What is Soaring?
Soaring is flight powered by the air that the airplane travels
through. Rising currents of air, whether caused by wind deflected
by a cliff or mountain, or whether bubbling up from warm ground,
can lift an airplane to great heights, and keep it aloft for hours
at a time.
Birds use this source of energy; the circling hawk rises in
thermals over the deserts; the seagull glides along cliffs and in
front of ships; the wandering albatross can surf the air pushed
along by waves at sea.
R/C Soaring uses small (and not so small) aircraft, controlled
by radio signals, to exploit the same energy for fun and for
competition. R/C Soaring pilots compete to stay aloft the longest,
or for precise periods of time; they seek speed both against the
clock and against each other; they fly aerobatics; and they fly
just for the sheer fun of watching a plane dance among the clouds.
Soaring has the unique property that each flight is an
individual challenge in and of itself. You must find lift every
time, or you will come down. At first it seems impossible that a
plane can be supported in invisible air and then you find that
first thermal, or toss a plane off a cliff and like magic it rises.
R/C Soaring is divided into many specializations. Some of these
are recognized at the international level by the FAI, and at the
national level, in the USA, by the AMA.
Broadly these are: