Gliding is a recreational activity and competitive sport where pilots
fly un-powered aircraft known as gliders or sailplanes. Properly, the
term gliding refers to descending flight of a heavier-than-air craft,
whereas soaring is the correct term to use when the craft gains
altitude or speed from rising air. After launching glider pilots
search for rising air to gain height. If conditions are good enough,
experienced pilots can fly many hundreds, or even thousands, of
kilometers before returning to their home airfields. However if the
weather deteriorates, they must often land elsewhere, but some can
avoid this by using engines. While many glider pilots merely enjoy the
sense of achievement, some competitive pilots fly in races around
pre-defined courses. These competitions test the pilots' abilities to
make best use of local weather conditions as well as their flying
skills. Local and national competitions are organized in many
countries and there are also biennial World Gliding Championships.
Powered aircraft or winches are the most common methods of launching
gliders. These and other methods (apart from self-launching
motor-gliders) require assistance from other participants. Gliding
clubs have thus been established to share airfields and equipment,
train new pilots and maintain high safety standards.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
John Milton published Areopagitica, arguing for the right to free
speech and against publication censorship during the English Civil
Cutty Sark, one of the last sailing clippers ever to be built, was
launched at Dumbarton in Scotland.
The People's Republic of China was given China's permanent seat on the
United Nations Security Council.
Omar Rezaq and two others from the Abu Nidal terrorist group hijacked
EgyptAir Flight 648 over the Mediterranean Sea.
Rose Revolution: Eduard Shevardnadze resigned as President of Georgia
following weeks of mass protests over disputed election results.
Wikiquote of the day:
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are
conscious of our treasures. -- Thornton Wilder