Gliding (gliding) is a sport in which competitions are held on small non-powered aircraft heavier than air (gliders). The goal of athletes is to cover the distance in the minimum amount of time.
According to the researchers, structures heavier than air, which could make a gliding flight, existed in Ancient Egypt (2500-1500 BC). In ancient Greece, around 400 BC, the philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, strategist and statesman Archytas of Tarentum created and tested a flying machine that resembled a bird.
In this primitive machine, called the Dove, the inventor flew about 200 meters. The "wooden bird" was also invented in the 5th century AD. in China, Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Han dynasty.
In Europe, too, many attempts were made to create a non-powered aircraft heavier than air. One of the first sketches of this kind of structure was created by Emmanuel Swedenborg in 1714, and the first aircraft, much like a modern glider, was made in 1853 by Sir George Keighley, a scientist and inventor from England. On his flip-flop, he was able to fly several meters. The experiments of Otto Lilienthal (Germany), who worked on the creation of a glider at the end of the 19th century, turned out to be more successful.
It took not so much time to improve the design - already in the 20-30s of the XX century gliders became available and relatively cheap, gaining more and more popularity in many countries of the world.
The first world gliding championship was held in 1937 at Wasserkup (Germany). Today, this type of competition is held every 2 years for men, women and juniors under the auspices of the World Federation of Aviation Sports (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale), founded in 1905. Within the framework of this organization, an international commission FAI (International Gliding Commission, IGC), engaged in gliding sports, has been created.
Glider and glider are synonymous words. Initially, a glider was an aircraft with fixed bearing planes, which is heavier than air and is not equipped with a motor. The word "glider" was used to name the structural structure of any aircraft. However, after a while, these aviation terms really began to be used as synonyms (with the exception of some professional circles, where a glider is called an aircraft structure, and a glider is an aircraft). Moreover, the variant "glider" is used less and less often, being supplanted by the word "glider" both when it comes to a non-powered aircraft and when the design of the aircraft is meant.
Gliding is just a form of active recreation. In most cases it is. However, the most experienced pilots participate in regional, national and international competitions, which are held along a specific route, and allow glider pilots to demonstrate not only flying skills, but also the ability to optimally use the weather conditions of a particular area for the fastest and most accurate passage of a distance. In addition, many glider pilots take part in aerobatics competitions, performing rather complex figures (loops, rolls, inverted flight, etc.), each of which is judged by judges according to the level of difficulty (K-factor). The calculation also takes into account the correctness and precision of each maneuver - points are awarded only for a perfectly executed aerobatics figure.
Any adult and healthy person can learn to fly a glider. In this sport, there are certain restrictions: the maximum weight of the pilot (taking into account the parachute, when assembled, weighing about 2 kg) can be no more than 103 kg, height - up to 193 cm.Taller people can also master this sport, however, they this will experience certain inconveniences.
Glider control can be mastered in a few days. Yes, but the student will be able to go on the first independent flight only after 50 training flights with an instructor and training on the simulator (used in the case when due to worsening weather, outdoor training is impossible). It should be borne in mind that an independent flight does not mean the completion of training. The student must acquire skills in distance flight and, in some countries, pass exams in navigation, glider control, radio use, etc.
Gliding began in the 1920s when gliders became safe, cheap and affordable. Yes it is. However, one more reason for the emergence and development of this sport should be added. The fact is that after the First World War, according to the Versailles Peace Treaty, a restriction was imposed on the manufacture and use of single-seat aircraft equipped with motors in Germany. It was as a result of this that German engineers and aircraft designers were forced to concentrate almost all their attention on the development and improvement of non-powered aircraft, and the pilots were looking for ways to use various atmospheric phenomena to increase the speed and range of gliders. In addition, with the active support of the government, training of future military pilots was conducted under the guise of sports exercises.
The active development of gliding sports in Russia began only after the Second World War. Completely erroneous opinion. At the beginning of the last century in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Crimea and Tbilisi, the first circles were created that taught gliding. The official date of the beginning of the mass development of gliding is considered to be November 7, 1923, when all-Union glider tests were held in Koktebel, and the first USSR records in this sport were recorded. In 1934, the title of Master of Gliding Sports was established, many gliders of original designs were created, and by 1941, 13 of the 18 world records registered by the International Aviation Federation were set by athletes from the USSR. Gliding was included in the Unified All-Union Sports Classification in 1949, and on November 2, 1994, the Russian Gliding Federation was established.
Gliding competitions have been included in the Olympic sports. This is not entirely true. Demonstration competitions in gliding were indeed included in the program of the XI Olympiad (Berlin, Germany) and this sport was supposed to become Olympic in 1940. However, due to the outbreak of World War II, the Olympic Games were canceled. After the war, it turned out that there were several reasons that hindered the inclusion of gliding sports in the Olympic list. The first - there was an acute shortage of gliders, the second - a certain standard was not adopted, according to which models for competitions were to be made (the glider society feared that as a result of such standardization, the improvement of the glider design would be suspended). Later, proposals to introduce gliding into the Olympics program were rejected by the International Aviation Federation due to the lack of public interest shown in this sport.
For the manufacture of gliders, wood and light metals are used. For a long time, glider wings were made of wood, and the fuselage was made of steel tubes. Modern aircraft of this kind are most often created from lighter and stronger man-made materials. However, there were also quite original design ideas, for example, a glider constructed from inflatable rubber elements was created in the USSR in 1934, and in 1935 it successfully passed field tests. According to practical research, it is quite possible to make a glider from a material that would seem completely unsuitable for this purpose - concrete. However, flights on such a glider will be rather difficult and dangerous, and not because of the heavy weight of the machine, but because of the fragility of the concrete structure.
The glider can cover rather long distances, but if the weather turns bad, the pilot will have to make an emergency landing. Nowadays, in good weather, experienced pilots can cover distances from 100 to 1000 km (the distance flight record set by Klaus Ohlmann on January 21, 2003 is 1 008 km). The very first glider models showed much worse results. For example, the designs of Keitley and Lienthal could transport a person to a distance of only a few meters, and the first world record, set in 1920 at Wasserkup (Germany), was only 2 km. Worsening weather can actually lead to an aircraft landing in an unplanned location. Only motor glider pilots who can start the engine and complete the route at the desired point are insured against this.
A glider not equipped with an engine is unable to take off from the ground. It really is. In order to launch the glider, an auxiliary technical device (self-propelled winch, car, towing aircraft) is required, to which the glider is attached using a hemp rope or a metal cable and towed for some time, giving it the necessary acceleration. After that, the glider pilot disconnects the cable (moreover, if we are talking about a self-propelled winch, the cable, the length of which is 1000 m, is lowered to the ground using a small parachute). For starting from a slope, shock absorbers are most often used, for tensioning which requires concerted efforts of a group of 2-3 or 8-10 people (depending on the type of shock absorber used).
Motor gliders can take off on their own. Some motor gliders (for example, the so-called cruise) are equipped with only low-power "cruise" engines that start after takeoff, and serve only to gain altitude, regardless of the presence or absence of strong ascending air currents. However, these engines are not suitable for self-starting the glider. Self-starting can only be performed by aircraft equipped with motors of sufficient power.
When being towed by an airplane, the glider must be above it in order not to get into a turbulent flow. The glider can be behind the towing aircraft, either in the above position (so called "high tow", prevalent in Europe and the USA), or kept below the aircraft ("low tow", more commonly used in Australia). It is possible to simultaneously tow two gliders - in this case, one of them (attached to the aircraft with a long cable) is in the low tow position, the other (attached with a short cable) is in the high tow position.
The cheapest way to launch a glider is with a winch. However, it should be remembered that in this case the launch altitude is not so high, therefore, if within a few minutes the pilot does not have time to detect an ascending air flow strong enough to carry the aircraft to a high altitude, the flight will not last long. In addition, if the winch is started, there is a danger of the rope breaking.
Towing a glider by car is a lot like flying a kite. This is true when it comes to the direct towing method. When using the "reverse pulley" method, the car does not move in the same direction as the glider, but approaches it.
A glider that has made an emergency landing can be quickly returned to the airfield by calling for a towing plane. Yes, but it should be noted that, firstly, for the landing and subsequent takeoff of the towing aircraft, you will have to obtain the permission of the owner of the area where the glider has landed. Secondly, the glider pilot will have to pay for the entire time that will be spent on the evacuation (starting from the moment the towing aircraft takes off from the airfield). Therefore, it will be much cheaper to use the services of a specially equipped trailer (although it takes a little longer).
Thermics are easy to spot by their cumulus clouds or "dusty devils". Indeed, ascending air currents (thermal currents or thermals) resulting from the heating of a certain area of the earth by sunlight can lead to the formation of cumulus clouds. Sometimes, if several thermals are formed in a row, a "street of clouds" is created - in this case, the pilot can easily fly a very long distance without losing altitude. However, if the air humidity is insufficient, or as a result of inversion, warm air rises too high and moisture condensation does not occur, clouds will not form. And the "dusty devils" (small tornadoes) do not always indicate the location of the thermal, so pilots have to carefully monitor the variometer (vertical speed indicator), the readings of which help determine if the glider has hit the thermal (in this case, the aircraft will rise).
Thermals are associated with specific landscape details. It is difficult to associate thermals with any specific detail of the landscape, but it has been noticed that this type of ascending air currents is most often found over asphalt roads, freshly plowed fields, cities, power plants, as well as in fire zones.
The same thermal flows are suitable for gliders, hang gliders and paragliders. Hang gliders using a fabric wing stretched over a rigid frame for flight and paragliders using a fabric wing without any rigid frame can gain altitude in very weak and narrow thermals. For larger and heavier gliders, thermal fluxes of somewhat larger sizes are needed. The exception is primary and microlift gliders, and the former can only rise in thermal currents, but are unable to leave them for a flight to the next thermal.
Gliders that fall into a strong thermal gain the highest altitude. No, the highest (not 15 km or more) can be raised by a glider using the force of wave currents (constant waves generated in the earth's atmosphere, most often in mountainous terrain). In this case, the main danger that awaits the pilot is a lack of oxygen, therefore glider pilots wishing to fly over mountain ranges must necessarily stock up on special equipment to avoid hypoxia and hypothermia. At the meeting point of two air masses - warm and cold (convergence zone), created by the sea breeze or arising in the desert, there is also the possibility of a fast direct upward flight. And an aircraft caught in a strong thermal on a plain can take off a maximum of 3000 m (the lift will be slightly higher in the mountains). And, finally, flow streams (appear where the wind, upon colliding with an obstacle (rock, high bank) rises upwards) can contribute to the rise of the glider to a height of about 600 meters in the event that they are not reinforced by thermal flows generated, for example, as a result heating the rock by the sun.
The lighter the glider, the faster it flies. In thermals, light aircraft with an unstable wing will indeed climb faster and higher, but at higher speeds, during the flight between thermal currents, the wing balancing drag is best minimized. To this end, pilots flying over a distance are stocked with ballast water, which is placed in special bags or tanks attached to the ends of the wings.It improves the aerodynamic qualities of the glider at high speeds, as a result of which the aircraft spends less time on the route than the unballasted glider. If the lifting force of the thermals is not as high as expected, or if there is a danger of an unplanned landing, the ballast can be easily and quickly disposed of by opening special valves.
Glider pilots do not fly in winter. Strong thermal currents appear in middle latitudes only in spring and summer, while in winter such formations are much weaker and occur less frequently. However, in spite of this, glider pilots do not stop training in winter, using wave flows and flow flows, the strength of which is less dependent on the change of seasons.
Glider competitions take place along the route developed by the organizers of the competition. Not necessary. There are gliding disciplines that involve flights (both for the accuracy of following the distance and for the distance) along the route chosen by the pilot.
The passage of certain points of the route is marked with the help of special equipment installed on board the glider. Yes, these days, using a GPS tracker, the location of the glider is recorded every few seconds. By analyzing the data obtained by this apparatus, it is possible to determine how accurately the pilot was following a given course. Before the aforementioned technical devices appeared, the passage of certain points of the route was confirmed by other means. At first, people on the ground, by visual observation, determined whether the glider had followed a given course, later the pilots themselves photographed the turning points, and were required to provide photos to the panel of judges.
During the competition, the simultaneous start of several gliders is not practiced. Yes, when it comes to national or international competitions. But recently, a new format of competitions has appeared - the Grand Prix, which provides for the simultaneous start of several gliders, a circular route (participants overcome it several times in a row) and a simplified system for determining the winner. According to the organizers, competitions of this kind contribute to the popularization of gliding.
There are decentralized gliding competitions that do not involve all competing pilots in the same location at the same time. In order to take part in the Online Contest (OLC), the pilot only needs to upload files with information about the pilot, aircraft and GPS data on any flights carried out over a certain period of time.
Gliders are used only for entertainment or for the preparation and competition of gliding athletes. Yes, if we are talking about sports gliders, either without an engine at all, or equipped with a low-power engine, which is used only during takeoff and ascent, and then retractable into the fuselage. But there are other types of gliders (for example, tourist or general-purpose motor gliders), equipped with a more powerful engine and capable of carrying a rather large load, the scope of which is much wider. For example, aircraft of this kind are used for military purposes (as a reconnaissance) and to protect the state border. Also, gliders are used for patrolling roads, monitoring the state of gas pipelines and power lines, performing aerial photography, and sometimes act as an air taxi (for example, if you need to urgently deliver a doctor to a remote settlement).
Nowadays there are many problems that prevent the popularization of gliding sports. Unfortunately, this is true. After World War II, gliding did not develop because there were very few gliders. But even when the number of machines increased, the circle of gliding enthusiasts did not expand as quickly as we would like. The reason for this is, firstly, competition with related sports (paragliding and hang-gliding), which require much lower costs, secondly, the increase in air traffic intensity, and thirdly, insufficient advertising coverage of gliding competitions (due to some peculiarities television coverage is difficult). And, finally, the hobby for gliding is an occupation that takes a lot of time and requires a lot of financial investments.
There is nothing in common between a spaceship and a glider. The flight characteristics of the aforementioned aircraft are really not very similar. But it should be taken into account that a space shuttle equipped with wings both descends and lands in glider mode.
Glider Gimli is named after the designer who created this aircraft. The Gimli Glider is the unofficial name for one of the Boeing 767s owned by Air Canada. The aircraft received this name after July 23, 1983, making a flight from Ottawa to Edmonton, as a result of engine shutdown (out of fuel), it was forced to continue its further flight in planning mode. The plane landed safely in the area where the Gimli military base was once located. But such a case should not be considered an isolated one. There are many examples of successful planning and landing (splashdown) of aircraft, which for some reason have failed engines. For example, on August 21, 1963, a Tu-124 aircraft with idle engines successfully splashed down on the Neva. On August 24, 2001, Air Transat's Airbus A330-243 landed without fuel in the Azores. On January 15, 2009, the plane A 320 of US Airways landed on the river. Hudson after a collision with a flock of wild geese (birds got into turbines, which led to engine failure), etc.
On an old glider, it is impossible to be the first to reach the finish line and win the competition. In some cases, the main thing in the competition is not speed, but the manifestation of the pilot's skill. For example, during competitions in the club class, in order to equalize the chances of winning cars of different (sometimes very outdated) designs, a handicap (correction factor) is added to the results of the competition, which minimizes the role of technical perfection of the design in achieving the best result. Therefore, sometimes the aircraft that finished among the last, after evaluating the whole complex of factors taken into account, can take one of the first places in the competition.
Glider, hang glider and paraglider belong to the same type of aircraft. Despite the very significant differences in design, some types of gliders (primary gliders used for training novice pilots and microlift gliders) really belong to the type of gliders - aircraft with a low wing loading (maximum - 18 kg / m2) ... Hang gliders and paragliders belong to the same type. All other gliders with high wing loading (FAI and out-of-class) belong to the type of sailplanes proper.
The world record can be set on any glider. No, according to the FAI classification, all gliders are divided into 2 classes: championship, suitable for national and international competitions, and record - within this class, the highest achievements in competitions are registered.
The championship class includes:
• club - a class that unites all gliders that belong to any flying clubs;
• standard class - created in the 60s. XX century. The maximum wing span is 15 m, wing mechanization is prohibited (with the exception of air brakes, which do not increase the lift of the structure). This aircraft is lightweight, easy to operate and maintain;
• class 15 meters - unlike the standard one, it can have a powered wing;
• class 18 meters - differs from the previous one only in wing size. Some manufacturing companies take advantage of this by releasing machines with wingtips of different lengths, by changing which you can get gliders of 2 different classes;
• open class - gliders included in it are created without any restrictions. Therefore, aircraft of this kind most often have a large wingspan and take-off weight, good flight characteristics and a rather high price;
• class 20 meters double - has a wingspan of no more than 20 m, was created specifically for use in flying clubs for training pilots;
• world class - included aircraft that matched in all characteristics with the PW-5 gliders made in Poland. It was created in 1996, but did not gain wide popularity, and on January 1, 2001 it was abolished;
• 13 meters class - appeared on January 1, 2001 as one of the alternatives to world-class gliders. With a wingspan of 13 meters, this aircraft has good flight characteristics, and is most often used for recreation and training of novice glider pilots.
• open class - combines gliders of 2 championship classes: 18 meters and open;
• class 15 meters;
• world class (abolished in 2001);
• ultralight class - unites aircraft, the maximum weight of which does not exceed 220 kg. Within this class, a subclass of microlift gliders is distinguished, which, due to the design features (the wing load should not exceed 18 kg / m2), can use small air currents (microlifts) to climb, which are usually only available to paragliders and hang gliders.
You can build a glider yourself using information from the Internet. Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to find detailed drawings on the Internet according to which it would be possible to make all the parts by yourself and create a glider "from scratch". Most often, materials of this kind are just an image of a general view of the aircraft, supplemented by sketches of the main units and some components, guided by which you can only create a glider, having a set of relevant parts at hand. Although there are glider models (Carbon Dragon, Woodstock) designed for DIY construction.