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You might already have seen what looks like strange white birds flying noiselessly in the sky: Gliders.

Soaring flight, sailplanes - In volo sul Mugello

You might also, have asked yourself how it is possible to fly without an engine.


To glide, is to move, in the air, by using all the energy derived from the atmosphere's vertical movements. This energy can allow us to fly to the stratosphere's borders and it also makes it possible to fly trips of hundreds, or even thousands, of kilometre.

Soaring flight, sailplanes - Immagine tratta dalla rivista Airone

Gliding is, before anything else, the ability to stay up in the air. Except for any propelling device, a glider with all of its equipment can only head downwards within the element in which it moves; the air. To be able to stay at the right altitude or even go higher, the pilot must find the spot
where the air moves upwards with enough trust to lift him further up.

Soaring flight, sailplanes - Immagine tratta dalla rivista Airone

The newly achieved altitude can be used, by the pilot, in order to reach another atmospheric ascensional stream, and therefore making it possible to fly for hundreds of kilometres.

Soaring flight, sailplanes - Immagine tratta dalla rivista Airone

The zones where the air moves upward are known as ascensional streams and they are created, mostly, from the sun's heat. Therefore, the pilot's attention will have to be concentrated on the need to find these areas which will enable him to continue his flight, providing he bears in mind the length of the sunny period is what determines the flight's duration.

Soaring flight, sailplanes - Immagine tratta dalla rivista Airone

The pilot has to accept these limitations. With some degree of philosophy, the taking off in an aircraft without any means of propulsion, means the pilot has to realise that landing anywhere is a serious possibility. To push the limitations as far as possible, gliders have become some of the most aerodynamic of all sporting devices abd equipments. the most aerodynamic of them all. The utilization of such high technology allow us to extend, more and more, our field of action and, nowadays, the most experienced pilots can even plan intercontinental flights.
However, gliding remains an exceptional recreational sport which is within everyone's reach.

Who can glide?
-Over the age of 16 years old (there aren't any other age limitations)
- In good health (there is a periodical mandatory medical check- up)
- A member of a gliding club can participate.

Taken from Home page FFVV - juillot@gtech.fr
Translated from French by Giancarlo Bresciani - giancabr@tin.it
Translated from Italian by Polly Bateman pollybateman@hotmail.com