Soaring is a leisure and competition air sport. Glider pilots, called “vélivoles” in French, enjoy the freedom that mastering their “air Formula One” gives. Whatever the experience standards of a pilot could be, he can always try to learn more and improve his knowledge of the sport, to discover new possibilities.
In our Club, you will meet a lot of highly experienced instructors, who will help you through all phases of your glider pilot training. Our CFI will always be available to set up for you all forms of courses that will match your flying level and wishes. Some pilots enjoy flying a long time in the vicinity of the airfield, others challenge themselves and try to perform the longest possible out-and-return flights. To achieve that, they must constantly be aware of what is going on in the sky, to find the better lifts that will enable them to cover the greater distance in one flying day.
How can a sailplane gain height
Thermals allow the sailplane to gain height
How can a sailplane cover long distances?
Flying from one lift to the next one to cover the greatest possible distance
These flights can be:
- either in a straight line towards a defined goal
- or out-and return or “triangle” flights
- or the longest possible freely-chosen distance.
Flying above the Alps
If, for some of us, soaring remains a mere leisure activity, for some others, it has become the means of optimizing their performance, up to possible record-breaking. Experienced pilots have one goal in common: perform the longest cross-country flight and come back to their home base late in the evening after covering 300, 500, 750 or sometimes 1000 kilometers.
If he fails, most of the time for meteorological reasons, the unlucky pilot may have to conduct an outlanding in a field, what is called “faire une vache” in French. He will then have to wait for the retrieve crew, who will come to the field with a trailer, to de-rig and bring the sailplane back home.
As it seems to the newcomer, soaring is an individual sport. In fact, it is a genuine team sport.
There is no defined age to fly a glider and improve one’s knowledge. A soaring club is a kind of melting pot where all generations meet, men and women, young and old. The young pilots may learn a lot from experienced ones.
A few world records to illustrate what a sailplane makes possible:
The current world records will help you to understand the high aerodynamic standards of recent sailplanes. In calm air, a high-performance sailplane can fly up to 60 km for a loss of altitude of only 1000 m, which means a one-degree glide angle only.
- free distance : 3009 km
- longest triangle flight : 2405 km
- best speed on an out and return flight: 306 km/h
- highest altitude ever reached: 15460 m