Try one of our gliding experiences days, glider lessons or piloted flights and find out what it feels like to soar with the birds and play with the clouds! The art of silent flying is mesmerising and by no means the poor relation to powered aviation. Indeed, aficionados love this way of getting airborne because silent flight is like nothing else on earth.
We've got a full range of glider experience and gliding flights on offer using both winch and aerotow launch methods, as well as some options for you to take to the skies in a motorised glider experience. However you get up there, once you're around 1000ft above the ground, it's just a case of you, your expert pilot and the whistling sound of the wind. Read more...
• Gliding Experiences from Lasham Airfield in Hampshire • An active airfield with several flying companies • A large club with several hundred members • Club has a fleet of 12 two seater trainer gliders
• Glider flights from Talgarth Airfield in Powys, Wales • Aerials of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park • Area is renowned for impressive thermals • This Welsh airfield is 970ft above sea level
• Fly gliders at Wycombe Air Park formerly RAF Booker • Large fleet of sailplanes make up this active club • Good range of flight durations available • Delightful on site restaurant & bar for spectators
• Small & friendly club full of enthusiasm • Winch tows and launch by tug plane offered • Glider experiences on weekends & bank holidays in summer • Minimum age for glider flights in Corby is 12yrs old
• Gliding experiences at Saltby Airfield near Grantham, Lincs • See the Lincolnshire countryside from the air • Winch, aerotow & motorised glider flights offered • One day glider experience ideal for budding pilots
• Founded in 1930, it's one of the oldest UK clubs • Dynamic Gliding club with over 150 active members • Go Gliding from nr Ashford over the Kentish Downs • Excellent clubhouse with food, rooms and camping
• Winch launches to get you airborne in North Wales • Soar over scenic Llandegla Hills on your gliding lesson • Perfect choice for 'making a weekend' of it • Enjoy 1 x long cruise or 3 x shorter flights
One question that everyone asks is 'If there's no engine, how does a glider fly?’ Well, without giving you a long-winded physics lesson the answer is quite simply - the wings! The compact fuselage combined with the large wingspan gets these graceful planes up in the air.
Of course, you'll need a little bit of help to launch and there are basically three methods for that. First is the winch launch. The ground crew will hook you up to the metal cable with the other end attached to the winching machine around 1000 yards away. As the machine whirrs into life, it takes up the slack and then starts to pull you over the ground and then into the air, before the cable is released.
The second method is called the aerotow. This is quite cool, as it involves a tug plane towing you up into the air. It's quite exciting as you'll be behind the light aircraft and the advantage here is that you can be released at a higher altitude for your lesson.
In both cases it's quite a noisy and a bumpy ride (and in fact you can reach speeds of up to 60mph for take off!) but then you'll rise gently into the air and keep ascending until reach your launch ceiling height and your pilot instructor releases the cable.
In search of ‘lift’ in your glider
After that, it's a simple case of 'what goes up must come down'. As gliders only have the forces of lift, drag and weight (there's no thrust as there's no engine), it basically means you are descending the whole time you’re airbourne. On these lessons you'll soon learn the holy grail is ‘lift’.
Seeking lift is what makes it all so thrilling and yet serene at the same time. If the pilot finds a pocket of air that's rising faster than you are coming down, that’s uplift and you’ll ascend. Catching 'thermals' (bubbles of warm rising air) gives you lift as you circle round, gaining height - just like birds with their wings stretched out do.
If you have the chance to take a glider flight from an airfield near the mountains (we've got gliding schools on the edge of the Black Mountains in North Wales, for example) you might well be able to experience ridge lift from the air that is forced upwards when it reaches a natural obstacle (like hills) on the landscape.
And we nearly forgot to mention the third method - motor gliders. This is where the sailplane has its own engine so can take off under its own steam, as it were. Once at altitude it's time to cut the motor and start soaring. Whichever type of gliding lesson you go for, it's going to be an amazing aerial experience 1000ft off the ground!