Glider Launch Recovery Procedures and Flight Maneuvers

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In the early days of soaring, gliders were launched from the top of a hill into the wind by means of bungee cord, a stretchable cord made of rubber bands. The tail of the glider was held back or tied down, and the bungee was attached at its midpoint to a hook on the nose of the glider. Then, a group of people took each end and, when the signals were given, they walked, then ran with the bungee as hard as they could. When the tension became quite high, the tail tie-down was severed, or released, and the glider shot ahead as though it had been launched from a slingshot.

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As gliders got heavier and better, pilots began to look for improved ways to launch. It was not long before enthusiasts began to use cars to pull shock cords and then to pull the gliders by the long wire or rope. Once again, improvements in technology and equipment were introduced and powered winches and airplane towing became the preferred method of launching gliders.

This section discusses several glider launch techniques and procedures along with takeoff procedures, traffic patterns, flight maneuvers, and landing and recovery procedures. Additional information may be found at the Soaring Society of America (SSA) website at www.ssa.org and the Soaring Safety Foundation website at www.soaringsafety.org.

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