Gliders Information

A glider or sailplane is a type of glider aircraft used in the sport of gliding. Some gliders, known as motor gliders are used for gliding and soaring as well, but have engines which can, in some cases, be used for take-off or for extending a flight. Foot-launched aircraft are described in separate articles, though their differences to sailplanes are covered below. Gliders have also been used for purposes other than recreation, for example for military purposes and for research.

Sports gliders benefit from creating the least drag for any given amount of lift, and this is best achieved with long, thin wings and a fully faired narrow cockpit. Aircraft with these features are able to climb efficiently in rising air and can glide long distances at high speed with a minimum loss of height in between.

Although most gliders do not have engines, there are a few that do. . The manufacturers of high-performance gliders will list an optional engine with a retractable propeller that can be used to sustain flight, if required; these are known as 'self-sustaining' gliders. Some have enough thrust to launch themselves before the engine is retracted and are known as 'self-launching' gliders. There are also 'touring motor gliders' which can self launch and switch off the engine in flight without retracting their propellers.

Wikipedia, Gliders, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gliders (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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