R/C Gliders Cruise The Mountainside At 630KPH

An R/C glider with no engine can reach speeds of 630kph in the right conditions by using a principle called dynamic soaring, as you can see in this clip.

Anyone who's ever rafted or kayaked will probably recognise the fundamentals at play. Air moving along a mountainside causes an eddy right below the ridge on the mountain's leeward side—a tumbling whirlpool of low pressure air. The glider precariously circles between the eddy and main air current before slingshotting out at speeds up to 8x the surrounding air. (There's a flash animation that explains it better.)

The feat requires both technique and a hearty glider constructed of strong materials...along with several broken planes during the learning process, too. But it sure looks fun. [DS Zone via Wired]