You do not need any prior experience to start gliding, most people are able to learn the basics and have their first solo flight in under a year. It is about as easy a learning to drive. However unlike learning to drive there is no pass/fail moment instead there is a continuous progression of learning and unlocking more privileges.
During pre-solo training, you will fly in a two-seat glider with an instructor. Pre-solo training can be completed in under a year, although this depends on the person and the amount of commitment they put in. Pre-solo training covers the basics such a takeoff, basic flight, landing, and all the safety critical aspects of flying.
Members can use our online booking system to book a half day training session at a time and date that suits them. Sessions are on a 2:1 student to instructor basis with each student getting 3-4 flights each during a half-day slot. Instructors will also provide briefings and de-briefings during your slot. There are usually two instructors on-duty at any one time.
Training slots are available (subject to weather):
- Summer (March – October) – 7 days per week
- Winter (September – February) – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
If you are unable to book a slot on your chosen day you may still turn up as there is sometimes some unused instructor capacity.
Gliding is much cheaper than other forms of flying and it probably much cheaper than your expect. The cost 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 – the cost of joining the club
- Launch Charge – the cost of getting the glider into the air
- Flying Charge – a charge for your time in the air
We have discount rates for children and spouses of members.
A typical pre-solo training flight for an adult member would cost £18.20 made up of:
- Winch Launch – £11.40
- Flying Charge (10 minutes) – £7.50
Most people need 50 – 100 flights to complete their pre-solo training.
For a full cost explanation click here.
Once you have completed all the pre-solo exercises to a suitable standard you will be ready for your first flight on your own. Your first solo is an unforgettable experience and something you will be really proud of achieving.
After going solo you will mix flights on your own with additional training to refine your skills and check your progress. You will also convert to flying single seat aircraft which typically have higher performance.
After going solo the costs of gliding change slightly. Post-Solo pilots tend to have fewer longer flights. For example:
- Single 30 min flight in a single-seat glider – £30.02
- Three 10 min flights in two-seat glider – £54.60
Pilots Licence and Cross Country
A solo pilot must stay close the airfield. If you wish to go further you need additional training and must pass written and practical exams. On completion, you can apply for a Light Aircraft Pilots Licence (Sailplanes).
Cambridge Gliding Centre offer a range of optional advanced training including:
- Advanced Soaring Training
- Cross-Country Training
- Competitive Flying
- Instructor Training
- Aircraft Maintenance