How does a glider fly?

A glider has a wing with a special cross-section/profile. Similar to powered aircraft. The weight of the glider in the air is counteracted by the ‘lift’ generated by air flowing over and under the wing. Like any other aircraft the wing must be moving quite quickly through the air to generate lift. Powered aircraft achieve this using an engine to pull (or push) the aircraft forward. A glider must use gravity to help it ‘slide’ forwards through the air to generate the flow over the wing. So the glider is always descending relative to the air.

However, as the air in our atmosphere is constantly, moving gliders prolong flight using various forms of rising air, which we refer to as “lift”. Once launched to height by a tow plane or a winch, gliders seek out and fly in this ‘lift’. If the air is going up faster than the descent rate of the glider then the glider will climb higher.

There are several things that generate this ‘lift’. Often, it’s because large areas of air near the ground has been warmed by the sun, and warm air rises. This ‘warming’ can result in huge ‘bubbles’ or ‘columns’ of rising air. We call these ‘thermals’. As the warm and often moist air rises through the cooling atmosphere it reaches a level where the moisture in the air condenses, forming fluffy cumulus clouds.

There are other forms of lift. Mountain ridges form a barrier to the wind, the air is forced to move up and over the rising ground. Gliders can use this reliable form of lift to stay airborne and fly for long periods upwind of the high ground. 

Glider pilot fly their aircraft for long periods and often covering hundreds of miles. They are able to soar to cloud-base and even higher. And in certain conditions to 30,000ft and higher. 


Important Notice: Corona Virus [COVID-19]


** Following the announcement on Monday 23rd March 2020 - Black Mountains Gliding Club and Airfield is now closed other than for essential maintenance.

We are monitoring emails to the club. And if it is urgent you may also use the Contact Us form on this website.

The current position with regard to Flight Vouchers and Courses is this:

Trial Lessons already booked are now cancelled. We've endeavored to contact voucher holders. If you've not been contacted please accept our apologies. 
Vouchers for Trial Lessons and Air Experience Flights will have their expiry dates extended by 12 months.
Training Courses are under review depending on when they are scheduled for, and attendees will be contacted as required. The ones planned through to June have been cancelled!
We will not be able to take new voucher bookings until further notice. When we are up and running again we will have a significant backlog.
We look forward to meeting and flying you as soon as it is practicable and such difficult times are behind us!