Fixed Price to Solo - just do it!
Andy soon after his first solo.
Kishore congratulated by instructor Alan Spencer after his first solo flight.
Club member and recent fixed price to solo student Andy Johnson answers some frequently asked questions regarding the scheme.
So my £995 - (£595 for juniors/£795 for Students) what does it include?
£995 includes you first years membership and one years free winch launches and flying fees - up to the point you go solo. Nearly all your instruction prior to going solo is done on the winch - so except from the odd aerotow flight that maybe required, £995 is all you pay for the year. Great value really - it works out at less than £20 per week and remember we have 3 flying days every week.
Is the scheme appropriate for me - or should I pay as I go?
It is designed for students with no experience of gliding who are likely to take more than 80 launches to go solo. If you are a 20 year old wizz kid - chances are you will be solo in 60 or 70 launches so i wouldn't recommend it. However it took me 120 launches before I soloed - and as a result I saved a lot of money.
How often do I need to come gliding to learn how to fly?
You will need to come regularly to the club to make the most of the offer. While learning I was at the club at least once a week and that way I was able to make steady progress until I was ready for solo. Remember the offer is only valid for a year - so if you are unsure how often you will attend then I would pay as you go.
Can I book lessons?
In a word - No. The club is entirely run by volunteers, from the CFI and his instructors to the winch driver and all the ground crew. In a morning we work together to get all the equipment out and lessons are on a first come first serve basis. Having said that you are often not waiting long until it is your turn. The rest of the time it is important that you help muck in and launch gliders, retrieve cables, push gliders onto the launch line and also have the occassional cup of tea.
How many fiights can I have in a day?
Generally your instruction flights are in batches of 3 - which allows you to be shown something and then practice it on subsequent launches. Once you have had your flights you can put your name back on the flying list and, should time allow, you can have a further 3 flights. As all your flying has been paid for through the scheme you might as well get as much done as possible!
After a year I have still not gone solo - what now?
Occassionally some students take a long time to learn how to glide. They have bad luck with the weather and generally take longer to pick things up. Even so - after a year they should be close to going solo so I would suggest reverting to pay as you go for your final few flights. You will also need to renew your membership every year to be able to fly as a member.
Any last words Andy?
I would say if you have read this far then just seize the moment and do it. For me it was a new challenge when I retired from work and I would say it is a cheap and fun way to learn to fly. Now I own my own glider and am really starting to challenge myself with soaring and cross country flying. It is also a fun and friendly club with regular club expeditions to Scotland and social events throughout the year - infact why don't you come down to the club and see for yourself.
If you're interested in 'Fixed Price to Solo' membership, please contact us.