A form of lift occurs when the wind meets a mountain, cliff, ridge or hill. The air is deflected up the windward face of the ridge forming lift. Gliders can climb in this rising air by flying along the ridge making long passes. Another name for flying with ridge lift is slope soaring.
Locations for Ridge Soaring
Check the site guide for locations. Ridges good for soaring exist all over the country
Right of way rules
- Pilots lower than you always have right of way
- When near the same level, and two pilots are flying towards one another on the ridge, the pilot with the ridge on his/her right side has right of way
- When flying in the same direction, and over taking another pilot, the pilot on the inside has right of way
- At some sites, tandem pilots always have right of way
Conditions required for Ridge Lift
You need wind speed of anywhere from 8pm to 15mph blowing fairly straight into a ridge. Anything more than 45 degrees cross starts getting tricky. The more cross the wind, the higher the velocity required. The speed required also depends on the shape and height of the ridge. Some ridges are more optimal than others, but in general the steeper the ridge the better. Ridges can be as small as 5 feet tall and can sill be soared in higher winds. Really tall ridges, say 200+ feet that are steep can be soared in as little as 8mph.
Ridge soaring a small ridge in Australia