What is Gliding?
Gliding is engineless free-flight. Once a glider is launched, by aerotow or winch-launch, it will descend at a given rate: for most gliders this is around 200ft/minute. However, if rising air is encountered, flight times can be extended. Try thinking about walking down an escalator that’s traveling upwards… Through skillful use of rising air (generally known as thermals, or just ‘lift’) glider pilots can fly for hours off one launch and travel hundreds of kms from the launch site before returning. Much more information can be found on the British Gliding Association site.
Gliding is a sporting activity suitable for all ages: the legal minimum age to fly solo is 14 years.
Glider pilots have a number of progression steps: for example… Solo, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond. Silver involves a 5 hour flight, gold includes a 300km (186miles) flight and diamond includes climbing 5000m (16000ft)
There is also a very active competition element to gliding, where pilots race one-another around a course set to recognise the weather on the day.
There’s certainly more to gliding than short circuits around the Club’s airfield: