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Learn to glide?

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Old 26th Oct 2018, 16:32
  #61 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: London
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Originally Posted by rich34glider View Post
Perfectly reasonable to get to solo standard in that time frame - probably much sooner if you commit your weekends for a while. The key to making good progress is to try and string a few weekends in decent weather together so that you don't regress too much between sessions.

Disclaimer: gliding often can & often does involve drinking .. only in the clubhouse afterwards though!
Thanks for the advice - will try and string a few weekends together to begin with! Good to know that going solo in that time isn't unrealistic too. Thank you!

Thanks very much for your responses everyone. Sounds like Dunstable is not a bad spot to learn for a number of reasons. I'll start there and see how I go.

No kids of my own just yet, but that also means that finances aren't too much of an issue either, so every cloud!
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Old 27th Oct 2018, 11:02
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Now, Henwood, do let us know how you get on at Dunstable! That is a club which must have the longest gliding history in the UK. They were gliding there before WWII. I am told they used to tow the gliders back to the launchpoint with a horse! One thing, any of you folks intending to fly gliders, DRESS VERY WARMLY. Any airfield is open to the wind.
Our German friends still have the tradition of gliding before power, and I think this had something to do with restrictions enforced by the Allies after WWI. The best gliders on our Planet are designed and built in Germany.....
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Old 27th Oct 2018, 11:16
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Originally Posted by mary meagher View Post
Now, Henwood, do let us know how you get on at Dunstable!
I will do, thank you Mary!
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Old 27th Oct 2018, 12:39
  #64 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Bournemouth
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Originally Posted by henwood View Post
Thanks for the advice - will try and string a few weekends together to begin with! Good to know that going solo in that time isn't unrealistic too. Thank you!

Thanks very much for your responses everyone. Sounds like Dunstable is not a bad spot to learn for a number of reasons. I'll start there and see how I go.

No kids of my own just yet, but that also means that finances aren't too much of an issue either, so every cloud!
Hi Henwood

If you are online now 12.30 Sat 27th take a look at Flightradar24 and go just north of Worthing and you will see a whole string of gliders hill soaring which is not a bad why of learning.

Mike
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Old 2nd Nov 2018, 11:08
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Join Date: Feb 2016
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May have been mentioned elsewhere, but a summary of pros & cons of taking up gliding:-

Pros - Great fun, very "team-spirited", great way to do lots of cheap flying, definately makes you a better pilot, lots of variety compared to GA flying.
Cons - Very time consuming (not family-friendly if you have young kids), even more Wx-dependant than VFR GA (perfectly good flying Wx can be crap Wx for gliding), some odd characters around & politics/arguments in clubs, can be cliquey.

I did it for a while as something different to do, enjoyed it and it made me a much better pilot, but in the end it wasn't compatible with family life and I came across a few weirdos (including one downright nasty bugger) which I became wary of. Went back to powered flying with a very different perspective. If you have the time, I'd do it.
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Old 2nd Nov 2018, 12:22
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Originally Posted by TelsBoy View Post
Cons - Very time consuming (not family-friendly if you have young kids), even more Wx-dependant than VFR GA (perfectly good flying Wx can be crap Wx for gliding), some odd characters around & politics/arguments in clubs, can be cliquey.
I'm sorry to hear of that bad experience, in every area of Aviation there are odd characters and it's a shame you found that part in Gliding. Politics you'll find in any club environment, it's a given.

Just to put some points aside, Gliding in itself is not more weather dependant than VFR GA, thermal soaring may be, but that's not a huge problem for someone learning the basics. In fact for basic training, quite often poorer weather during the winter (strong winds, cloud below 1500ft) is made advantage of, and hence the recent publications by the Airprox board pointing this fact out of the wrong assumption of gliding only being a fair weather sport.

The issue of time comes up a lot, I'm not sure when you left the sport but many clubs (especially the larger ones) operate booking systems now similar to schools so you only have to be around for a morning or an afternoon, much less of this "hang around all day for 2 flights business", sure it's not a precise 1-2 hour slot, but you're not paying anywhere near the amount, so there has to be a compromise.

Looking forwards to hearing more from the OP.
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Old 2nd Nov 2018, 23:09
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Join Date: Jan 2017
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I can confirm that gliding is time consuming, its cheap flying and can only be done with volunteers giving up their time to run the club. The reality is you need to set aside one weekend day a month as a minimum, a lot will spend much more than that. So if your family commitments don't allow one weekend day a month, forget gliding, go and see you local power flying club and pay at least 10 times as much.
I have seen a good many differences of opinion, even stand up arguments but club politics are optional, go with the flow and do what the duty instructor wants, they are all different and you will have your own opinion who you prefer. Just like any club you need to get to know the members and the profile is the widest possible, from the penniless " gliding bum" who always helps everybody, to the airline pilot with a zillion hours and fast jet time as well, you cannot tell.
To be a glider pilot means you have to be a team player, thats the way it works, it need not be expensive, flying club aircraft is cheap, you can get passenger carrying rating or an instructor rating. Or you may join a syndicate in a private glider, maybe buy your own aircraft, it then becomes even more time consuming and can be very expensive as well, its your choice.
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Old 3rd Nov 2018, 20:46
  #68 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
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I hate to say 1 weekend day a month will not allow sensible progress to be made. However with effort fast progress is possible. I have recently watched someone at my local club start from scratch, achieve his first solo within 3 months and then complete bronze and cross country endorsement, fly a K8 100km land tour the vintage gliding museum at Lasham, take a low aerotow and fly 100km home (in the K8), complete a first 300km flight and then 420km of a 500km attempt. Ab-initio to 420km in 11 months. Granted it has been a superb summer, but still not bad for someone in full time employment.
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 08:10
  #69 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Warwick
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One weekend day a month will not achieve satisfactory progress

Most ad initio pilots need one aerotow launch per year of their age to achieve solo standard, it's unlikely to be less and could be much more. Winch launching will be more launches especially it launch height is low or in poor weather, 2 or 3 flights a month with different instructors will make frustrating progress
The quickest way to get solo is pick a club that does week long courses with Winch and Aerotow run by a good instructor, a 40 yr old should get to solo within 2 weeks and I would recommend that any new pilot get at least some intensive training to avoid frustration.
Once solo has been achieved the mix of check flights and solo to build experience begins and if you are wise never ends, even experienced pilots with hundreds of hours should fly with a good instructor at least once a year, the learning never stops!.


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Old 4th Nov 2018, 11:21
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Bristol
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If you have a supportive family, the only advice
i can give is JUST DO IT.

I had zero interest in aviation until I had a trial glider flight in August. Iím now 30 winch launches in, plus 3 hours Microlight training towards NPPL.

I went gliding yesterday in a 20kt cross wind which was gusting up to 30kt at 1k feet and it was scary and exhilarating in equal measure.

I only managed one 30 minute flight, the remainder of the day was helping by retrieving and launching gliders and having a good old gas with some of the club members.

just get out there and if you love it, youíll find the time.

Cheers
steve
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 12:48
  #71 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
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Thanks everyone for all your thoughts and good advice.

I am starting with a one day course and will then probably be able to give it 1-2 weekends a month. Towards the middle of the year I may have time to do the five day course offered by the club. So hopefully my aim to go solo next year is not completely unrealistic.
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Old 7th Nov 2018, 22:01
  #72 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
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Get Gliding!

Much like Jazzer83 I always wanted to fly but finances were an issue. Having been in the military I was fortunate to get a number of 'exciting' flights in all manner of fixed and rotary aircraft which made the urge stronger! I had numerous flights in PA28's and C42's etc but again costs precluded actually being able to afford regular lessons. Then of course what do you do when you're solo? Realistically I was not going to be able to afford a plane of my own, hangar it, maintain it and fuel it whilst getting signifcant use of it. Ultimately it'll be fun to take friends about for a bit till they get bored, then you're paying for all the flying. Of course syndicating is an option to make things affordable but that possibly presents its own problems. Are you flying to visit places or just flying to fly?

Cue Gliding.....

So I was in a position where I was fortunately within shouting distance of 5 gliding clubs. Having had a trial flight I was hooked and took advantage of a 30 day membership enabling me to fly at members rates.

Firstly I would say it takes a lot of commitment BUT if you're that interested it will be fun as you're indulging your passion. I generally try for a day a weekend. Most clubs rely on volunteers to function effectively, we have no paid members at my club! This enables costs to kept to a minimum.

So you'll pay an annual membership which is no more than a gym membership and you'll pay to fly. In most cases you'll pay a fee to launch and then pay per minute in the air. Instruction is free! I solo'd in a year and then migrated onto the club single seaters, I can then fly for £20 an hour! This year I achieved my silver duration which was a 5 hour plus flight. Of course its the norm for experienced hot ship pilots to exceed this regularly whilst task flying.

And I now own a 3rd share in an aircraft.......... yes a syndicate. Fortunately most gliding syndicates tend to work pretty well, members will grab an hour or two on a flying day or agree amongst themselves if one pilot is going to take the aircraft for a task. Fortunately this can be semi planned as there are specific forecasts which can give indicators as to what the 'day' will be like. A glider syndicate can be run very cheaply, ours will cost each of us circa £350 for the year not including launch fees. A winch launch can be had for a less £10 depending on the specific club.

If you really want to fly and want to challenge yourself try gliding, without a fan on the front to drag you around it really is you and nature!
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Old 8th Nov 2018, 09:30
  #73 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
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Thanks szd - looking forward to my one day course on 1st Dec and will report back after that!
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Old 8th Nov 2018, 20:44
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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I did my first solo at 16 in a glider, at the end of a one week course... If I can, then anyone can!
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Old 8th Nov 2018, 21:24
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My gliding experience consists of one short flight, at an "experience" evening for members of a power flying club. All good fun, but it pretty well lived up to the stereotype of an hour hanging around on the ground for each minute or two in the air.

What I wasn't expecting was that the cost - in terms of £ per minute in the air - was going to be pretty similar to power flying, rather than the several times cheaper that I had somehow expected after reading discussions like this one.

But, like I said, all good fun.
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Old 8th Nov 2018, 22:16
  #76 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Originally Posted by Gertrude the Wombat View Post
My gliding experience consists of one short flight, at an "experience" evening for members of a power flying club. All good fun, but it pretty well lived up to the stereotype of an hour hanging around on the ground for each minute or two in the air.

What I wasn't expecting was that the cost - in terms of £ per minute in the air - was going to be pretty similar to power flying, rather than the several times cheaper that I had somehow expected after reading discussions like this one.

But, like I said, all good fun.
Experience evenings are just group trial lessons, they are run for the benefit of the club to create a bit of extra revenue. Gliding is only cheap when you become a member!
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 08:02
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford View Post
I did my first solo at 16 in a glider, at the end of a one week course... If I can, then anyone can!
Presumably while you were an Air Cadet (or similar) Sam ?
Realistically nowadays nobody is going to solo after a 1 week gliding course (unless they have fairly significant previous flying experience).The old style Air Cadet courses were to get you solo and be awarded the A+B gliding certificate as quickly as possible.Civilian gliding clubs train you to a more advanced standard including how to stay up there using thermal/ridge/wave lift (depending on gliding club location)
The 'How long to solo' question is impossible to answer as there are too many variables.
My own gliding 'career' started off (like Sam ?) with the Air Cadets,I then had a long gap and eventually joined a civvy club and became a reasonable cross country pilot/glider owner.
Yes the first few months of glider flying will involve a lot of time at the airfield but as you gain hours/experience then it is possible to buy your own glider /or a share in a glider (as a syndicate member).
On a good gliding day you can have a cheap winch launch and then go and fly all day,on a reasonable day in the uk a 6 hour (or more) flight is quite normal,My longest flight in my old logbook is 6.5 hours off a winch launch (in wiltshire) - a 320 kilometre cross country.
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 08:04
  #78 (permalink)  
 
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It was certainly a long time ago, a Royal Navy Gliding Scholarship at Yeovilton…

And yes, from memory, a week of (very) local flights...
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 08:39
  #79 (permalink)  
 
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Mr Hogg perchance?
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 17:53
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Originally Posted by planesandthings View Post
Experience evenings are just group trial lessons, they are run for the benefit of the club to create a bit of extra revenue. Gliding is only cheap when you become a member!
Well, they knew we were used to paying £3/minute, they probably thought we see £2.60 (or whatever it was) as cheap!
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