Everybody's First Gliding Book!
45 Bite-Size Articles To Help You Start Gliding
From the Gliding Made EasyTM Series

Author:  Bob Wander
Paperback, 96 pages, Published in 2008
Dimensions: 8.39 x 10.87 x 0.31  inches (213 x 276 x 8 mm)

Overview by Bob Wander
What does a newcomer want to know about soaring? This can be a hard question for soaring experts to answer, simply because the soaring expert has been hanging around soaring for decades, and has entirely forgotten what it feels like to be new to the sport of soaring.

As the owner/operator of a very active glider flight school and glider ride service, I have enjoyed many years’ worth of experience answering, as best I could, the questions that newcomers ask (or would like to ask but are too shy to ask). These questions covered the entire gamut from “Is it as much fun as it looks?” to “Will I die?” As the author of a monthly aviation magazine column - Beginner’s Corner - for SOARING magazine, I had the opportunity to organize and collect my answers to newcomers’ questions and write them for publication. 

Some of the articles in this book are the descendants of those articles, re-written and updated for this book. Alongside these updated pieces are twenty new articles that have not appeared in SOARING magazine, nor anywhere else. So, what you hold in your hands is a new book, aimed right at you, the newcomer. I have done my best to provide you with straight talk and honest answers to the questions that most people want to ask about gliding.

When you are at the very beginning of your aviation journey, everything about soaring is new, beautiful, and strange. The aircraft are streamlined, unfamiliar, exotic-looking, and they are made out of different materials than you would use to make a new car or a house or a toaster oven. Gliders are at the same time remarkably strong (as in their wingspars) and remarkably fragile (as in their Plexiglas canopies). They move with great grace through the air but are elephantine when you have to drag them around on the ground. They are mainly white - ever wonder why? They are essentially handmade, and they are expensive. To me, they are all beautiful. 

Getting into a glider is more like climbing into a race car than it is like climbing into a normal automobile. The glider tips left and right, like a boat, as we handle the glider on the ground. And when the canopy closes over your head for the first time, just before your first flight, it feels like you are getting ready for a launch to the moon in your slender cocoon. 

Once airborne, the sensations of flight are new. They may be disturbing as well. For most of us, at some point in our aviation exploits, these sensations are upsetting enough to induce motion sickness. Ground-dwelling creatures need time and practice to adapt to the sensations of flight. In much the same way that sailors accommodate themselves to the motion of their boats on the sea, sky voyagers must accommodate themselves to the motion of their aircraft through the sky. 

The view outside the canopy is different than the view in an airliner, if for no other reason than the fact that gliders are lower and slower in flight than airliners usually are. The flight instruments in the instrument panel are foreign and exotic looking. Even the lap belt and shoulder harness that we wear in the glider are different from the automobile seat belts we use in everyday life.

They are very safe and are beautifully engineered, but they can be dangerous if flown poorly or maintained poorly. 

When so much is so new, it’s easy to understand why newcomers ask so many questions. 

This book will help you answer questions such as:

  • Can an ordinary, normal person (... errrr, umm, like... me?) learn to fly gliders?
  • Is gliding really fun? What’s it like to learn to fly? Where should I go to learn to fly?
  • What risks am I undertaking as I learn to fly?
  • What are the medical requirements to become a glider pilot?
  • If I get airsick, what can I do about it? Does it mean that I cannot learn to fly?
  • Why is learning to fly so frustrating at times?
  • What is a learning plateau, and why do I feel so stuck on one?
  • How important are the flight instruments? Do they always tell the truth?
  • What books and Web resources are available if I decide to learn to fly gliders?
  • What tests do I have to take to become a glider pilot?
  • What flight maneuvers must I learn?
  • How many lessons will it take for me to go solo the glider for the first time?
  • How much will it cost to get to solo standard in a glider?
  • Are there national standards for glider pilot training? If so, where are they found?
  • What books and materials will help me to learn to fly? Where can I buy them?
  • Does the FAA know about this glider thing? Does the FAA set training standards?
  • What Federal Regulations will I be required to study?
  • I am an airplane pilot. Will my airplane skills help me in glider flight training?
  • Is the glider maintained as carefully as airplanes are required to be maintained?

And dozens of other questions and answers, as well. I hope this book helps you to make your dream of flight come true. 

Safe soaring,

Bob Wander

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Everybody's First Gliding Book!

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