Learning to Glide.
Chief Flying Instructor Robin Parker answers some frequently asked questions about learning to glide.
Q Do I fly on my own?
A Not to begin with! You will fly with an instructor until you are competent enough to go solo.
Q How old do you need to be?
A You need to be 10 1/2 years of age and be big enough for the straps to secure you well. With some gliders you may need to be heavy enough too. To go solo, you must be 14, but you can learn before this. It is not unknown for pupils to go solo on their 14th birthday!
Q Are there weight restrictions?
A Most gliders have a weight limit of 110kg (242 lbs) for each seat - that is around 17 stones. The minimum limit varies from glider to glider, but this can often be made up for with ballast weights.
Q Are there height restrictions?
A Generally, if you are 6'3" (190cm) or less, you should be fine. If you are taller, there may only be certain gliders you can fit into - it's worth coming down to the club and trying a glider for size.
Q Is it difficult to land?
A No. Your first few attempts may seem difficult, but when you have done a few, you will be surprised how easy it is to land within a few metres of where you want to be!
Q Do I need to buy a glider?
A No. The club has two seater training gliders (which can be flown solo) and 2 single seater gliders that have been specially purchased for their suitability for early and intermediate solo pilots. Many club members only ever fly club gliders - however some do join syndicates and purchase one.
Q What weather can you fly in?
A There are really only three things that stop us from flying - rain, low cloud and strong winds (more than 30mph!). When you are learning, it often pays to turn up whatever the weather. In the summer very few days are completely unflyable, and often the weather men can be wrong or give the wrong impression of the weather. If you don't turn up, you aren't going to fly!
Q Do I need to book when I go flying?
A No need - just turn up, put your name on the list, and fly when your turn comes up.
Q Do I need a licence?
A No. There is a glider pilots licence, but it's really only needed for flying abroad. Once you go solo, you will be awarded the "A" badge, and after that, there are several other badges to go for. The Bronze Badge is the equivalent of the power flying Private Pilot's Licence.
Q Are there any exams?
A The only tests you take are when you are reaching the Bronze badge. There is a flying test, and a test paper. A good majority of people pass these first time!
Q How long does it take to go solo and how much will it cost?
A This depends very much on two factors - how often you turn up and how good you are! The absolute minimum is 20 flights, however more realistically, you can look at 70 - 100 short flights. Some people take longer than others, but stick with it and you will get there in the end. The club runs a fixed price to solo at £995 for adults and £795 for juniors which is a good value way to learn - however many members pay as they go, especially if they think they will learn quickly.
Q How much time does it take up?
A Particularly when you are learning, it is good to fly as often as you can. When you come to the club, you can expect to spend the good part of a day at the airfield. The club has no paid staff so you and the other members are it! As a result when you are not flying, you are normally expected to help get other people launched (this helps to keep the costs down!).
Q So what next?
A Well just come down to the airfield and say hello- you are guaranteed a warm welcome. We fly every Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and public holiday and the club is easy to find - just south of Kirton in Lindsey village. When you arrive on site follow the signage and you can't go wrong! For more information contact us or call the club house on 01652 648777