Glider Ground Effect Demonstration

t is simply mind boggling how far a glider can fly low to the ground and stay in what is called ground effect. Ground effect is simply flying very near the ground (under one wingspan from the dirt) and magically the lift is increased and drag is decreased. If you want to know why, do a google search. :) Haha. The net effect is it seems like the glider can just keep gliding right over the ground forever. In this video the glider flew over a mile in ground effect and only lost 5 miles per hour. Please do not try to fly like this or try to recreate this experiment. It is very easy to touch down too fast (I came very close!) or overshoot the end of the runway and then not have enough energy to pull up safely and turn back and land...

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+5 1. mosfet23 commented 2 years ago

One person's fun is another's brown pants moment.
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+2 2. Judge-Jake commented 2 years ago

I guess you had to be there;)
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+3 3. johannsommer commented 2 years ago

This flight is a impressive demonstration of the performance of modern gliders.
But the ground effect does little to this action, as the ground effect only reduces the so called induced drag. This induced drag means the fact, that pressurized air from the undersurface of the wing accesses the sucking upper surface of the wing at the ends of the wing by inducing a twirl going out from the wing ends. This induced drag amounts between 30% and 50% of the total drag of a glider at the speed of best efficiency, which are usually pretty low speeds.
But at the high speed the glider was running near the ground while the exercise, the induced drag , which can be minimized by ground effect, has no relevant impact to the total drag. This can simply be understood by the fact, that at the higher speeds the air at the undersurface of the wing simply has no time to access the upper surface of the wing and as the other drags are increased by the higher speed. But about 5% reduction of total resistance can anyway be induced by the ground effect even at the higher speed.
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0 4. snotraddict commented 2 years ago

#3 Glider Ground Effect is the pressurized air between the wings and the ground as the shape of the bottom of the wings pushes the air down against the ground. Maybe that's what your saying, but I don't read it that way. I live along the coast and see the large seabirds doing the same thing all the time. They fly/glide just off the surface of the water and many times off the surface of the breaking waves saving energy. Very cool to watch. I think this is exactly what he's demonstrating.