Landing Process

It is good when possible to take a look at the landing area whilst on the ground.  Identify hazards and plan an approach.

A good landing needs a final stable approach into wind with airspeed and a final flare. The idea is to get the ground speed as low as possible as your feet touch the ground.

Landing Approach
Get to your landing area with plenty of height this will allow you to assess conditions and identify hazards, work out which way the wind is blowing by looking at the windsock or smoke, washing on the line, wind on water. You can do some turns and look at your ground speed to see which is the slowest into wing. Choose a spot that you want to land in and work back from there to decide where your final into wind glide and your base leg will be. Choose marker points between both ends of your base leg.

Choose if you are going to do a figure of 8 approach or a U-Approach or Constant aspect approach

U-Approach or Constant aspect approach
Decide if you are going to do a right or left handed U turn approach, your choice may depend on where is clear of obstacles.  Decide where your base leg will be depending on the wind strength.  The stronger the wind the closer you want to be to your landing for your final into wind leg.   Lose height in front of the landing to one side, it is much easier to judge your height when you are on the side rather than if you are over the top of the landing.

You can be in a gentle 360 turn whilst losing altitude, when you feel like you are at the right height then fly down wind turn 90 degrees onto your base leg, then 90 degrees onto your final. Keep your eyes on the point you want to land on to judge your glide angle depending on the wind conditions. If you are still high then stay on the base leg doing figure of 8 turns into the wind. Slow the wing down to minimum sink to initiate your turns look, lean and let your hand up a little whilst still keeping enough brake to stop the glider diving.  If you are at minimum sink and pull a brake down to turn you risk spinning your wing.  If the point you want to land on moves up in your field of view then you are getting too low.  If it moves down then you are getting too high, if it stay still you are on target.

If you have turned onto your final and you are still too high you can either make gentle s turns or if the wind is smooth and you are still high at the start of your finals you can slow down to minimum sink as this degrades your glide angle then slowly let the brakes up to full speed with contact on the wing.  (letting up too quickly will make the wing pitch forward too much) and keep the speed looking far into the wind on the horizon.

If you need to adjust your course use body weight shift don't initiate any low level turns using brakes as this will cause you to pendulum. As the ground comes to you look ahead and give a final even smooth full flare this changes the speed into lift.  You are trying to bring your groundspeed as low as possible. If it is windy you don't need to full flare or you will be lifted up backwards.


You need speed when coming into land!  Anytime near the ground you have wind gradient effect which is caused by the air being slowed down due to going over obstacles on the earths surface.  As you drop down from higher winds into lower winds near the ground the gliders stall speed changes so that a normally safe brake height can actually induce a parahutal stall meaning the air stops flowing properly over the wing and you descend very quickly. In extreme cases it can cause a full stall.  (One incidence where this can happen is with big ears in coming into land in a sheltered field and pumping them out. very dangerous - always let your big ears out whilst high and if you need to pump them do it one at a time. )

Again if the air is very turbulent near the ground  - let the wing fly with speed maintaining brake contact ready to control any pitches or collapses.

If you come into land and you realise you are too fast and are facing downwind.  Assess your altitude to see if you can safely turn. Don't do any last minute low hook turns near the ground as they will bank the wing and pendulum you into the ground. If you need to land downwind keep your speed with the brakes high and fully flare just above the ground and do a parachute landing fall.

Focus on the gaps! not the obstacles on landing.  If you look at the hazards that is where you will go, focus on the area that is clear and that you want to land in.  Look ahead into the wind.