So, you would like to get into gliding?
Becoming a glider pilot is certainly the most exciting thing I have ever done. It is without a doubt the best decision I have ever made to take it up. Now if you are reading this, you might be considering becoming a glider pilot or just having a surf of the site. Either way, this is how and why YOU should become a glider pilot today!
Before starting to learn to fly, you need to research where your local gliding club is. There are so many gliding clubs all around the UK (80 to be precise) which are normally no more than an hours drive away. You can find the locations of the club here.
Enquire and get flying!
Within the fantastic sport of gliding, there is a great sense of community. Just turn up or phone up at your local gliding club and ask about joining. They will talk you through the various memberships. If you are under 26, you are a 'junior' which means you'll get even cheaper flying.
Once you have joined up - you get to start flying!
Once you have started flying, you shall go through the whole gliding syllabus, starting at basic fundamentals of flight controls through to advance upset and recovery training (spinning, stalling etc).
This is a fantastic experience and all that I would say is enjoy your flight training. No one is perfect and everyone make mistakes. But it is important to learn from mistakes - that is how to build your resilience and become an ace pilot.
Solo and Beyond!
Once you have completed all of your flight training, you can then go solo. Huzzah! I still very much remember my first solo, getting airborne and feeling how much lighter the aircraft felt and the great sense of pride. It was truly the best moment of my life so far.
After you go solo, you will be building hours, getting your first 1 hour and 2 hour flights completed. You can even try for a 5 hour endorsement too! I tried it once but managed 4 hours, 59 minutes and 58 seconds... not my proudest moment I have to say.
Once you gain solo experience, you will have to start studying for your bronze exam, which is the theoretical and practical exam you have to take to gain your licence.
Now you have a licence, you are free to do what you like! You could get your aerobatics rating, or gain your cross country endorsement. You could even become an instructor. The opportunities are endless!
It sounds awesome doesn't it. If you like the sound of it, just go and do it! Gliding opens up so many opportunities which you should just go and grab. It gives a great fundamentals of flying and helps focus you on purely flying the aircraft without having to worry about an engine. You get a great understanding and feel for the airframe and how it reacts to different air masses, weather conditions and situations.
It is a fantastic way of entering the aviation world and a great start for the next generation of budding pilots who would like to go into the aviation professional sector as pilots. Additionally, it is just a great overall hobby for anyone to get into, no matter who you are. Anyone can do it!
My closing words to you - just go and do it. Take every opportunity and never be afraid to ask questions. Do not let anyone tell you, you cannot do something.
If you can dream it, you can do it!