Mutual Flying (and cross country coaching)


At our meeting about Mutual Flying during the cloud rally we had a useful and lively discussion.  Needless to say the audience was rather heavy on keen XC pilots, but since the rules state that both pilots should have a valid XC rating, maybe this was not too much of an issue.


Chris presented a few slides setting out the rules and responsibilities for mutual flying, and then moved the meeting on to a general discussion.


The main points raised in the discussion were initially focussed on the desire to use mutual flying as a vehicle for cross-country coaching. We have a separate cross-country coaching initiative for this, using designated cross-country coaches – currently mostly instructors.


However, nobody really seems to know who the cross-country coaches are, apart from Andy and Robert, and we asked Colin Cownden to draw up a list of those who he was prepared to approve, which could include both instructors and experienced cross-country pilots.


We then moved on to discussing what is involved in mutual flying in club gliders, and where this could be of interest to members.


First we clarified a few requirements:


– Both pilots to have XC endorsement

– Pilots to have one-to-one briefings by an instructor, before becoming eligible for mutual flying

– Both pilots to discuss their plans with the duty instructor on the day, and get his/her approval to fly

– Pilots to agree in advance who is going to be P1.  If one is an instructor, she/he doesn’t have to be P1, as long as this is clearly agreed by both parties.

– P2 MUST have confidence in P1’s judgement and flying!  If not, don’t fly with them.

– P1 must fly from the front, and do all flying below 800ft

– Local soaring only. (As defined by the flying rules)

– No aerobatics


Then we talked about why Mutual Flying can be a fun thing to do, as well as the benefits to the club of greater 2-seater utilisation. (Last year, there were only 2 days on which we had all four 2-seaters in use)


There was a lot of useful discussion on the risks associated with hand-over of control and the risks that arise under stress when there is no significant cross-cockpit grading (i.e. no significant seniority difference between the two pilots) These issues will be covered in the individual briefings.


We concluded by agreeing that if we were to make this happen effectively, a number of steps needed to be taken.


1) We need to identify those members who would be interested in doing it, make this widely known, and set up a system to ensure they obtain a one-to-one briefing in advance.


2) Members who are interested need to pro-actively seek a briefing from an instructor, in advance of planning any mutual flying.


3) If there is sufficient demand, we need to simplify the process of reserving a two-seater on the booking system.  (It can already be done, but it is a bit complicated, and not obvious.)


If this is of interest to you, could you please drop an e-mail to Chris at

expressing your interest and giving a few pointers on what you see as the benefits.


Meanwhile anyone interested to receive XC coaching (or in delivering XC coaching), please email Colin Cownden (copy Robert Theil and Tony Cronshaw) to make known your interest for the remainder of this season, and ongoing for 2019.


Many thanks


Chris Lewis