Gliders on 25, Airplanes on 25

25n25Airplane Pattern in Green, Glider Pattern in Red

NOTE: Image is not to scale.

This case looks complex, but is actually rather simple. Since airplanes tend to fly a wider pattern than gliders, merely keep your pattern tight and you should be in good shape.

Vertically, the glider glide-path should be well above the airplane’s glidepath. So, the best approach is to attempt to time your approach to minimize the conflicts (be cautious of airplanes flying a “high final” to a “long landing”).

During pattern entry be extra aware of airplanes entering or remaining in the pattern.  Remain high initially and make s-turns for visibility.  After negotiating the entry, keep the pattern low and tight if possible.

One other big concern is a rope break.  If a glider turns back to land downwind while an airplane is departing there is significant risk for a head-on collision.  If wind permits, plan to turn left for a turnback.  But regardless of wind, do not launch if it looks like an airplane will be landing or departing shortly after glider launch.  Launch only when there is a healthy window of opportunity.


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