A Bit about the Author

I have never been to the southern oceans or seen an albatross that wasn’t stuffed in a museum.

I am not a professional scientist, I am a retired professional pilot with a lifelong fascination with bird flight of which dynamic soaring is a part and flapping flight is another (don’t get me started on that).

What I am bringing to this subject is over 40 years and 16000 hours of flying experience on over 30 different types, including gliders. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that nothing good ever comes from a wind gradient or a wind shear. (Although it turns out that is not exactly the case for the albatross). During 13 years of flying instructing I had to teach new pilots how to handle the weather in general and wind gradients in particular, so I know how counter- intuitive wind gradients can be. Because of that I know that a purely theoretical approach to flying does not always provide the complete answer and that you have to experience wind shear at the controls of an aircraft to understand the logical steps to explain it.


Flight of Birds... Rayleigh 1883

Mechanics of Flight... AC Kermode 1972

Avian Flight... J J Videler 2010

Natures Flyers... D E Alexander 2002

Birdflight…Otto Lilienthal trans Markowski 1889

Birds in Flight... C L Henderson 2008

Gust Soaring…. CJ Pennycuick 2002

Minimum shear wind strength….G Sachs 2005

In-Flight Measurement of Dynamic Soaring in Albatross…G Sachs et al 2010

Experimental verification of dynamic soaring in albatrosses G. Sachs et al 2013

Albatrosses...WLN Tickell 2000

Manual of Ornithology... NS Proctor PJ Lynch 1993

Ornithology... FB Gill 2007

Eye of the Albatross... C Safina 2002

Birdflight... G Ruppell 1975

Modelling the Flying Bird... CJ Penycuick 2008



New Banner