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Course Name:
ALC-903: NAFI - Glider Concepts for Powered Flight Training
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Presented by:
Aeronautical Proficiency Training, LLC
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In the absence of thrust, soaring pilots by necessity tend to develop a deeper, more extensive, and sometimes unique understanding of some important flight-related knowledge and a specific set of skills.  Many soaring pilots who started out flying powered aircraft readily admit the knowledge and experience gained flying gliders made them better power pilots.

Ultimately, the purpose of this course was to help ensure the development of better/safer powered pilots by introducing their instructors to the following list of glider-related concepts.

  • understanding the aerodynamics of gliding flight
  • maximizing glide performance by compensating for
    • atmospheric dynamics
    • aircraft load factor
  • maximizing time aloft
  • managing the other energy system (potential / kinetic)
  • improving risk management via
    • expanded situational awareness
    • sharpened aeronautical decision making
    • improved flight planning
    • expanded margins
  • improving airmanship via
    • greater discipline
    • expanded maneuvering skills
    • greater precision/finesse
    • higher level of proficiency



  • Glide Ration is defined as the Horizontal Distance divided by the Change in Altitude
  • The force of lift is always perpendicular to the aircraft's flight path
  • A Glide Polar diagram shows the relationship between Airspeed and Rate of Descent
  • Best Glide Airspeed coincides with Minimum Total Drag
  • When gliding into a headwind, best glide airspeed is Greater than POH best glide airspeed
  • Aerodynamically, best glide performance is a function of angle of attack.
  • Best glide airspeed Increases with aircraft weight
  • The best Speed-to-Fly 
    • maximizes aircraft performance
    • achieves a specific flight objective
    • is specific to a given situation
  • Best glide performance is always based on Ground Speed
  • If you flight objective is to maximize time aloft, the Speed-to-Fly is the Minimum Sink Airspeed
  • What are the advantages of slowing to Minimum Sink Airspeed??
    • More time to attempt an engine restart
    • More time to brief passengers
    • More time to configure the aircraft for an off-airport land
  • For which of the following maneuvers would a greater level of experience help ensure the safe outcome of a forced landing? 
    • Power-off Approaches / Accuracy Landings
    • Descent Control (forward) Slips
    • Ground Reference Maneuvers
  • Which of the following would help ensure the safe outcome of a forced landing?
    • A route of flight that maximizes proximity to an airport
    • Maintaining a higher cruising altitude
    • Knowing how to maximize the aircraft’s glide performance