Flare Theory

The key to a good flare:

  1. maximize your total speed
  2. efficiently convert speed into lift

Leading into the flare, your first priority is to maximize your total (3D) speed. The secondary goal is that it's better to be closer to 1:1 glide ratio than straight headdown. This is because if you are flying straight headdown, you will first have to convert more of your vertical speed into horizontal speed before you can start turning it into a climb.

After you have built up speed, the next stage of the flare involves slowly increasing your angle of attack, to exchange speed for increased lift.

This is a balance of factors. If you flare too quickly, you will have more drag, lose efficiency, and not gain as much altitude. If you flare too slowly, you will be subject to gravity for a longer period of time, and not gain as much altitude.

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