Gliding is an amazing experience that few people get to enjoy. There are different VGS or Volunteer Gliding Squadron set up all around the country. Our closest is 622 Upavon Squadron which is in Wiltshire. From here you will fly in one of seven Viking gliders which are operated via winch launch. When you go gliding you will not only get to experience the thrill of flying with no engine but you also are expected to be an active member of the ground crew. This includes things such as moving the gliders around the airfield as well as holding the wings and relaying instructions to the control tower. All this means there is always something to be done so you are never bored. Don't worry about all this on your first time though. Everything will be explained to you so just remember, it was everyone's first experience once.

The Gliding Induction Course

When you learn to glide you will follow a simple course which should be completed on the third time you go gliding. This is known as the Gliding Induction Course (GIC). By the end of this course you will be competent at piloting the glider through the stages between takeoff and landing. After you have been a few times you may be allowed to catch a thermal, allowing you to rise up to greater heights giving you a much longer time in the air. On completion of this course you will receive a congratulatory certificate.

Gliding Scholarships

If you feel you wish to continue your love of gliding, you can apply for a Gliding Scholarship. (GS) If successful, you will carry out additional training which will enable you to fly the glider from takeoff to landing. You must be 16 years of age to enroll in this course. These courses can be done over a period of weekends or in one week during the school holidays. You must complete 40 launches or 8 hours in a glider plus 20% extra solo flight. You will first gain your blue, and then silver, wings.

Advanced Glider Training

After this you may continue your training by completing the Advanced Glider Training (AGT) course. This will mean you will become a member of staff at your VGS and you will be expected to attend most weekends. This will enable you to get your gold wings and then eventually enable you to become a Glider Pilot and finally a Gliding Instructor. If you progress this far you will become one of the same group of people that took you up for your first flight in GIC, allowing you to pass on your experience to new cadets following in your footsteps.