Gliding is the cheapest way to learn to fly.


For a pre-solo member there are three main costs:

  • Annual membership
  • Launch fee: charged for getting into the air (this includes the first 10 minutes of flight for flights in CGC owned planes).
  • “Soaring” or airtime fee: charged for every minute you fly.

The number and length of flights you have will depend on the weather, how busy it is that day, and what stage you are in your training.

Annual Membership

There are two kinds of CUGC (annual) memberships:

  • Student Membership: £120
  • Staff/Alumni Membership: £645. This is the annual membership fee for the Cambridge Gliding Centre and you will be a full member there. You will, of course, be able to participate in CUGC expeditions and other activities. For more information visit

Flying Costs: Student Members

The cost of a given flight consists of a charge for the launch (by winch or aerotow) plus a charge for time spent in the air.

As a CUGC member you pay 60% of CGC soaring fees with the first 10 minutes being free. Winch launches are 90% of the CGC fee, while aerotows are charged at full CGC rates. CGC’s flying fees can be found on their website. Moreover, you have access to our own glider CU (ASW 19b, single seater) at £9 per hour.

Some illustrative charges (current as of April 2019) are listed below, please see the CGC website for the full list of CGC fees.

Charge CGC (non-students) CUGC (students)
Winch launch £11.40 £10.26
Aerotow to 2,000 ft £31.70 £31.70
Two-seater flying for the first 10 minutes £7.50 free
Two-seater flying for every subsequent 5 minutes £3.75 £2.25
Junior flying for the first 10 minutes £6.50 free
Junior flying for every subsequent 5 minutes £3.25 £1.95

You thus pay £10.26 for a winch launch and 10 minutes’ flying in a CGC two-seater, where CGC members would pay £18.90 for the same flight. A 20-minute flight off a 2,000 ft aerotow would cost you £37.70 (£33.20 for the aerotow + 10 minutes free + 10 minutes at £5.50), while a CGC member would pay £48.20 (£33.20 for the aerotow + 20 minutes at £15).

Flying Costs: Staff/Alumni Members

As a full CGC member, their flying fees apply. Moreover, you have access to our own glider CU (ASW 19b, single seater) at £54 per hour (capped at 3 hours, so you pay at most £162 on a cross-country flight).

Long term costs

If you are thinking of taking gliding up as a hobby, you are probably interested in how much it going to cost in the long term, we usually think of going solo as costing about the same as the Varsity ski trip.

The cost of going solo depends on your level of commitment and students can fly at a range of budgets. Below is an example of a “typical” student who aims to get from complete beginner to solo. This is not the cheapest option, but the most common.

Item Cost Quantity Total
Membership £120.00 1 £120.00
Winch Flights (10 min each with instructor) £10.26 50 £513.00
Aerotow Flights (10 min with instructor) £31.25 1 £31.25
Miscellaneous (log book etc.) £20.00 1 £20.00
Total £684.25

Coming twice a month will allow you to progress to solo reasonably quickly.