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Lesson 7a - Downwind Landing

Lesson Objective

Optimally, gliders will land into the wind. Occasionally, the glider must be landed with a tailwind.  This lesson plan covers the issues related to a downwind landing. On downwind approaches, a shallower approach angle should be used, depending on obstacles in the approach path. Use the spoilers/dive brakes and perhaps a forward slip as necessary to achieve the desired glide path.

Regulatory Requirement


  • Uses shallower approach path than normal
  • Uses spoilers and slips as necessary to attain desired glide path
  • Judges angles and descent rates correctly
  • Corrects for increased ground speed and loss of control effectiveness at higher ground speeds. 

Completion Standards

The student must be able to perform:

  • a satisfactory downwind landing.
  • maintains positive control of the glider on landing and roll-out.
  • judges angles correctly, and uses brakes or slip as appropriate

The student must be able to explain:

  • effect of a downwind landing on the glide ratio
  • effect of a downwind landing on the loss of controls at higher ground speeds
  • hazards of landing in excessive tail winds.

Prerequisite Study

Next Lesson: 7b -- Taxiing and Clearing Runway
Previous Lesson: 6e -- Pilot-Induced Oscillations
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