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Thermals - Our invisible engine.

Without thermals, the vast majority of our flights would be very short. As glider pilots we rely on them to maintain and gain height. It's quite a skill to recognise and make the most out of them.

How do thermals work?

Put simply, the sun heats the ground unevenly which causes differences in air temperature. Warmer air rises and condenses as it cools forming clouds. Our challenge is to find these rising pockets of air and exploit them. We do this by turning tightly in their centres where the rising air is at its strongest.

Our local thermal generators.

Burn Gliding Club is located only a few miles from three local power stations. The are like our own thermal generators which can guarantee good gliding on some of the most unlikely flying days. As well as providing a great, reliable way to practice thermaling they act as superb landmarks helping navigation for miles around.


In all our gliders we have at least one variometer which indicates the rate of climb or fall. Electric variometers are also fitted with an audio beeper which indicates to the pilot if the air around the glider is rising or sinking. This allows the pilot to focus on what is going on outside the aircraft whilst getting a feel for where the middle of the thermal is.

Making the most out of Thermals.

In the spring / summer thermals are at their most active; allowing pilots to stay airborne all day. However, where you get rising air, you also get sinking air and there are many techniques pilots adopt to maintain height. Flying faster through sinking air and slower through rising air help us to retain height.
Forthcoming Events

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2nd June - 5th June

643VGS Reunion at Burn GC

10th June

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24th June - 26th June
Burn Gliding Club, The Airfield, Park Lane, Burn, Selby, North Yorkshire, YO8 8LW, United Kingdom
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