My first flying experience

Ever since I was young, I wanted fly a plane. At the age of twelve, I'd built several model planes. Somewhere along the way that just became one of those forgotten dreams of youth.

For my 38th birthday my wife bought me a glider flight, and now that I've had a taste,that dream is reborn! I have always been fascinated by flight. It just seems so incredible to me that gliders can stay in the air for hours.

On my first flight after we had taken off, I was given control of the aircraft. Although shaky at first, flying the aircraft was not as difficult as you would expect. (I'd spent a lot of time reading up on flying gliders and flew on a simulator on a PC).

The first time I flew into a thermal I was amazed. I could feel a slight bump as the aircraft entered the column of rising air. My instructor took over, he circled in the thermal and the plane started to climb. He explained that one of the dials in the glider measured how quickly the glider was rising. The glider was going up at 4 knots or 400ft per minute!

I think the instructor must have been in a good mood, because we climbed to 4,000 ft in the thermal then explored the countryside. The view from the cockpit was amazing.

The flight was scheduled to last 15 - 20 minutes. However the flight lasted 45 minutes. When we had landed he told me that he had spent most of the time eating his sandwiches as I'd been flying the plane. Had we had the time I'm sure that the pilot could have kept the glider aloft all day.

Although my original flight was at another well known gliding club (Yorkshire Gliding Club) I was given a very warm welcome from one of there older members call Brian who took me under his wing. However after my 3rd visit I found that their site was too popular and as well they only used air tow which is very expensive, when learning to fly (a 10min flight can cost you £35). I becme frustrated and looked for a club which used a whinch to launch.

I looked around the area. I had visited a few glider clubs however, none of them seemed to welcome you until I came across the Wolds Gliding Club. I found a warm welcome and helpful members.

For the last 6 months I have been visiting the gliding club once a fortnight. I would like to come more often, however work, family etc. tie me down.

One of my most enjoyable flying days was on what looked to me not a promising day (see the photo opposite). I hitched a flight with in another club members two seaters glider and we spent a very happy afternoon finding thermals. On one occasion we were in a thermal and was joined by a bird of prey. For about 2 minutes we were circling with the bird until it out climbed us and flew away.

My hope is to book a course early in the season (April or May) so I can go solo. After that there is still plenty to challenge you because at first you are limited to flying near enough to the landing strip so at all times you can glide back. A good glider has a glide angle of 1 to 30 or better. This means that if the clouds are 4,000ft from the ground you can be up to 20 miles away if the conditions were ideal..

However once you have been cleared to go across country provided the conditions are good enough you can set off for some far flung parts of the country. It is not unheard-of for member of the club to fly to Scotland or the Midlands.....

Ben Dawson (dawb)



Alan Childs First gliding experiance

A captivating account of learning to fly. (much better writen than mine)

See my Log book

Wolds Gliding Club
The Airfield
East Yorkshire
YO42 1NP

Phone & Fax: 01759 303579


Life Insurance for Glider Pilots


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