The development of sailplane design and performance to the present day and beyond

24 May 2016

BAE Systems Park Centre, farnborough



Preceded by Branch AGM (19.00 - 1930)

Note: this is a change in lecture date and topic from that originally scheduled for May 2016.

Gliding and soaring have held a mutual relationship with mainstream aviation development ever since the experiments of Sir George Cayley in 1852, through the birth of modern aviation in the 1900’s to the present day.  This lecture will discuss the experiences of sailplane designers throughout the twentieth century, in pursuance of higher aerodynamic performance, and compare these with parallel applications of similar technologies in mainstream aircraft design.  It will draw on well-known aerospace design philosophies, and show examples of how they have been equally applied to the design of sailplanes, including the benefits and lessons learned.  The lecture will show how the continuing technological development has enabled sailplane pilots to continue to expand their wide soaring horizons.  The speakers will conclude with a forward look at how sailplanes may be developed into the future using both evolutionary and disruptive technology.

Speaker Details

Howard Torode and Afandi Darlington, British Gliding Association


Howard Torode and Afandi Darlington are career aeronautical engineers, both graduating from Imperial College London.   Howard worked formerly with RAE/MoD, and Afandi, with Airbus, Farnborough Aircraft Corporation and currently as a senior inspector with AAIB.  Both have enjoyed a long standing commitment to soaring as a sport, in which Afandi has competed at World Championship level, and both have a continuing interest in the design and technical and airworthiness of sailplanes.  They are both members of the British Gliding Association’s Technical Committee, of which Howard is the current Chairman.   Historically this body has been responsible for the national certification of all UK sailplanes since its inception in the 1930’s, and continues to operate in a responsible role under new European EASA regulation.



BAE Systems Park Centre, farnborough