Glider

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Modern glider flying above a lake called the Lac de Serre Ponçon in the French Alps

Gliders are aircraft which do not have a motor. Gliders are controlled by their pilots by using control-sticks. Some gliders can only carry one person; others can carry two. In gliders with two seats, each pilot has a control-stick. Gliders always have seats for the pilots.

'Sailplanes' are gliders with long wings so that they will only lose height slowly. In some places a vertical draft makes the air go up faster than the glider is going down. The pilot of a glider can make it climb by flying to these places. This is called soaring. Good pilots can travel long distances by always finding rising air. Some pilots race each other over hundreds of kilometres each day. Other pilots just fly for fun.

The pilot's seat and controls

Gliders cannot get into the air by themselves. They are pulled into the air by an aircraft with a motor or they are pulled up by motor on the ground.

There are two other types of gliders. Hang-gliders have frames to give the wings their shape, but do not have seats for their pilots and do not have control-sticks. The wings of paragliders are like parachutes and so do not have frames to give them their shape. These other two types of glider are often launched from the tops of hills or cliffs.