The objective of this lesson is to demonstrate the primary effect of the elevator.
The elevator is controlled by fore and aft movements of the stick. It is the most sensitive of the glider’s controls, and controls the Pitch of the glider. This in turn determines the Attitude, most easily described as the relationship of the glider’s nose to the horizon, or the amount of ground in view (ahead). It will also determine your speed through the air.
Gliders are laid out for the right-handed, so use your right hand to hold the stick. It is normal to hold the stick quite lightly – typically between the thumb and forefinger. There are times when you’ll need the full handful, in rough air perhaps, later in your training. The same applies when using a simulator joystick – you may want to rest your hand at the base of the stick, and practice moving it very gently.
So, in simple terms, when you ease the stick forward, do so gently. The nose will go down, and speed will increase (until the glider reaches an equilibrium in a new attitude). Easing the stick back again will cause the nose to rise, and put you in another attitude, with less ground in view and at a slower speed. If you move the stick back further, the nose will continue to rise, until you lose too much speed, at which point the nose will drop regardless of the fact that the stick is held well back. You MUST MOVE THE STICK FORWARD to regain sufficient speed before then returning to the normal attitude. When the nose goes down like this, we call it a Stall. When moving the stick forward to recover from a stall, you may not need much movement, but you WILL need movement forwards!
Alternative Video without animation.
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Further Reading and References
- Gliding From Passenger to Pilot, 2nd Edition: Pages 33-37, 85-88
- BGA Instructors’ Manual, 4th Edition: Section 2, Chapter 7
- BGA Instructors’ Reference Cards: Ex 5a
- Gliding: The British Gliding Association Student Pilot Manual, Section 4.2 and website.
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