Key points of attention:
  • Look out for other traffic
  • The yaw string needs to point straight at you (coordinated flight)
  • Maintain your pitch attitude throughout the turn to keep a constant airspeed
  • Regularly check the position of the horizon
  • Fly with a constant bank angle and rate of turn

In Lesson 5, you have learned how to use the ailerons and the rudder simultaneously in the same direction. In this lesson, we will continue to practise coordinated steering while using some rolling exercises in which the glider should only rotate around its longitudinal axis. You already know that the secondary control effect of roll is adverse yaw. To correct for adverse yaw, we use the rudder and the ailerons at the same time, when rolling around the longitudinal axis. In this exercise you will fly towards a notable landmark on the horizon. Make sure you are in the middle of your seat and keep your head aligned with the headrest during the exercise. Do not lean against the turn. Now roll towards a small bank angle of about 20°-30° and simultaneously use your rudder. Only use the minimum amount of rudder you need to correct for the adverse yaw. This exercise is very helpful to get a good feeling for the amount of rudder you need when initiating a turn.

As we have stressed before, the most important safety rule in the world of gliding is to keep track of what is happening around you. A proper lookout is extremely important. Get used to regularly looking from side to side. For this purpose, we introduced the scan cycle (lookout - attitude – instruments, and so forth). We also encouraged you to tell your flight instructor about every aircraft or glider you see. Now, before starting a left turn, first check the airspace at the height of the horizon from right to left. You start by turning your head completely to the right, and then completely to the left. Tell you instructor what you see. If the airspace is clear of other traffic, you look back to the horizon and initiate the turn. For every turn you will ever make: first look and then initiate!

While turning, keep looking in the direction of the turn every four seconds or so. After all, a few seconds after starting the turn, you will fly through an airspace that you couldn’t see before.

You will fly your first turns at a bank angle of about 30°. We make turns by using the control stick; we only use the rudder pedals to compensate for adverse yaw (Lesson 2). Initiate the turn with coordinated aileron and rudder inputs in the same direction. When you have reached the desired bank angle, you need to return the ailerons and rudder pedals to their neutral position. During the turn, you will notice that the glider wants to lower its nose and fly faster (sliding in the direction of the lowest wing). You can prevent this by gently pulling the stick back a little (towards you). The outer wing covers a larger distance and therefore flies slightly faster, producing more lift. This would result in additional bank (more roll) if not corrected. To prevent an increase in bank angle, you need to apply some ailerons in the opposite direction of the turn. In other words, you will need to move the stick slightly to the right in  a steady turn to the left (and the other way around). The correct rate of turn is set by a slight deflection of the rudder in the direction of the turn.

Try to continue making turns at a constant bank angle. You are now circling. Check your pitch attitude regularly and look for other traffic, especially in the direction of the turn. Take a brief look at your flight instruments every now and then. If your bank angle and airspeed remain steady the yaw string will point straight at you.

If you fly straight, you will see the horizon as a horizontal line. When making a turn, you will see the horizon as an oblique line. When the position of this line remains the same, you are doing well in keeping the bank angle, the airspeed and the rate of turn constant.

In summary:
  • First look out for traffic!
  • Starting the turn -> coordinated ailerons and rudder in the direction of the turn
  • When reaching the desired bank angle -> return ailerons and rudder to their neutral position
  • To continue the turn -> pull the stick slightly backwards to maintain the desired pitch attitude and airspeed and use some counter aileron to prevent an increase in bank angle
  • To maintain a steady rate of turn -> Use a bit of rudder in the direction of the turn

To stop the turn we first need to look in the intended direction of flight, check if the airspace is clear, and find a landmark. If the airspace is clear, you simultaneously use the rudder and ailerons in the opposite direction of the turn. While rolling back to wings level, you will need to move the stick slightly forwards again to maintain your pitch attitude.