To learn to fly in the UK is an ambition
that many people harbour and through the sport of gliding you can learn to fly
easily and effectively.
To start this experience most people begin by having Trial Lesson.
Below are just a few common Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.
Q. What is the different between a Voucher Trial Lesson and Just Turn Up Trial Lesson?
A. A Voucher Trial Flight can be pre-booked and you are guaranteed at least a 10 minute soaring flight or 2 flights. A Just Turn Up Trial lesson means that you may have to wait for your Trial Flight, you may only get a short 5 minute flight, if we are busy you may not fly at all.
Q. How long is a Trial Flight?
A. As gliders require rising columns of air called thermals to stay up, a head wind to launch into, it is very weather dependant. This is why we cannot guarantee how long you will be in the air. For one glider flight, the weather conditions will allow a Trial flight of about 10 minutes. Another glider flight later will only last 5 minutes.
Q. Can I take a camera/mobile phone up on my Trial lesson?
A.Due to the inherent danger of small objects finding their way into the control mechanisms, we have reluctantly decided to prohibit the use of mobile phones in flight, including their use for taking photos. Before getting in the glider, please put your mobile phone in a secure ZIPPED pocket or give it to the instructor to put in the glider’s luggage compartment. (Don’t forget it afterwards!)
Normally the object of a trial lesson is to give you experience of taking the controls and this is incompatible with photography. If you wish to forgo this opportunity, photography is only allowed using a camera having a secure neck or wrist strap.
Q. How can I join NVGC as a Trial Member?
A. NVGC has a 2 month Trial Membership Scheme . Click here for more details
Q. What makes thermals?
A. Rising columns of warm air are called thermals. They are generated by the sun heating the ground. Air when heated is lighter than the surrounding cooler air, this is likened a bubble. When heated sufficient the bubble breaks free of the ground and rises. The shape is said to be like a cone (small at the bottom and large at the top). As the warm bubble of air rises it expands even more, the higher it rises it is cooled by the surrounding air mass, at a certain point the air is cooled sufficiently to turn back into water vapour, they form Clouds. It is the visual site of the Clouds that allow glider pilots to find thermals. To use a these rising columns of warm air it is necessary for gliders to circle in them.
Q. Do I fly on my own?
A. Not to begin with. You will fly with an instructor who is trained to British Gliding Association standards until you are competent enough to go solo.
Q. How old do you need to be?
A. There is no minimum age limit as such, but you must be big enough for the straps to secure you well. On some gliders you may need to be heavy enough too. To go solo, you must be 14, but you can learn before this - many go solo on their 14th birthday! There is no maximum age limit, but after 70, you must have a medical every year.
Q. Are there weight restrictions?
A. Most gliders have a weight limit of 110kg (242 lbs) per seat. (16 stone with a 1 stone parachute takes you to the 17 stone maximum weight. The minimum limit varies from glider to glider, but this can often be made up for with ballast weights.
Q. Do I need to wear a parachute?
A. NVGC does have parachutes and insist on you using them. It is very rare indeed that they are used, but if you have a safety precaution available, why not use it?
Q. Are there height restrictions?
A. Generally, if you are 6'3" (190cm) or less, you should be fine. If you are taller, there may only be certain gliders you can fit into - it's worth asking the club you want to fly at.
Q. What weather can you fly in?
A. There are really only three things that stop us from flying - rain, low cloud and strong winds (more than 30mph!). We advise anyone who is intending to fly, telephone the Club in the morning between 09.30 and 10.00 to check we are flying, as there are certain conditions, which are not always apparent to you, when it is not possible to fly.
Q. How long does it take to go solo?
A. This depends very much on two factors. How often you turn up and how good you are! The absolute minimum (unless you have a power licence) is 20 flights, however more realistically; you can look at 40-100 flights.
Q. How much time does gliding take up?
A. Particularly when you are learning, it is good to go as often as you can. When you do go, you can expect to spend the good part of a day at the airfield. When you are not flying, you are normally expected to help get other people launched (this helps to keep the cost down!). NVGC is a non profit making Club where nobody is paid. NVGC works on the Team approach where everyone helps, to run the field, tow cables, winch (after suitable training), keep the log, retrieve gliders, get the equipment out in the morning and put it away in the evening plus much more.
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