Are you looking for something completely different, but also affordable? Once you experience the thrill of flying silently like a bird, you'll be hooked on this beautiful and exciting sport. Gliders are capable of flying hundreds of kilometres, for hours at a time, rising in naturally occurring thermals, ridge or wave lift to 10,000's of feet above the ground.
Excitement and tranquillity
A new challenge and new friends
An achievement path
The opportunity to learn about flight and meteorology
A unique club experience
A leisurely, but productive sport
One of the cheapest approach to learn to fly fixed wing aircraft.
The British Gliding Association Glide Britain, with support from Rattlesden Gliding Club, have produced this excellent video to showcase what gliding is all about.
How Does a Glider Work
A glider flies like any other plane. The wings provide lift to keep it airborne and control surfaces (ailerons, elevator and rudder) on the surface of the glider allows the pilot to climb, descend and turn.
However, unlike other planes, gliders don't have engines - they are constantly descending in order to maintain speed and airflow over the wing to produce lift. This is similar to how a bike free wheels down a hill. If the glider continues to descend, eventually it will need to land either at an airfield or a suitable, safe field. The skill of the glider pilot is to harness the natural environment to find and fly within rising air.
Going Up - How do we stay in the air?
Gliders use naturally occurring rising currents of air (called 'lift') to climb thousands of feet for many hours at a time. As long as the air is rising faster than the glider is descending, the glider will go up. It can be easy to find lift, but it can take a lifetime to master - finding the best lift will allow you to fly further and faster.
In the beautiful Suffolk countryside we only really encounter thermals and occasionally sea breeze. Other gliding clubs in the UK, especially those around Wales & Scotland, are lucky to have ridge or even wave lift.
For a glider to soar in lift, it must first get into the air. Whilst there are many different ways to get a glider into the air, Rattlesden Gliding Club is able to launch gliders using the two most common methods in the UK.
The British Gliding Associations Glide Britain have asked glider pilots from across the country the most common misconceptions they hear about gliding: