Learning to Glide
Members wanting to book time in a two seater glider with an instructor can find out how to here
Non-members wanting to book a trial flight can find out how to here
Like any university sport you need to learn before you can compete. Unlike many university sports most people try gliding for the first time at university. Fortunately the Cambridge Gliding Club has an excellent record or getting Cambridge Student from complete beginners to lifetime glider pilots.
Learning to glide is a enjoyable and rewarding process. Unlike learning to drive there is no definitive end point, you continue to learn and improve your whole life. There are however, a series of steps that pilots must complete.
You may also find the Beginners Guide to Gliding useful.
Learning Stages to Gliding
Before you are able to fly on your own, you must complete a series of exercises to prove your competence. Pre-Solo training can be completed in under a year, it takes most people between 50-80 flights to get to a solo standard, although this depends on the person and the amount of commitment they put in. Ideally you need to fly at least once a month to make progress.
As well as leaning to fly you will need to learn a range of ground skills, as everybody on the airfield is a volunteer you will be expected to help out on the ground when you are not flying.
To go solo you must complete all the pre-solo training (except aerotow, if you only want to fly on the winch) you also need to get a medical form signed by you GP, and submitted to the office. Finally it will be down to your instructor's judgement when your flying is sufficiently good for you to fly alone.
Single Seat Conversion
Once you are solo, you should aim to convert to a single seat glider shortly after. Single seat gliders are lighter and have slightly different characteristics, but are better for soaring and going cross country.
The Bronze Certificate is equivalent to a Pilots Licence, you need to have a minimum number of solo flights and pass written and practical tests. While working towards your Bronze you can practice the techniques necessary for cross-country flying, safely within glide range of the airfield.
The cross-country endorsement enables you to fly cross-country. This means that you can fly away from your home airfield, without the endorsement, you would not be able to go more than 20 miles (30 km) of the airfield. To gain the endorsement you must complete training in field landings (emergency landing in a farmer's field) and navigation. See the section below on soaring for information how to fly cross country.
A flight of at least 5 hours, a flight of at least 50km, and a height gain of at least 1000m, the silver is the minimum standard for competitive gliding.
There are a series of aerobatic qualifications that allow the flying of progressively more complex aerobatic manoeuvres.
Soaring & Cross Country Guide
A flight of at least 300km, and a height gain of at least 3000m
The diamond is requires you to to perform flights of 300km, 500km and and a height gain of 5000m
750 km Diploma
Fly 750 km task
1000 km Diploma
Fly a 1000 km task
2000 km Diploma
Fly a 2000 km task