Glider Flies 548mph!

Glider Flies 548mph!

This glider’s high-speed passes will make your head spin! Perfect Santa Ana conditions allowed Spencer Lisenby to break the dynamic soaring speed record last year. The 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. Max acceleration estimated around 90-100G. Spencer must have nerves of steel!

Updated: January 10, 2022 — 3:38 PM


  1. This is probably a dumb question, but what exactly was the pilot doing? It would zoom by at 400+ mph, and then zoom by again IN SAME DIRECTION literally 2-3 seconds later. Was he just holding a constant vertical loop pattern?

    1. He’s using a technique called ‘dynamic soaring’. Essentially he is flying a near horizontal loop in and out of the wind shadow of the ridge. Every time he flys into the direct wind line, the a/c picks up more energy from the wind, and hence more speed as it dives back down into the shadow (at least that’s how I understand it). The challenges are to maintain the pattern, and to build a plane strong enough to withstand the g-forces.

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