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First Flights

Clubs tend to have different packages for your first flights (or "trial lesson"). These will range from a single flight to a series of three or so short flights. You will need to ask at the club what they have to offer. The first flight will only give you a taste of gliding, but will help you to decide to take the sport a bit further by learning to fly.

Incidentally, as well as buying a trial lesson direct from the club, you can buy a Trial Lesson Voucher from the British Gliding Association, which is useable at various clubs around the country. Click here to find out more.

Before flying

One thing to be aware of when you go gliding is that airfields tend to be in flat open spaces, so it often seems windier and colder than elsewhere. Although you don't need any special clothing (but no skirts please!), it is advisable to make sure you have an extra jumper with you. Once flying, you will probably find it slightly warmer (as there is no wind and you are sitting under a perspex canopy).

When you arrive at the airfield, you will first of all need to get the relevant paperwork done (there will be a temporary membership form and a simple medical declaration to sign), so you will need to find the office or whoever is in charge. After completing the forms you will be introduced to your qualified instructor.

Pre-flight briefing

First flight

Before flying, the instructor will give you a short briefing including how to control the glider (the instructor and student have individual controls that have the same effect), what the instruments do, and what to expect during the flight. There will also be a short safety briefing. Sometimes these briefings will be done in the clubhouse, and sometimes when you are sitting in the glider. You may not take it all in straight away, but things will become clearer once in the air. If you are unsure of anything, either on the ground or in the air, be sure to ask questions - the instructor is there to help!

After the instructor and student have settled into the glider and securely fastened their seatbelt/harnesse, the instructor will carry out a set of pre-flight checks. This makes sure that the glider, its instructor and the student pilot are ready for flight. Once again, if you have any questions, just ask.

The instructor will do the launch. He or she will demonstrate that the glider essentially flies itself and how the pilot simply uses the controls to manouvre the glider in whatever direction is required. You will then get the chance to try your set of controls for yourself. Potentially, if you find some rising air, you may even experience soaring flight! You'll certainly enjoy the view and see some really interesting sights.

The instructor will always take control for the last few minutes of the flight including the landing.

Welcome to gliding!

First flights (or trial lessons) are obviously priced to include membership of the club for a short period of time as well as other costs. Once you've decided to take things a bit further and start regular lessons, you'll be a full club member and pay much lower fees for each flight. Make sure you ask someone to explain the detail to you.

To find out more information about how to join, and what follows, speak to your instructor and they should be able to point you in the right direction, or at someone else in the club who can!

We look forward to seeing you at a gliding site soon!

Click here to read about training to fly solo.

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