Being a member

Solo LandingIf you are interested in flying then maybe you should consider a trial lesson. You could also spend some time at Eyres' field to get a feel of the club before making any decision about membership.

Once you are a member of the club instruction is free, yes free! You only pay for the type of launch you have and for the time you spend in the air. All prices are detailed in the price list.

From your first lesson onwards you will follow a syllabus laid down by the British Gliding Association and follow their badge scheme. Instruction will be with one of our qualified instructors in a two seat dual-control glider. Instruction is at your pace, to suit your budget. We do not pressure anyone towards going solo, in fact, some people prefer to always fly with an instructor, we have some members who do not fly at all, they simple enjoy the community of the club.

 Not only can you learn to fly a glider but you will also learn the rules and procedures required for the safe running of the airfield; how to handle gliders and equipment, how launches are managed, how to inspect gliders, equipment and general airfield safety. Once experienced you might also learn how to operate the winch for launching gliders. The emphasis is always on safety both in the air and on the ground.   

As the club is run by its members for its members you are expected to get involved and assist with the operation of the airfield. Running a gliding club needs many varied skills and your skills might complement the existing skill base - as well as learning to fly a glider you might also learn other new skills.

Trial Lesson

The trial lesson lasts for around 15-20 minutes and you will get the opportunity to take the controls and get your first real feel of controlling a glider. If you are hooked then the next step would be membership of the club. You'll be issued with a log book and progress card and your training will commence.


Your early training

Lessons to solo will focus on co-ordinated control of the glider, airmanship, basic navigation, weather, rules of the air and flight theory. The winch launch is the predominant launch type used but you will also have the occassional aerotow launch. There is no fixed time to solo, safety is of paramount importance and you will not be sent solo until such time that you are ready - that could be 60 flights, 260 flights maybe never. Before you fly solo you must also have your GP complete a medical form which is based on the DVLA "fit to drive" requirements.

Your first solo

Your first solo is a flight you will never forget, a memorable occassion, every glider pilot remembers their first solo. During the weeks approaching the time of your solo the training will intensify. You will experience an increased number of simulated cable breaks, you will be quizzed about rules and safety, your flights will include more unusual events to test your response and decision making. You probably won't know it's going to happen until it happens and your instructor does not get into the back seat. You'll fly in a two seat glider on your own for the first time. The sense of achievement is immense.

After solo

Once you have flown solo for the first time for some time, certainly until you reach the bronze standard, you will be required to have check flights with an instructor before you are permitted to go solo. Your instruction continues as you develop your skills as a solo pilot. You will also learn the skills required to aerotow and control the glider whilst following the tug aircraft. You will learn soaring techniques so that you develop the skills to stay in the air for longer periods. Once you achieve the bronze standard and complete the cross-country endorsement you will be eligible for the "glider pilot's licence"

After bronze there is always something else to do. You could aim to complete other badges, silver, gold and diamond. You could take an aerobatic course, compete in competitions, fly cross country courses or maybe take an instructor's course. The choice is yours.


The real costs

So, how much does gliding really cost?

Once you have paid your joining fee and annual subscription you pay for your launch type and time in the air on a per minute basis.

As a raw recruit it is recommended that your first flight is and aerotow, so, you pay the aerotow fee and the time in air fee. You can expect your first flights to be in the region of £40-45.

Generally, your flying as a trainee will normally be 2 or 3 winch launches with many flights being relatively short, in the region of 5 minutes. Where possible flights will be longer. So, for a typical days training you pay for the 2, 3 winch launches plus your time in the air.

If conditions permit and you are able to stay in the air longer, say for 20 to 30 minutes, then it is likely that you will only have the one flight that day.

On average the cost is in the region of £40-50 per week. However, if you cannot afford that much you could fly once per fortnight. Your progress will be slower and the cost to solo will ultimately be higher but your weekly cost is reduced.