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Remote-controlled glider clocks 548mph to make a new dynamic soaring speed world record

Remote-controlled glider clocks 548mph to make a new dynamic soaring speed world record after launching from a windy Santa Ana hill

  • A new dynamic soaring world record was made in California
  • A remote-controlled glider top speeds of 548mph, beating the previous by 3mph
  • The technique uses high gusts of wind as the propulsion system
  • When thrown off a mountain, the glider will continue to loop around and around 

A remote-controlled glider sent flying off Parker Mountain in California has reached a speed of 548 miles per hour – breaking the dynamic soaring speed world record.

The pilot,Spencer Lisenby, tossed the unpowered ‘drone’ over the side of the mountain and watched it gain speed using wind as its propulsion system.

As the glider looped back and around, it let out a sound similar to that of a giant airplane as if it were to fly directly overhead.

The crew watched the glider whip through the sky, counting every increased speed until it hit the record breaking 548 miles per hour, or Mach 0.71, which is 3 more miles per hour than the previous.

A remote-controlled glider sent flying off Parker Mountain in California has reached a speed of 548 miles per hour – breaking the dynamic soaring speed world record. The pilot tossed the unpowered ‘drone’ over the side of the mountain and watched it gain speed using wind as its propulsion system

Dynamic soaring (DS) came about in the mid-1990s as a way to power model planes, but has since flown to new heights over the past 20 years – top speeds have since tripled.

Although humans have adopted the technique, DS is found in the wild among albatross.

The birds rarely spend time on land and when they fly, the animals barely flap their wings yet soar for miles.

The key to this technique is finding a sweet spot in the wind, which is why Lisenby and his team chose the top of Park Mountain.

The crew watched the glider whip through the sky, counting every increased speed until it hit the record breaking 548 miles per hour, which is 3 more miles per hour than the previous

The crew watched the glider whip through the sky, counting every increased speed until it hit the record breaking 548 miles per hour, which is 3 more miles per hour than the previous

As the glider looped back and around, it let out a sound similar to that of a giant airplane as if it were to fly directly overhead

As the glider looped back and around, it let out a sound similar to that of a giant airplane as if it were to fly directly overhead

The crew were able to capture gusts of 65 miles per hour when the glider took flight.

‘Strong Santa Ana conditions on Jan 19 2021 provided enough wind to bring the dynamic soaring speed record back to its birthplace of Parker Mountain, CA,’ reads the caption shared with the record breaking video on YouTube.

‘Wind gusted to 65mph and temps were 45-50F. This flight beat the previous record set in 2018 at Bird Spring Pass by only 3mph.’

DS is also being analyzed to help motorized drones soar just as fast, but the fastest has only clocked in speeds of 163 miles per hour. 

Joe Wurts is a glider pilot extraordinaire and aeronautical engineer identified DS some 20 years ago.

‘For quite a long time I’ve heard about ‘dynamic soaring’, but have almost never really used it in any operational sense while flying rc gliders, Wurts said in a previous interview.

‘In fact, I’ve kind of filed it under the Holy Grail category. Just one of those things that you read about. But I’ve now had a bit of practical experience with it.’

The key to this technique is finding a sweet spot in the wind, which is why Wurts and his team chose the top of Park Mountain

The key to this technique is finding a sweet spot in the wind, which is why Wurts and his team chose the top of Park Mountain

Wurts tested DS on Park Mountain years back, where he found the air behind the hill was completely separated.

‘It can be blowing 25 mph on the face, and behind the hill, it is almost calm and sometimes even blowing softly in the opposite direction,’ he explained.

‘It turns out that this is an absolutely perfect set-up for dynamic soaring.’

He then flew the glider straight down-wind over the hill, where the calm are sits and turned the craft around.

‘With each turn, you get an amazing boost in the energy of the glider. The first time I really played with this was with my Floyd, and on the second go-around I fluttered the wings.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk