Thermaling Technique

     The basis of good thermal technique is flying a round circle concentric with the area of lift. Most circles in lift should be banks of 30- to 40 degrees at the minimum sink speed for that bank.  Speed control is essential to keeping any circle truly round, and the key to that is holding a constant attitude.  Perhaps the single most common error in all aspects of soaring technique is moving the stick far too much while neglecting to use the rudder with necessary precision.  Think critically about the way you handle your aircraft. It is not possible to maintain a constant attitude while jerking the stick.  The effective way to work a thermal is to lightly hold the stick, using it to steady the aircraft, while controlling attitude and direction as much as possible with positive, light pressures from both feet.  (Fine, light, modern sailplanes require less rudder action – but even less stick, as well!)

     Once a particular thermaling turn is established, use the attitude of your ship‟s nose on the horizon to fix all three axes – roll, pitch and yaw – as solidly as possible.  Concentrate your vision for several moments (not minutes!) at a time straight ahead as your sailplane’s nose rotates across the horizon.