FAQ

Costs

Gliding is much cheaper than other forms of flying and it probably much cheaper than your expect. The costs depends on how long you take to learn, and this varies from person to person. If you want price certainty you can buy a fixed price to solo package. The main costs in learning to glide are:

  • Annual Membership ‚Äď the cost of joining the club
  • Launch Charge¬†‚Äď the cost of getting the glider into the air
  • Flying Charge ‚Äď a charge for your time in the air

We have discount rates for children and spouses.

A typical pre-solo training flight for an adult member would cost £18.20 made up of:

  • Winch Launch ‚Äď ¬£11
  • Flying Charge (10 minutes) ‚Äď ¬£7.20

Most people need 50 ‚Äď 100 flights to complete their pre-solo training.

For a full cost explanation click here.

Yes, there are several ways. If you are at school we offer an excellent Cadet scheme;

If you are a student at Cambridge University or Anglia Ruskin University then the Cambridge University Gliding Club (CUGC) provides a low cost option;

If you are under 21 or under 25 and in full time education then our Young Person membership may be suitable;

If you are on a low income then our Lite membership option may offer an opportunity;

Additionally, various bodies periodically offer flying scholarships to young people subject to application.

More info on Cadets, CUGC, Young Person, Lite membership, and Scholarships & Bursaries.

We offer a range of packages from £110

We have a range of membership options

Instruction is free, but you pay for the launch and for the airtime in the glider. A typical pre-solo training flight for an adult member would cost £18.20 made up of:

  • Winch Launch ‚Äď ¬£11
  • Flying Charge (10 minutes) ‚Äď ¬£7.20

Find out more about costs

General

You must be over 13 years old to fly, and over 14 years old (and have completed all the necessary training) to fly solo. There is no upper age limit but pilots must comply with medical restrictions similar to those for a UK driving licence.

There are a range of badges and licences you can get in gliding

Solo Endorsement – When you complete your first solo flight

Bronze Badge & Cross Country Endorsement – A higher level with exam and the right to fly cross country

Light Aircraft Pilots Licence – A replacement for the Bronze being introduced in 2018

Silver – After flying a 50 km flight

Gold – After flying a 300 km flight

Absolutely!  Gliding clubs have safety as their priority, making it as safe as than other daily activities like cycling or driving.

The length of the flight depends on weather, type of glider, launch method, and pilot skill. On good days it is not uncommon for glider pilots to fly 100-300km and stay in the air for many hours. In the UK 1,000 km flights are sometimes performed, while the world record is now over 3,000 km.

While you are learning, most of your flight will be 5 -15 minutes long as you will focus on learning the take-off and landing before progressing to cross-country flying.

There are two launch methods we use:

Winch Launch: is cheap and involves connecting the glider to a long cable, which is wound in quickly dragging the glider into the air. The launch height is between 1,200 ft and 1,700 ft.

Aerotow Launch: is expensive and uses a powered plane to tow the glider into the air. launch height is as much as you can pay for, but typically 2,000 ft to 5,000 ft.

Find out more

Gliders¬†can fly in a wide range of weather conditions.¬† There is a big difference between a ‘flyable day’ (when we can train)¬†and a ‘soarable day’ (which is when the real fun is had!).

Flyable days are when flying is possible and only training and short solo flights occur.  In general, the only things which stop gliding are heavy rain, fog and strong winds Рmost days are flyable.

Soarable days allow for long and/or cross-country flights. ¬†A warm summer’s day,¬†big fluffy clouds with cauliflower-like tops make for ideal conditions. ¬†Each one of those is formed by a powerful thermal which gliders can use to stay airborne for hours.

During the summer the airfield is open 7 days a week. During the winter the airfield is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. During the summer we run evening flying on Tuesday and Thursdays which starts at 5pm and finishes at Sunset.

If you satisfy the medical requirements for a normal UK driving licence you should be fine. You will not be able to fly if you are:

  • More than 16¬†stone (102 kg);
  • Under 13 years old;
  • Take insulin regularly for the control of diabetes;
  • Subject to sudden disabling health attacks such as epilepsy.

If you have a disability that impairs your movement we recommend contacting the office before booking a trial flight.

Learning to Fly

There are a range of badges and licences you can get in gliding

Solo Endorsement – When you complete your first solo flight

Bronze Badge & Cross Country Endorsement – A higher level with exam and the right to fly cross country

Light Aircraft Pilots Licence – A replacement for the Bronze being introduced in 2018

Silver – After flying a 50 km flight

Gold – After flying a 300 km flight

Until 2018 you do not need a licence to fly a glider. However, once you have reached the standard you can apply for a Light Aircraft Pilots Licence (Sailplanes) LAPL(S) this usually takes people at least two years.  After 2018 you will need a LAPL(S) to do more than local flying.

While there is no formal contribution towards gliding, any flying experience will allow you to progress faster than normal. You should bring your logbook and any flying qualifications you have and the instructors will take that into consideration.

At CGC we mainly fly unpowered gliders. However, you may find that it is cheaper (and much more fun) to learn to fly gliders and then convert to powered aircraft rather than start straight off in powered aircraft. CGC can do conversion from gliders to a National Private Pilots Licence (NPPL) in our motor glider. For a powered licence you need a minimum of 40 hours at about £200 per hour to get a licence. Gliding can count towards 10 hours of this time at a much cheaper rate.

In Winter:

Morning Training is from 8:45 to 12:30

Afternoon Training is from 12:30 to Sunset

In Summer:

Morning Training is from 8:45 to 13:30

Afternoon Training is from 13:30 to 18:00

Members can book instruction on the Cambridge Gliding Club website members’ section.

You will start doing most of the flying from your very first training flight. How you progress after that depends on how often you are able to fly Рsome people get to solo in a few months, others take a year or more. As a general rule you will need 50 Р100 flights to go solo, and you will need to go gliding at least once a month to make efficient progress. In a typical half-day training session you will usually complete 3-4 flights with an instructor.

Instruction is free, but you pay for the launch and for the airtime in the glider. A typical pre-solo training flight for an adult member would cost £18.20 made up of:

  • Winch Launch ‚Äď ¬£11
  • Flying Charge (10 minutes) ‚Äď ¬£7.20

Find out more about costs

You can join the club and start learning to fly at any time.