FAQ

We strive to answer questions as quickly as possible, but you might get a quicker answer using our FAQs. If you can’t find the answer to your question in the FAQs, the quickest way to get a response is by messaging our Facebook page. If you don’t have access to Facebook, visit our Contact page.

Trial Flights

We can only offer trial flights to members of Cambridge University or students of Anglia Ruskin University.

If they wish to watch from the ground that if fine. Except during trial flight days we are very busy and have limited transport capacity. So they would have to arrange their own transport. Outside our main trial flight days they could have a CGC trial flight on the same day that you have a CUGC trial flight.

A CUGC Trial Flight costs £25 for the first flight and £16 for subsequent flights.

Please make sure to bring

  • Wear sensible shoes (heels are a bad idea, strong trainers or walking boots ideal).
  • Wear sensible warm clothes (skirts do not go well with the seat straps in the glider).
  • Bring a jumper and coat, even if it looks sunny (airfields can be windy and chilly places)
  • Sunglasses.
  • Water, and some food if you want it (there may not be any available at the club).

If you are a member of Anglia Ruskin University you will need to contact us directly to book a trail flight or join. If you are a member of Cambridge University please contact http://www.ucs.cam.ac.uk/support/service-desk/ for help with Raven.

Don’t worry, all the information given out at the squash is on our website.

Yes, you can have a self organised trial flight for the same price. You can have it on a day that suits you (subject to availability). You need to call the CGC Office on 01767 677077 and ask for a University Trial Flight.

You cannot have a trial flight if:

  • If you weigh more than 16 stone (102 kg).
  • If you have ever suffered from any of the following: Epilepsy, fits, severe head injury, recurrent fainting, giddiness or blackouts, unusually high blood pressure, a previous coronary.
  • If you take insulin regularly for the control of diabetes.

If you are healthy enough to drive, you are healthy enough to fly.

If you have a disability that prevents you from using all four of limbs, and both hands you may struggle to fly solo. We would be happy to take you for a trial flight and train you to the limit of your abilities. It is possible to enjoy most of gliding without going solo. The BGA (British Gliding Association) provides specific information on disabled gliding including clubs with specific equipment for disabled members.

Absolutely! Gliding clubs have safety as their priority, making it safer than other daily activities like cycling or driving.

After your Trial Flight if you enjoyed gliding and want to do more you should Join the Club.

Membership / Joining

You can join the club and start learning to fly at any time.

Only students,staff and Alumni of Cambridge University or students at Anglia Ruskin University can join CUGC. Members of the public can join the Cambridge Gliding Club.

Yes but you must join with a staff/alumni membership. This membership includes a full membership to Cambridge Gliding Club. It is more expensive than a student membership. If you are an existing glider pilot who has recently graduated please contact us directly.

In 1996 CUGC split into the Cambridge Gliding Club (CGC, see http://camgliding.uk) and CUGC. If you are not a member of Cambridge University you should contact CGC. If you would like to be involved with the University side of gliding please contact us.

Yes, membership is open to all students at Cambridge. However, if you are wealthy Cambridge Gliding Club may ask you to pay full members rates, rather than student discounted rates.

If you are a member of Anglia Ruskin University you will need to contact us directly to book a trail flight or join. If you are a member of Cambridge University please contact http://www.ucs.cam.ac.uk/support/service-desk/ for help with Raven

If it has been more than 2 weeks contact us and we will follow up with CGC for you. If it has been less than 2 weeks since you joined please be patient. We will not process your membership until we receive payment.

Costs

A CUGC Trial Flight costs £25 for the first flight and £16 for subsequent flights.

  • Annual Student Membership: £90
  • Annual Staff/Post-Doc/Alumni Membership: £580 (This includes full membership of Cambridge Gliding Club).

Instruction is free, but you pay for the launch and for the airtime in the glider.

  • Winch Launch - £8.50
  • Airtime (Instructed) - First 10 minutes free, then £25.92 per hour (charged in 5 minute fractions)
  • Airtime (Solo in our ASW19) - £9 per hour

A typical training flight will fit in the 10 minutes free airtime.

Getting to a solo standard costs around £800, and getting to the standard you can fly cross country is a similar amount again. The cost is similar to going on the Varsity Ski Trip. If you can afford £30 per month you can do gliding. For £60 per month you can do loads of gliding.

Yes, there are a range of ways you can get money to do gliding, for both pre-solo and post-solo pilots. Most require you to show a commitment to gliding before applying to the scholarship.

After Going Solo

Lots - Learning to glide is fun, but the real fun starts after you go solo. There are a wide range of options from aerobatics to cross-country flying and competitions. On a nice day glider pilots often do 300 km flights across the country, while the best pilots can fly over 1000 km, only using the air currents to stay up.

If you only need a check flight you do not need to book instruction. However if after the check flight you are not approved for solo their may not be capacity for you to fly with an instructor. We recommend that the first few times you plan to fly solo you should book a slot with an instructor. You should also book a slot if you have not flow for a while.

General Gliding / Flight

You cannot have a trial flight if:

  • If you weigh more than 16 stone (102 kg).
  • If you have ever suffered from any of the following: Epilepsy, fits, severe head injury, recurrent fainting, giddiness or blackouts, unusually high blood pressure, a previous coronary.
  • If you take insulin regularly for the control of diabetes.

If you are healthy enough to drive, you are healthy enough to fly.

If you have a disability that prevents you from using all four of limbs, and both hands you may struggle to fly solo. We would be happy to take you for a trial flight and train you to the limit of your abilities. It is possible to enjoy most of gliding without going solo. The BGA provides specific information on disabled gliding including clubs with specific equipment for disabled members.

During the summer the airfield is open 7 days a week. During the winter the airfield is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. During the summer we run evening flying on Tuesday and Thursdays which starts at 5pm and finishes at Sunset.

We also run several week long expeditions during the holidays.

When going out for a full day we usually leave around 8:30am and return at about 7:30pm. It is possible to book half day training slots.

Gliders can fly in a wide range of weather conditions. There is a big difference between a ‘flyable day’ (when we can train) and a ‘soarable day’ (which is when the real fun is had!).

Flyable days are when flying is possible and only training and short solo flights occur. In general, the only things which stop gliding are heavy rain, fog and strong winds - most days are flyable.

Soarable days allow for long and/or cross-country flights. Ever looked up at the sky on a warm summer’s day and seen big, fluffy clouds with cauliflower-like tops? Each one of those is formed by a powerful thermal which gliders can use to stay aloft for hours.

There are two launch methods we use:

  • Winch Launch: is cheap and involves connecting the glider to a long cable, which is wound in quickly dragging the glider into the air. The launch height is between 1,000 ft and 1,500 ft.
  • Aero-Tow Launch: is expensive and uses a powered plane to tow the glider into the air. Launch height is as much as you can pay for, but typically 2,000 ft to 4,000 ft.

The length of the flight depends on weather, type of glider, launch method, and pilot skill. On good days it is not uncommon for glider pilots to fly 100-300km and stay in the air for many hours. In the UK 1,000 km flights are sometimes performed, while the world record is now over 3,000 km.

While you are learning, most of your flight will be 5 -15 minutes long as you will focus on learning the take-off and landing before progressing to cross-country flying.

Absolutely! Gliding clubs have safety as their priority, making it safer than other daily activities like cycling or driving.

Learning to Glide

You can join the club and start learning to fly at any time.

Instruction is free, but you pay for the launch and for the airtime in the glider.

  • Winch Launch - £8.50
  • Airtime (Instructed) - First 10 minutes free, then £25.92 per hour
  • Airtime (Solo in our ASW19) - £9 per hour

A typical training flight will fit in the 10 minutes free airtime.

You will start doing most of the flying from your very first training flight. How you progress after that depends on how often you are able to fly - some people get to solo in a few months, others take a year or more. As a general rule you will need 50 - 60 flights to go solo, and you will need to go gliding at least once a month to make efficient progress. In a typical half-day training session you will usually complete 3-4 flights with an instructor.

You can book instruction on the Cambridge Gliding Club website http://camgliding.uk There are instructions here.

  • In Winter:
    • Morning Training is from 8:45 to 12:30
    • Afternoon Training is from 12:30 to Sunset
  • In Summer:
    • Morning Training is from 8:45 to 13:30
    • Afternoon Training is from 13:30 to 18:00

At CUGC we only fly unpowered gliders. However, you may find that it is cheaper (an much more fun) to learn to fly gliders then convert to powered aircraft rather than start straight off in powered aircraft. CGC can do conversion from gliders to a National Private Pilots Licence (NPPL) in our motor glider. For a powered licence you need a minimum of 40 hours at about £200 per hour to get a licence. Gliding can count towards 10 hours of this time at a much cheaper rate.

While there is no formal contribution towards gliding, any flying experience will allow you to progress faster than normal. You should bring your logbook and any flying qualifications you have and the instructors will take that into consideration.

Until 2018 you do not need a licence to fly a glider. However, once you have reached the standard you can apply for a Light Aircraft Pilots Licence (Sailplanes) LAPL(S) this usually takes people at least two years. More info on the LAPL(S). After 2018 you will need a LAPL(S) to do more than local flying.

Travel / Transport

As gliding is weather dependant people don’t usually commit to driving out until they know the weather. This means that transport will only be announced 2-3 days before the trip. Some people have regular duties at the airfield and will provide pre-planned transport on those days. If the weather is good there is usually transport on most weekends.

When going out for a full day we usually leave around 8:30am and return at about 7:30pm. It is possible to book half day training slots.

We fly from Gransden Lodge Airfield, which is about 12 miles West of Cambridge. You can cycle to the airfield in about 1hr, or get a bus most of the way. We also organise frequent car trips out to the airfield.

Expeditions

Any member of CUGC can come on an expedition, expeditions are designed to be suitable for all levels of pilot including pre-solo pilots.

During the summer the airfield is open 7 days a week. During the winter the airfield is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. During the summer we run evening flying on Tuesday and Thursdays which starts at 5pm and finishes at Sunset. We also run several week long expeditions during the holidays.