you what the exercises are for this particular flight. During the flight he or she will then first demonstrate each exercise before it’s your turn to try. And after each flight there will be a debriefing, in which your instructor points out what you did well and what your goals for the next flight are.

This booklet is a handy tool in your flight training. It describes the essential basic flying exercises and provides you with the minimal theoretical knowledge needed to understand each exercise. Reading up on relevant exercises before carrying them out will help you understand the instructor’s briefing and debriefing better. At the same time, a good preparation saves you valuable flight time trying to understand things while flying.

In gliding the learning process never stops. Like Formula 1, gliding is a technical sport. Several factories worldwide are continuously developing new gliders and equipment to improve the performance of existing gliders. New flight computers, high-tech sensors and better flight instruments give the pilot improved navigational guidance and more precise indications. Every new flight will be very different from the previous one. After you completed the elementary and advanced training to obtain your license, you can specialize in long distance flights, competitions, instructing, touring motor gliders or even aerobatic gliding.

It is not necessary to buy your own glider. Most clubs and schools have very up to date and well-maintained equipment. If you are thinking about getting your own glider, we recommend that you wait until you’ve finished all of your training. The cost of a glider varies from an old second hand car all the way up to the rate of a big house with a swimming pool. It’s always best to seek advice from experienced pilots before you decide to buy your own glider.
Please keep in mind that training will differ at every airfield since no two locations are the same. For example; if there are hills or mountains close to your training airfield you will need a more extensive training to obtain a different set of skills than a pilot training in a flat country like the Netherlands. Usually a new pilot needs to make at least 40 to 70 landings with an instructor before the first solo flight.

Glider flying training is divided in 3 parts
1. The elementary training in a two-seater glider until your first solo flight
2. The advanced training until reaching your glider pilots license

3. The advanced training which prepares you for further steps like cross-country flights, aerobatic flying, mountain flying, cloud-flying or flying with passengers or students

The layout of this book is the following: first we will explain what the safety rules at an airfield are and what you will need to know about the procedures on an airfield. Then we will talk about some basic knowledge of weather conditions and aerodynamics. Finally, we will take you through 35 lessons, coupled to +/- 40-70 flights building up to your first solo flight. This first solo flight is an incredible experience that every pilot remembers for a lifetime.

At most gliding clubs and schools the atmosphere is very informal. New and experienced pilots work together to have a great day on the ground and in the air. This book was written in the same spirit; we have chosen for an informal style to guide you through the first steps in what we hope will be a long and enjoyable gliding career.

This is what it is all about: thermals!
Thermals are rising columns of hot air, often below a cumulus cloud. In a thermal, a glider is able to make small circles and climb up to what pilots call the cloudbase. Leaving the thermal at high speed trying to find the next one – gliding from cloud to cloud - you can cover very long distances.

The authors of this website Roelof and Dirk Corporaal

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