HANDBOOK OF GLIDER AEROBATICS

This is a masterly treatment of a subject neglected in British gliding for decades but which has drawn increasing attention in recent years, despite the rarity of soundly aerobatic sailplanes as opposed to slippery cross country racers.

This is a masterly treatment of a subject neglected in British gliding for decades but which has drawn increasing attention in recent years, despite the rarity of soundly aerobatic sailplanes as opposed to slippery cross country racers.

This revival of interest in aerobatics began with the courses run at Lasham ten years ago by Polish maestro Josef Solski, whom both authors credit with firing their enthusiasm for unpowered aerobatics and first showing them how.

The renaissance of aerobatics in British gliding makes their handbook's appearance so valuable, if only to lessen the chances of some bold but untutored buffoons catastrophically trying to teach themselves.

Illustrated with some really striking outside and in cockpit photographs of sailplanes in aerobatic attitudes and very professional and effective diagrams, Mallinson and Woollard take their readers initially through safety considerations, including the aspiring pilot's physiology, flight envelopes and glider design. They give a thorough explanation of the internationally standard Aresti system of aerobatic notation which, as a young editorial assistant, this reviewer first nursed into English language print more than forty years ago.

After the background and essential theory, the nitty gritty how to fly the figures begins on page 43. With lavish half tone and line illustration this section runs for 76 pages.

The authors tell in close detail how to fly twenty aerobatic figures: eleven of them basic manoeuvres for tyros, and nine more advanced figures to be tackled as competence grows. The section ends with instructions on how to draw up a sample programme of ten or twelve compatible manoeuvres to form a flowing display from about 3,000 feet down to 1,200 feet, and Aresti charts for up to sixteen item sequences.

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The logical handbook format concludes with instructions on how to draw up your own type specific flight envelopes, for comparison, and a bibliography.

Beautifully presented and meticulous, it would be very hard to beat what is certain to become the bible of the unpowered aerobatics art. Even aerobatic aspirants who demand an engine up front as well as kinetic energy would benefit from digesting it. Bob Rodwell.