Cross Country Magazine Tuesday Tip

This week's tip is from Bruce Goldsmith, and is from an Icaristics column he wrote for a previous edition of Cross Country magazine

The Pitching Game

Learning about swing and pitch is an important part of becoming a good pilot.

You can start with pitching exercises on your glider. This is pretty safe and can be practised any time you go flying and get a reasonable amount of ground clearance – at least 200m (650ft). (Warning: do this only in calm conditions.)

Fly straight and level and simultaneously apply both brakes to slow the glider down. Just pull them 20cm or so at first. Then release both brakes quickly and the glider will surge forward in front of you.

You will then swing forward to follow the glider; as you do so you gently apply the brakes again. In this way you can get into a pitch oscillation and it can really be quite a fun game.

You can play around with the timing and amplitude of the swinging so that you train your reactions to understand the movements of the glider.

Start slowly and gently at first and then as you get more and more confident let the glider go further and further in front of you.

It is amazing how far in front of you it is possible to let it go before you get a front collapse. Be careful though: do not let the glider surge lower than about 45 degrees to the horizon.

It is important to get used to starting and stopping the oscillation quickly and safely at will.

The difference between getting it to start or stop swinging is just in the timing of the brake application. This is why practice is the only solution.

Pitched forwardPhoto: Marcus King

Cross Country Magazine Issue 147 The latest issue of Cross Country magazine is available at