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A glider is a fixed-wing aircraft whose free flight is independent of an engine and is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its lifting surfaces.

The majority of gliders lack engines, but motor-gliders do have small engines that can extend flight times by maintaining altitude (typically, a sailplane relies on rising air to maintain altitude), and some of these engines are powerful enough to launch themselves.

The construction of their wings, their aerodynamic efficiency, the pilot’s location, the controls, and their intended use are just a few of the many types. The majority make use of meteorological events to either maintain or gain height. The air sports of gliding, hang gliding, and paragliding are the primary uses for gliders.
However, some spacecraft have been made to descend in the form of gliders, and military gliders have been used in warfare in the past. A few basic and natural kinds of lightweight flyer are toys, for example, paper planes and balsa wood lightweight flyers.

The agent noun form of the verb to glide is glider. It is a combination of Middle English gliden and Old English gldan. Glide may have originally meant a sudden running or jumping rather than a smooth motion. Scholars have suggested possible connections to “slide” and “light,” but they are unsure of its original derivation.