How our pilot training works
Whether you are just starting with a Trial Lesson, joining us on a Course or as a club member, your path to becoming a solo glider pilot will be similar. We follow the BGA Training Syllabus common to most gliding clubs in the UK. Each person will progress at a slightly different rate. Generally the younger you are the faster you will learn. It is also important to fly regularly in order to make progress and long intervals between flights will mean more flights until you are solo.
Regardless of your previous flying experience, or your course or membership type, our instructors will adapt the training to fit your abilities. We’d love all of our course attendees to become competent solo pilots and join us as club members.
Glider Pilot Log Book. After each training session the instructor will make notes in your log book updating on your progress. Your log book can be reviewed each time you arrive for some training.
Progress Card. We provide you with a progress card that is used to track your progres through the syllabus and to ensure that no training items have been overlooked.
First few flights
During the first few flights you will be shown Lookout, Speed Control, how to turn the glider and the primary effects of the main controls, elevator, aileron and rudder. You will then practice related exercises.
Early training at height
After the first few flights you will continue practicing coordination of rudder and ailerons during turns (this takes a while to get skilled at), trimming the glider, you will be shown a few secondary effects of the controls. You will be taught to recognise what a stall is and practice the stall entry and recovery, practice turning on to a heading and flying in a straight line.
Early training lower down
During the first few flights you will learn and carry out the pre flight checks and the instructor will be demonstrating take off, aerotow, approach and landing. These are difficult exerceises for the student to practice until coordination is okay and you can reliably turn on to a heading and fly straight.
You’ve learnt to turn well and fly straight.
Now you can try the aerotow once at a safe altitude. You can fly the circuit with some prompting and practice the approach and speed control under more challenging circumstances. The instructor will be briefing you about the takeoff and landing.
During your training there will be days when there are thermals. On these days the instructor will take the opportunity to demonstrate how to find and stay in a thermal. You will have a go. This requires a good lookout, lots of concentration and can be tough to begin with. You should be able to stay up in thermals by the time you go solo.
The Bronze Badge
You need to take an exam.
The Sailplane Pilots Licence
You don’t need to take an exam.