How I became a pilot – Jon Linger

I originally learnt to fly as an Air Cadet aged 17 in a Slingsby Sedbergh TX Mk.1.  This was at RAF Debden now carver barracks. I did 3 solos and got my A&B BGA licence.

Excluding a week’s long course with Herefordshire gliding club at Shobden airfield and a bit of flying in RAF chipmunks in my 20’s i left my flying ambitions unsatisfied.

These were rekindled when i rejoined the RAF Air Cadets as a ground instructor and i flew in a Grob 115 tutor. My 3 solos done decades before allowed me to join volunteer gliding school (VGS) when aged 52!

I re-soled in 2013 at RAF Kenley and was ready to start the long process to become a G1 instructor basically the RAF version of a BI.  This was cut short with the grounding of the RAF’s Viking (Grob 103) glider fleet in 2014.

Looking for a new place to fly i initially joined Surrey Hills Club which flew the same type of glider at the same airfield as the VGS. The predicted few weeks grounding turned into months & was eventually to become many years.

Surrey Hills being weekdays only was a temporary fix and after looking at a few clubs i settled on Cambridge Gliding Club. Nice welcome, friendly people, very good fleet, little airspace restriction and best of all it allowed a glider & instructor to be booked. This was a big draw for me. No more turning up and putting my name on a list.

I did my BGA solo in 2014 which is more involved than the VGS version. The rest is history, bronze theory, radio licence, bronze badge, x- country endorsement, silver height, distance and then duration, Passenger rating and then IFP last year. Gold and beyond beckon. 

I have flown in 10 types now including the club’s motor glider and have taken part in several cloud rallies and 2 competitions. I have visited Jaca in Spain as part of the Club’s expedition there and plan return in this year’s one in April,

Jon Linger