Ridge Soaring

Ridge soaring is dependent on three factors.

  1. The presence of a suitable ridge, probably not less than 600 feet high.
  2. Wind of suitable strength; a minimum of 10 knots and ideally 15-25 knots.
  3. The angle the wind strikes the ridge must be suitable with a maximum of 30 degrees to perpendicular for suitable lift.

The best lift is found at an angle away from the ridge on the windward side.  The higher you climb in the lift the farther upwind you must go to keep in the lift.  Areas of poor lift may arise where the ridge bends.

Turbulence can often be severe if wind speeds exceed 25 knots.  When the wind is blowing at an angle greater than the optimum and thermals are forming, they may line up with the ridge in streets.

Ridge lift is flown by using a 'crab' angle away from the ridge and by keeping one wing slightly over the crest of the ridge.  It is very important not to stray to the downwind side of the ridge as the turbulence can be extreme in this area.

  1. Always fly in front of the ridge.
  2. Always enter ridge lift at an angle not exceeding 45 degrees.
  3. Always have a field picked out to land in.
  4. Make all turns away from the ridge.
  5. When passing another sailplane pass to your right.  The sailplane with the ridge on its right has the right of way.
  6. When overtaking another sailplane from behind always pass on the ridge side.
  7. Make all 360 degree turns well above the ridge.
  8. Beware of birds.  Always pass above and behind them, never beneath. When frightened they will dive.
  9. No loose objects in the ship.
  10. Carry survival equipment.
  11. Never fly directly above or below another sailplane.
  12. Ridge lift is best at the crest of the ridge.  If you are sinking below the crest you will not be able to climb back up!