Assessing Slope


  • Look at the local terrain
  • Water collects at the bottom of a slope
  • Ponds / streams
  • Look at field from two sides.

Assessment of slope should be made not just by looking at the field you have chosen, but also at the surrounding countryside as well. A pilot may be reluctant to do this for fear of losing sight of his field. Remember that if the slope is clearly visible from the air then it is probably too steep to land on. It is worth noting that slope may only be seen when viewed from a particular direction and so it is useful to fly around the chosen field/area and see it from different directions.

Slope, if detectable from the air, it must be emphasised, is acceptable only for an uphill landing, even to the extent of landing downwind. The judgement problems on both counts – slope and tail wind – should be recognised:

  1. The round-out will have to be started slightly higher than usual because the glider has to be rotated through a larger angle than when landing on the level.
  2. The perspective of the field will give the impression that the glider is high on the approach. To help appreciate this, think of a good approach to a level field and then visualise the significance on approach judgement of rotating the field towards you. It will appear that the glider is high on the approach and correction with the brakes may cause an undershoot.
  3. There may be turbulence, curl-over (turbulence in the lee of hills), or a marked gradient to make approach control more difficult.
  4. Remember that if you are gliding downwind, the fields you will have the better view of slope towards you, and will be downhill for an into-wind approach.
  5. The glider may well roll back and a serviceable wheel brake may be essential.