How to Pilot a Glider or Sailplane : Using Hand Signals for a Glider Flight

How to Pilot a Glider or Sailplane : Using Hand Signals for a Glider Flight


Hi! My name is Gene; I’m glider flight instructor
on behalf of Expert Village. We can’t really depend always on radios and you can’t communicate
audibly because of the noise of the airplane engines and the distances involved, so almost
everything is done by universal hand signals. Same signals are used all over the world by
all glider pilots, and it’s a standard everybody has to learn before they start flying. We’re
ready to hook up the tow line now. We use the visual and audio signals. Open means I’m
opening the release. Closing slowly; that gives him a chance to attach the rope to the
glider. Okay, now we’re connected. The next step is to tighten the rope between the tow
plane and the glider, and then we’ll be ready to launch. As soon as the rope is tight, we’ll
close the canopy and run our check list to make sure that we’re ready to fly. Our checklist
is a simple a, b, c, d. A is altimeter; B is belts and harness; C cable, canopy, and
controls; D is dive brakes closed and locked; E is emergency plan. We’re ready to go. I
give a thumbs up to the wing runner. He checks for traffic. Lifts the wing for me. And then we fan the rudder back and forth
as a signal for the tow pilot to go, and he will fan back showing he’s ready. There’s
his signal. Now we’re ready to launch. He’ll fly first. As soon as we’re off the ground
he’ll fly and then we follow him up. You can see his wings on this horizon.

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