What can I expect on the day
This Wiltshire gliding club operates in a quiet corner of the country where North Dorset meets Wiltshire - and it’s a lovely place to fly a glider from! Just outside the village of Kingston Deverill lies this small, but perfectly formed grass airfield. They’re a friendly bunch here, so a warm welcome is most definitely on the itinerary, along with some spectacular Dorset scenery as you glide.
The airstrip sits atop a small ridge, completely surrounded by farm land and, once you’re airborne in the glider, you’ll see how picturesque and agricultural it all is around these parts of Wiltshire. You are in fact in the heart of the Cranborne Chase, so no wonder the views are rather special.
The format for these glider flights is simple. You choose how high you’d like to go in the glider and that determines how long your flight will be, depending on weather conditions. The instructing pilots at Bath Wilts and North Dorset tell us that contrary to popular belief, clear cool air is much better for gliding, rather than hot summer days when it can be hazy. A nice crisp autumn morning, for example, can mean superb visibility and even more chance of thermals for soaring flight. Worth noting then, that this club near Bath offers trial gliding flights all year round!
The lesson programme starts with a briefing, then once the tug plane has released you at your gliding height over Wiltshire, the pilot will demonstrate a move before you then try to replicate it. This way you get plenty of time at the controls and progressive learning. Teaching focusses on lookout and the effects of controls, namely the elevator and ailerons controlled by the stick and the rudder, which is controlled by the pedals.
Before you know it you’ll be getting to grips with speed control (pushing forward on the stick makes the glider nose go down and you gain speed), turning (using the wing’s ailerons to roll the glider), and even using the rudder to keep the glider pointing in the direction you’re travelling as you carry out more advanced exercises high in the air over the North Dorset and Wilts countryside.
And don’t forget, as for how high you glide, that’s entirely up to you. Dip your toe in with a 2000ft tow, learn more moves on the 3000ft release, or go for the full-on mile-high experience as you are towed to 4600ft above the airfield (that's a mile over sea level) before being released to go gliding over Wiltshire for an extended flight duration.
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