11 April 2013 – An Introduction to Gliding

Roger Castle-Smith

It was great to see some blue skies and sunshine, albeit slides in a presentation on gliding in New Zealand. 

Roger Castle-Smith detailed the major types of gliders starting with the Slingsby first flown in 1944, up to the modern 31M wingspan with an amazing glide ratio of 72:1  Of course, only a few of those have been made, the more available being the 25M wingspan with a very useable glide ratio of 58:1.  

Roger told of the modern instruments available for gliders. Apart from the usual airspeed indicator, altimeter, compass, bank and slip, was the vertical speed indicator which showed when the glider was in rising air, or the opposite. Also useful in the cockpit are the glide computer, moving map display and flight alarm. The location of restricted flying areas are detailed on the aero charts.  Roger then explained how the gliders get into the air.  The first method detailed was the winch utilizing about a half mile of cable to tow from the ground.  The club Roger is associated with has mounted four reels side by side on a vehicle which results in more launches and less time in retrieving the cable. Gliders can also be launched by aero tow, which results in a start from a greater height.

 Roger detailed some records made in gliding, such as the highest flight of 50,671 feet in 2006, also the longest journey without landing of 1,554 Miles in 15 hours.

  Roger then showed a video of a gliding flight from Omarama Gliding Club, New Zealand to Mt. Cook, and back, but instead of landing on the airfield, the pilots chose to fly to the western side of the island and land on a beach. The entire flight was over mountains and deep valleys. 

glider in NZ