Questions and Answers about the
“One-Day Courses” & Gliding in General
- “One Day Course” - What will happen on the day?
- How long is each flight?
- How does a glider fly?
- What type of glider will I fly in?
- Who are the pilots?
- What facilities are there on the airfield?
- What should I wear?
- What about the weather?
- Is it safe?
What will happen on the day? - After your arrival at the airfield at about 10.00am you will help in getting the gliders out of the hangar and in giving each machine a proper inspection before it flies. You will then be given a short briefing on the correct methods of ground handling the gliders and the various signals used to launch them. Mention will also be made that we operate from an active airfield and that a proper lockout for other aircraft is essential at all times for your safety. During the day you and your fellow course members should have the opportunity for up to three flights depending on duration. You can expect to have the chance to take control on at least one of these flights. The rest of the time you will be expected to help in the running of the days operations. At the end of the day you will also help pack the equipment away. Most groups are away by about 6:30-7:00pm.
How long is each flight? - The average flight lasts about 6 or 7 minutes from a 1100ft winch launch. Some may be longer if we find a thermal, (rising warm air which gives us extra lift), anything over fifteen minutes will probably have to count as two flights. We are not towed up by an aeroplane.
How does a glider fly? - Simple answer- the same as any other aeroplane be it a Jumbo Jet or a Tiger Moth, only with a glider the motive power is gravity! Just imagine a sledge sliding down a hill, although it is going down, it is also going forward. A glider does just the same through the air, but at a much shallower angle. With our gliders this angle is about 1:25, the best glider in the world does about 1:60, (that's a 1 degree slope!).
What type of glider will I fly in? - The Trust uses two K-13 type gliders, which were designed and built in Germany and are the worlds most popular training glider. They have two seats in tandem with a full set of controls and instruments for the Instructor and pupil. All gliders are inspected annually by British Gliding Association certified engineers. The Trust's gliders were purchased with help from the National Lottery Sports Fund.
Who are the pilots? - All of the people running the course on the ground and in the air are volunteers. They are all pilots and although they fly their own gliders they are not all Instructors. The Instructors that you will fly with are all BGA qualified Instructors with many years experience.
What facilities are there on the airfield? - Simplest answer of the lot- NONE! The Trust has only a hangar for its aircraft and equipment. There is no clubhouse, no toilets, no running water or electricity. Refreshment facilities are not available on the airfield, therefore, you are advised to bring packed lunches and something to drink. On the warm days you must guard against dehydration by having plenty of water or squash. A flask of hot drink is better for winter days. However, for the disorganised, Haddenham village and station shop is right next door to the airfield
What should I wear? - In winter, visitors and course members are advised to wear warm clothes such as thick pullovers, scarf's, gloves and a hat, etc. The top garment should be windproof and waterproof. Good strong, waterproof footwear is also essential as cold wet feet can spoil one's enjoyment. If you wear wellingtons, then a good pair of thick warm socks is advisable. In summer, although it can be very warm on the ground, at 2000' or so it can be quite cool, so be prepared; sunglasses, a pullover, high factor barrier cream and a small rimmed sun hat, etc., are the important items.
What about the weather? - Airfields are very exposed to all weather conditions and the effects of wind, sun, heat, cold and rain are accentuated. The weather conditions that usually stop us flying are prolonged rain and strong winds. We can sometimes fly between showers but, this will inevitably hold up the days proceedings. There are no hard and fast rules, we can only promise to fly if it is safe to do so.
Is it safe? - Gliding is no more dangerous than any other outdoor sport and safer than most. All flying is controlled by the British Gliding Association under the auspices of the Civil Aviation Authority. The most important consideration during the day is your safety. All our efforts will be directed to giving you an enjoyable and a safe day’s flying.