Special Sub-Topic: Soaring and Gliding
|The first person to undertake a scientific study of flight, he used hang gliders and was eventually killed because he didn't understand stability.|
Otto Lilienthal. Lilienthal generated lots of information about the science of flight, and his work helped later inventors. Octave Chanute was a railroad engineer who compiled information about aviation in the late 19th century. Chanute also was a mentor to the Wright Brothers during their experiments. Wolf Hirth was the co-founder of the famous sailplane manufacturer Schempp-Hirth.
|The Wright brothers created the first successful airplane, but they started with gliders. When was their first man carrying glider built?|
1900. Though the glider could fly up to 300 feet with enough wind, it generated little lift, and was difficult to control. The Wright brothers also built gliders in 1901 and 1902 improving them each time. The 1903 flyer was really a powered and slightly improved version of the 1902 glider.
|This Schweizer sailplane has all aluminum wings, first flew in 1965 and has been the mainstay of training for years.|
2-33. Schweizer was one of the first glider companies in the United States; they produced a number of good designs. Unfortunately they never updated their line to include fiberglass, and as a result were put out of the sailplane business by German manufacturers. However, many of their gliders are still around and flying.
|A German sailplane, one of the first fiberglass ships in the world, considered by many to be the most beautiful of all sailplanes.|
Glasflugel Libelle. All of these sailplanes are fiberglass and the ASW 27 and LS-6 are today competitive sailplanes. The Libelle was the premier high performance sailplane when it debuted, and it looks very good to boot.
|Considered by many to be one of the greatest aerospace engineers of the 20th century, he designed the Gossamer Albatross and Condor. He was also a world champion soaring pilot.|
Paul MacCready. All of these men were aviation giants, but only Paul MacCready was a world soaring champion. He went on to found Aerovironment and build many interesting aircraft; including the Kremer prize winning human powered aircraft. He is now building UAV's. Martin Schempp co-founded Schempp-Hirth. For those who haven't kept up with aviation news for the last year or so Burt Rutan is the head of Scaled Composites, the company that built Space Ship One.
|Which mountain in Germany was the site of many early soaring endeavors, and now also has a soaring museum?|
Wasserkuppe. The Wasserkuppe holds a special place in the hearts of soaring pilots, perhaps something like Mecca; it is a place I would dearly like to visit. Harris Hill is the Wasserkuppe for the US, another place I would like to go. Mt. Tehachapi is the site of the world altitude record for gliders, at 49,000 feet, set in 1986. Mt. Elbrus is a tall mountain in the country Georgia.
|Now that we have covered some history, how do you stay up in a glider? Most soaring pilots, especially ones with no convenient mountains use what type of lift that involves warm rising air?|
Thermals. Bubbles are a type of thermal that is not continuous; when you can't stay up they are a convenient scapegoat too. Cumulus clouds often mark the presence of thermals, so they are very helpful as "blue" lift is harder to find. Heat vortexes are something I made up that sounded good.
|So you need to find a thermal, how are you going to know if you are in one? There is an instrument that will tell you, what is it?|
Variometer. Variometers are very useful, and are essentially a very sensitive rate of climb indicator. They are prone to lagging, especially if you have a mechanical one (another good excuse for why you can't stay up). The altimeter tells you how high you are, the airspeed indicator how fast you are going, and the pitot tube is the measurement device for the airspeed indicator.
|Unfortunately you'll need to land sometime, but you are in a glider, so you can't use the throttle to control your descent rate. What devices, located on the wings is used to reduce lift and increase your descent rate?|
Spoilers. The spoilers "spoil" the lift on the wing, and make the glider come down faster. The elevators control pitch, and can make you come down faster, but only in a dive. The ailerons control roll, and the flaps are used on most airplanes and some gliders to increase lift allowing a slower landing speed.
|Now that you have completed your flight, you want to learn more about soaring, this organization represents U.S. soaring pilots, produces some informational products, and provides an annual convention, among various other services.|
Soaring Society of America. The SSA is the answer, the rest I just made up. The SSA is a great organization that really helps us out, especially when the FAA looks at putting restrictions on our flying operations that would make it impossible to soar.
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