The 15-Meter Class restricts wingspans to 15 meters or 49.2 feet. These sailplanes use flaps and interconnecting control surfaces, water ballast, retractable landing gear to increase performance.
The 18-Meter Class is similar to the Open Class except with a wingspan restriction to 18- meters or 59 feet.
A hinged portion of the wing that provides a banking or rolling force.
The speed of the glider in relation to the air it is flying in.
The ratio between a glider’s span and the cord of the wing. Long skinny wings are said to have a high Aspect Ratio.
To tip or roll around the longitudinal axis of the glider. To bank to turn the glider.
A category of competitive glider established based on wingspan performance or pilot characteristics
The head honcho at soaring competitions – the one who calls tasks and is responsible for ensuring that the contest is a safe, fair soaring competition.

The up and down movement of the atmosphere normally related to thermal action.

Support personnel who assist the pilot on take off and landing and retrieve the pilot if they land off field. Typically a friend or family member.
A could type whose origin is upward moving air. Typically these clouds look like fluffy cotton balls in the sky.
The force opposing the forward motion of the glider (wind resistance when you stick your hand out the car window).
The horizontal movable surface of at the tail used to control pitch.
Federal Aviation Administration is the governing body of civil aviation in the U.S.
Federation Aeronautique Internationale is the world governing body of aeronautical contests and records.
Feminine Class is restricted to female pilots.
The fixed vertical tail surface, used to provide directional stability.
An imaginary line that all competitors must fly through to finish the day’s competition.
Hinged portion of the wing normally toward the fuselage that alters the lift and drag characteristics of the wing
Sophisticated computer that takes measurements of distance and performance to show the pilot the distance and speed they can glide to reach a point.
An electronic file that is a recording of the altitude and position of competitors while in flight. Normally generated by a secure recording GPS. Also called a Flight Trace.
The area consisting of the cockpit and tail of the sailplane
For gravity, the load on a glider is stated in terms of multiples of the force of gravity. Three “G” would equal three times the load than applied by gravity alone.
A group of sailplanes circling tightly and sharing a thermal to climb in.
The ratio of forward to downward motion. Forty five feet forward to one foot down to is called a glider ratio of 45:1
Global Positioning System. Used by competitors in conjunction with a flight computer and a secure recorder to navigate and make a record of the day’s flight.
The International Gliding Commission (IGC) of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) is the Air Sports Commission which is responsible for all air sports activities involving gliders and motor gliders with the exception of glider aerobatics.
Junior class restricted to pilots under the age of 26.
A unit of speed 15% faster than miles per hour.
Landing someplace other than the contest airport sometimes in a farmers field.

The characteristic cloud of lee waves normally found downwind of mountains.

The maximum performance of a sailplane normally expressed as Lift over Drag.
An event sanctioned by the Soaring Society of America for a single class of glider. Establishes the US national champion for that class and is used to select the U.S. Soaring Team.
With Open Class sailplanes anything goes so wingspans can be up to 90 feet in length allowing these marvels to travel 60 feet forward to one foot down for a glide ratio of 60:1.
An open-ended tube that faces toward the front of the glider that measures the impact air pressure for airspeed.
Aviation band 720 radio. Contestants use 123.3 and 123.5 for competitions.
A day that no contest is held normally due to weather
A warning mark on the airspeed indicator that corresponds to the maximum airspeed for the glider.
A Soaring Society of America sanctioned a relatively local competition in one of the twelve regions in the U.S. with several classes.
The hinged vertical control surface used to induce or overcome yawing.

A motor less craft that can climb using atmospheric forces alone. Referred to interchangeably as a glider.

The daily tally of the competitors ranked by points and standing.
Unable to say aloft. Implies the weather rather than the pilot was a fault.
Descending air currents.
To fly without power from and engine without loss of altitude.
The maximum distance between wingtips.
Devices that disturb the airflow across the wings and create drag. Normally used for landing.

The Sports Class was developed to give older, lower performance sailplanes a fair competition using handicapping.

Soaring Society of America – The national organization responsible for soaring in the United States.
The Standard Class are similar to the 15-Meter sailplanes except without interconnecting control surfaces or flaps.

An imaginary cylinder or “beer can” from which competitors must exit to begin the race on any contest day. Also called the Start Cylinde.

The day’s competition course, normally including several turnpoints, around which competitors must fly on any given contest day. There is a different task chosen by the Contest Director each day and is weather dependent.
Turning in tight circles to keep the sailplane inside the column of raising air.

Raising columns of warm air that allow sailplanes to gain altitude.

A point that is designated by contest organizers that contestants must navigate to complete a task.

Sensitive rate of climb indicator that allows competitors to climb efficiently in thermals.
Water put in the wings of the sailplanes to improve high speed performance.
The World Class is the one design class in which all gliders are restricted to a single design.
A few inches of yarn on the front of the canopy indicating slip of skid.


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