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The Soaring Pilot's Manual
Author:  Ken Stewart
Book, Paperback, 400 pages,
300 black & white line drawings, 2nd edition published in 2008
Dimensions: 5.91 x 8.58 x 0.87 inches (150 x 218 x 22 mm)

The Soaring Pilot's Manual advances the reader from elementary flying to confident soaring by clearly and precisely explaining the basic soaring mechanisms and techniques. Explanatory diagrams illustrate the text throughout, making a complicated subject simple to understand. Having covered the first steps, the book progresses to cross-country flying and the final section contains exercises that will be found useful for any glider pilot wishing to improve his ability and qualifications. The latest technology, such as GPS navigation and instrument systems is covered.

About the Author (from the back cover)
Ken Stewart started gliding in 1972 and by 1976 held an Instructor's Rating.  In 1982 he became National Coach to the British Gliding Association, a post he held for six years before becoming an airline pilot.  As National Coach he was involved in all aspects of the sport, including the training of instructors, and cross-country and competition training.  He is the holder of an FAI Diamond Badge.

Review by Pete Masson in the December/January edition of Sailplane & Gliding

"The Soaring Pilot's Manual was first published in 2000, and did a fantastic job of filling a void between beginners' books (designed to take you up to Bronze badge and pass the exams) and the rather more advanced "Cross Country Soaring" by Helmut Reichmann.  As such, the first edition was always recommended reading for soaring courses which I have run in the past. 

The book starts with the very basic principles of soaring.  It then starts on the weighty subject of thermals and thermal soaring.  Starting with the how and why thermals form, it moves on to describe thermal soaring techniques - from finding thermals, to some basic centering.  Whilst I wouldn't describe these techniques as "advanced", they form a regular part of my own flying (albeit as part of a larger pool of techniques), and are excellent for the level of pilot the book is aimed at.  Ken also deals with the common issues many people have with thermalling.

Hill soaring, wave soaring and sea breezes are all covered in a similarly simplistic, but informative manner.

Having dealt with soaring, the second part of the book deals with all other skills that make up a cross-country flight, and how to deal with them in a practical manner - starting with task setting and the factors to consider, and moving on to preparation of both self and glider for cross-country flight. 

Amongst others, further topics include speed-to-fly theory, water ballast, navigation and a very practical guide to landing out.  The book ends with a section on personal improvement - vital if you are keen to progress through the badges or to compete.

This book really is vital reading if you are coming up to Bronze or are starting up your cross-country gliding career."
 

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