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Soaring Achievements: Track 1

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How does an aircraft without an engine stay up in the air? What factors affect a glider's performance and how far it can travel? Scientific experiments with gliders have been carried out since the 1930’s, particularly with relation to design. Mathematical modelling is used to make and refine gliders that perform as well as possible. The 8 video tracks on this album describe some of the highly mathematical concepts used by pilots, such as glide angle, the ‘best speed to fly’, and the intricacies of competition flying. The principles of gliding are described with the help of 3D graphics and archive film. This material makes up part of the course MST209, Mathematical methods and models.

By: The iTunes U team (The Open University,)

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Track 1: Soaring Achievements

A short introduction to this album.


© The Open University 2009


Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Soaring Achievements    A short introduction to this album. Play now Soaring Achievements
2 Gliding - an Introduction    A brief history of the sport of gliding- flying an airplane without an engine. What factors affect a glider's performance. Play now Gliding - an Introduction
3 Mathematical Modelling    The role of mathematical modelling in gliding, focusing on The British Overseas Nationals, a modern racing competition held in Le Blanc, France. Play now Mathematical Modelling
4 A Lesson in Flying: Gliding Performance    Ann Welch explains how to actually fly a glider. The Rhonsperber and Primary gliders are compared, with relation to glide ratio. Play now A Lesson in Flying: Gliding Performance
5 Clouds and Thermals    Ann Welch explains what a thermal is and why they are important in gliding. Play now Clouds and Thermals
6 Performance Penalty: Speed    A test flight demonstrates the performance penalty associated with speed, and how the results are plotted to generate a polar curve. Play now Performance Penalty: Speed
7 Design for Headwind    The materials used to build a glider, focusing on the weight of the wings and how this affects performance. Play now Design for Headwind
8 Launching and Tracking    Brian Spreckley explains how gliders in the British Overseas National will be tracked. Play now Launching and Tracking
9 The Art of Flying    The constant process of modelling whilst flying, focusing on lift and glide speed. Pilots at the British Overseas Nationals discuss their flight. Play now The Art of Flying