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This thread is privately moderated by phil alvirez, who may elect to delete unwanted replies.
Nov 11, 2015, 07:07 AM
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glider or sailplane

i have been compiling opinions on the subject:
1.-"All sailplanes are gliders, but not all gliders are sailplanes.
2.-A glider is any airplane without an engine.
3.-A sailplane is a glider that is aerodynamic enough that sustained flight is possible by using rising air currents to maintain altitude, or even to climb.
4.-A glider that is not a sailplane is not expected to maintain altitude or travel very far. During world War II the US, Britain, and Germany all used large troop carrying gliders. These could in no way be called sailplanes.
5.-The words are virtually interchangeable but generally a sailplane is a high performance glider. Some gliders have engines to allow them to takeoff or stay aloft longer but they are referred to as motor gliders. Usually a glider has a glide ratio of less than 20:1. 20 feet forward for every foot down. Some sailplanes have glide ratios of more than 50:1 but there is no clear cut definition of the glide ratio when a glider becomes a sailplane.
6.-They're interchangeable. It's only a matter of semantics.
7.-From a certification point of view, a sailplane really doesn't exist.
8.-The license in your pocket will say glider on it.
9.-A glider is designed to descend in a controlled manner, whereas a sailplane is designed or intended to be able to climb in lift."

in our case with models, as powering a glider/sailplane to get to altitude, mostly with an electric motor, we call them ' electric sailplanes (or electric gliders').
i myself call my planes 'sailplanes' because they can get into thermals. and the 1 i agree most is #9.
anyway, i think that we can call ours whatever we find more to our liking. as long as we understand what kind of planes we are talking about.
above all, enjoy them.
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