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.
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.
wave soaring and sea breezes are all covered in a similarly
simplistic, but informative manner.
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.
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.
really is vital reading if you are coming up to Bronze or are
starting up your cross-country gliding career."