How does gliding make you a better airline pilot?

3 flights of gliding plus theory are included in Quality Fly’s ATP Integrated Program. But how does gliding make you a better airline pilot?

We sat down with aeronautical engineer, Iberia pilot and Quality Fly Head of Training Sergio Gómez Brito. He explains what sailplanes are, and why you should consider them as an important part of your piloting journey.

 

What is a glider/sailplane?

A glider is an airplane with no engine. Actually, in the regulations the term used is “sailplane”.

"Gliding is the the purest form of flying and gets the best from any pilot"
“Gliding is the the purest form of flying and gets the best from any pilot”

What are the differences between a sailplane and a normal aircraft?

The difference is not only the lack of engines, but also the large wingspan. This gives the sailplane a high efficiency because of the high aspect ratio of the airplane. The cockpit instrumentation on board is also different. Additionally, you need a tow aircraft for you to take off.

How can the aspects of gliding be transferred into Quality Fly’s ATP Integrated program?

There are many aspects transferred into the professional studies we provide for future airline pilots. Our ATP Integrated students will not only get to experience gliding, but also get some theory classes to enhance their training.

There are 3 flights of gliding plus theory training included in Quality Fly's ATP Integrated Program.
There are 3 flights of gliding plus theory training included in Quality Fly’s ATP Integrated Program.

How can the skills learned from gliding help a commercial airline pilot?

There are many ways in which gliding can help a commercial pilot. One of them for example is manual flying. Like in any other aircraft, you have 3 axis, but in a glider you have to really work around them. For example, when you think about pitch control. In a glider, pitch control or elevator control is the only way you have to actuate on speed, so you get this extra awareness of the speed of the aircraft. Whereas, if you have an engine, you have another variable, another way of controlling speed that can somehow shadow the flight control that you have for pitching.

We can also think about airline control. When you are flying thermally you bank maybe 30, 45 degrees which is quite a lot, but in here it is quite common. You get an extra touch in feeling the aircraft, avoiding the stall at the same time when you are turning a thermal. All in all you get a better exposure to manual control and the feelings and sensations that an aircraft can provide you with. As a result, when you are flying a normal aircraft you will transfer those sensations into your flight.

Another benefit of gliders is that they are normally certified for aerobatics. They have quite a wide envelope of manoeuvres they can perform. Therefore, it is very easy to go a little bit further away from our normal straight and level flights. By doing so, we can complement and enhance the UPRT (Upset Prevention and Recovery Training) that we provide at Quality Fly.

Are gliding included in other areas of aviation?

Yes. In the air forces they normally gliding as a stepping stone into the formal flight training.

In short gliding is the purest form of flying and it has the advantage of getting the best from ANY pilot.

Recommended viewing: Can a 747 pilot fly a GLIDER? Why you should start with glider flying! Explained by CAPTAIN JOE.