Glider Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

The Glider Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge contains all of the information that a student must learn to meet the FAA requirements, to pass the FAA written test, and to pass the SSA bronze badge written test.

In the back of the manual, you will find review questions for each section. They consist of a combination of original questions, and questions taken from the FAA Airman Knowledge Test Question bank. 

Inside the front cover of this handbook, you will find a list of topics titled “Aeronautical Knowledge Progress Record”.  The progress record includes every knowledge area that the student must master before taking the Private Pilot Knowledge Test, often referred to as the “written test”.  Every topic in the progress record corresponds to a section in this handbook. Extra copies of the progress record are available in the downloads section of this web site.

  • Covers all knowledge areas required to pass the FAA written and oral tests, and the SSA Bronze Badge Test
  • Logical, ordered, and complete presentation of material
  • Clear, straightforward writing and illustrations
  • Fully indexed
  • Glossary of soaring terms
  • 424 pages
  • 260 figures
  • 444 review questions
  • Includes "Knowledge Training Progress Record"

Price: $84.50 each
(discounts available for bulk orders)

Below is the detailed Table of Contents from the book.

Contents at a Glance

Table of Contents

To see the first 5 pages of any chapter, click on the Chapter Title.

Aeronautical Knowledge Progress Record


Using this Handbook
Aeronautical Knowledge Training Progess Record
Getting Your License
The Sport of Soaring
Your Feedback
About the Author

Chapter 1: Glider Familiarization

1.1 The Glider

Wing Configurations
Tail Configurations
Tow Hook Configurations
Wheel/Skid Configurations
Glide Slope Control

1.2 Flight Manual

Minimum Equipment List
Stall/Spin Recovery Procedures
Preflight Checklist
Assembly/Disassembly Instructions

1.3 Documentation

Airworthiness Certificate
Registration Certificate
Operating Limits
Weight and Balance

Chapter 2: Airport Familiarization

2.1 Operating Procedures

2.2 Airport Markings

Runway Designations
Segmented Circle
Wind/Active Runway Indicators
Closed Runway
Displaced Threshold
Taxiway Lines
Hold Short Marking
Taxiway Signs
Runway Holding Position Signs
Runway Distance Remaining Sign

2.3 Airport Lighting

2.4 Airport Traffic

Types of Aircraft and Pilots
Looking for Traffic

2.5 Wake Turbulence

Vortex Generation
Vortex Strength
Vortex Behavior
Wake Turbulence Avoidance

Chapter 3: Aerodynamics

3.1 Nomenclature

Airfoil Nomenclature
Glider Axis

3.2 Three Forces


3.3 Airspeed Limits

Stall Speed
Maneuvering Speed
Rough Air Speed
Maximum Aerotow Speed
Never-Exceed Speed

3.4 Turning Flight

Forces in a Turn
Slips and Skids

3.5 Load Factor

3.6 Stability

Pitch Stability
Roll Stability
Yaw Stability

Chapter 4: Performance

4.1 Glide Ratio

Determining Glide Distance
Determining Required Altitude

4.2 Glider Polars

Maximum Glide Ratio
Minimum Sink Speed

4.3 Effects of Wind


4.4 Effects of Lift/Sink


4.5 Effects of Wing Loading

Effect of Wing Loading on Best Glide Speed
Effect of Wing Loading on Minimum Sink Speed
Effect of Wing Loading on the Polar
Altitude Lost During a Turn

Chapter 5: Flight Instruments and Systems

5.1 The Atmosphere

Properties of the Atmosphere
The Standard Atmosphere
Measuring Pressure

5.2 Primary Instruments

Airspeed Indicator
Yaw String/Inclinometer

5.3 Secondary Instruments

Gyroscopic Instruments
Automatic Direction Finder (ADF)

5.4 Other Flight Systems

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)/Personal Locator Beacons (PLB)
Global Positioning System
Electronic Flight Computer
Flight Recorder
Oxygen Equipment

Chapter 6: Weather for Soaring

6.1 The Atmosphere

Composition of the Atmosphere
The State of the Atmosphere

6.2 Dew Point

Dew and Frost

6.3 Atmospheric Stability

Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate
Saturated Adiabatic Lapse Rate
Temperature/Dew-Point Convergence

6.4 Clouds

Classification According to Height Range
Classification According to Appearance

6.5 Fog

6.6 Precipitation

Freezing Rain/Drizzle
Ice Pellets/Hail

6.7 Weather Systems

Coriolis Effect
Mean Global Circulation Pattern
Air Mass Migration
Cyclonic Low-Pressure Systems
The Jet Stream

6.8 Describing the Weather

Weather Maps
Satellite Photos

6.9 Thermal Soaring Weather

Thermal Structure
Thermal Lifecycle
Air Masses Conducive to Thermal Soaring
Atmospheric Soundings
Skew-T/Log-P Diagram
Determining Thermal Conditions from a Skew-T/Log-P Diagram
Indices for Predicting Thermal Strength and Cloud Levels

6.10 Ridge Soaring Weather

6.11 Wave Soaring Weather

Understanding Mountain Wave.
Clouds Associated with Mountain Wave

6.12 Convergence Lift

Sea Breeze Fronts
Mountain Lee Convergence
Mountain Top Convergence
Valley Convergence

6.13 Predicting Soaring Weather

Scale and Timing of Weather Events
Sample Predictions
Practicing Forecasts

Chapter 7: Aviation Weather Services

7.1 Sources of Weather Services

Flight Service Station (FSS) and Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS)
Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS)
En route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS)
Transcribed Weather Broadcast (TWEB)
Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) and Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS)

7.2 Weather Briefings

Briefing Types
Obtaining a Briefing

7.3 Observations

Aviation Routine Weather Reports (METAR)
Weather Depiction Chart
Radar Summary Charts and Radar Weather Reports (SD)
Pilot Weather Reports (PIREPs)

7.4 Forecasts

Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF)
Aviation Area Forecast (FA)
Winds and Temperatures Aloft Forecast (FD)
Significant Weather Prognostic Chart

7.5 In-Flight Aviation Weather Advisories

Convective SIGMET

Chapter 8: Medical Factors

8.1 Physiological Issues

Middle Ear and Sinus Problems
Spatial Disorientation (Vertigo)
Motion Sickness
Decompression Sickness After Scuba Diving

8.2 Mental Issues

Extreme Emotion

8.3 Chemicals

Alcohol/Recreational Drugs

Chapter 9: Regulations

9.1 Definitions and Abbreviations

9.2 Maintenance Requirements

Preventive Maintenance
Approving Return to Service
Record of Required Inspections

9.3 Certification of Pilots

Required Documents
Limitations on a Certificate
Denying or Revoking Certification for Drug and Alcohol Use
Duration of Pilot Certificates
Prerequisites for Student Pilot Certificate/Solo
Student Pilot Limitations
Prerequisites for the Knowledge Test
Prerequisites for the Practical Test
Private Pilot Limitations
Pilot Logbook
Medical Requirements
Flight Review Requirements
Recent Flight Experience
Change of Address
Tow Pilot Requirements
Certificate Issued Based on a Foreign Pilot License

9.4 General Operating Rules

Responsibility for Operation of the Aircraft
Operating Limits
Dropping Objects from Aircraft
Alcohol or Drug Use
Portable Electronic Devices
Required Preflight Actions
Seat Belt Use
Formation Flight, Operating Near Other Aircraft
Right of Way Rules
Minimum Operating Altitudes
Inspections, Maintenance, Repairs, Alterations
Required Documentation
Altimeter Settings
ATC Clearance
ATC Light Signals
Aircraft Position Lights
Oxygen Requirements
Aerobatic Flight
Glider Towing
Experimental Category Aircraft

9.5 Accident Reporting

Chapter 10: Flight Publications

10.1 Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs)

10.2 Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)

10.3 Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)

10.4 Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD)

10.5 Advisory Circulars (ACs)

Chapter 11: Airspace

11.1 Why Have Airspace?

The Airspace Environment

11.2 Controlled Airspace

Class A Airspace
Class B Airspace
Class C Airspace
Class D Airspace
Class E Airspace

11.3 Uncontrolled Airspace

Class G Airspace

11.4 Special Use Airspace

Military Operations Areas
Alert Areas

11.5 Other Airspace

Airport Advisory Areas
Military Training Routes (MTR)
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR)
Parachute Jump Areas
Published VFR Routes
Terminal Radar Service Areas (TRSA)
National Security Areas

Chapter 12: Aeronautical Charts and Navigation

12.1 Latitude and Longitude

Time Zones

12.2 VFR Aeronautical Charts

VFR Terminal Area Charts (TAC)
World Aeronautical Charts (WAC)

12.3 Reading Aeronautical Charts

Physical Features
Controlled Airspaces
Radio Aids to Navigation (NAVAID)
Special Use Airspace
Other Airspace Areas

12.4 Navigation

Determining the Course Bearing
Determining Wind Correction Angle
Determining Time en Route
Dead Reckoning
Lost Procedures

Chapter 13: Radio Communications

13.1 Radio Technique

The Radio

13.2 Who Are You Talking To?

Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF)
Air Traffic Control (ATC)
Flight Service Station (FSS)
En Route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS or Flight Watch).
Air Guard

13.3 When to Use the Radio

Position Reports from Other Gliders
Glider to Crew
Relay to Ground Crew
Operating Around Uncontrolled Airports
Operating Around Controlled Airports
Operating In Special Use Airspace
Obtaining Weather Reports
Flight Following
Lost While Airborne
Emergency Procedures

Chapter 14: Personal Equipment

14.1 Attire for Flying


14.2 Food and Water


14.3 Parachutes

Parachute Storage
Parachute Preflight Inspection
Parachute Fitting
Bail-Out Procedure

14.4 Survival Kit

Food and Water
Medical Concerns
Suggested Survival Kit Items

Chapter 15: Cross-Country Soaring

15.1 Glide Slope Management

Safety Factor
Safe Glide Zone
The Glide Slope Ruler
Using a Glide Slope Ruler
Safe Glide Circles
Constructing a Glide Slope Ruler

15.2 Cross-Country Supplies

Personal Items
Navigation Items

15.3 Speed-to-Fly Theory

Speed Made Good
Maximizing Speed Made Good
Using a Speed Ring
Selecting a Speed Ring Setting
The Speed Ring and Maximizing Distance Covered

15.4 Getting Started

Practicing Skills

15.5 Choosing a Route

15.6 Flying the Route

Determining Winds Aloft
Go/No-Go Decisions
Pilot Attitude

15.7 Off-Field Landing

Recognizing and Accepting the Situation
Determining Wind Speed and Direction
Selecting a Suitable Landing Field
Pattern and Landing

15.8 Retrieve

Ground Retrieve

15.9 Crew Duties

During Flight

Chapter 16: Aeronautical Decision Making

16.1 Situational Awareness

What is Situational Awareness?
Areas Requiring Situational Awareness
Obstacles to Good Situational Awareness
Enhancing Situational Awareness
Situational Awareness Self-Assessment

16.2 Judgment

A Systematic Approach to Decision Making
Obstacles to Good Judgment
Enhancing Good Judgment

16.3 Self-Discipline

Obstacles to Self-Discipline
Enhancing Self-Discipline



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