Learning to Glide

Category: WWGC
Published on Sunday, 09 January 2011 16:41
Written by Joomla!
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Once you have taken an introductory lesson, or decided to commence training we will welcome you as a club member.

We fly training on Sundays (Saturdays are for Cross Country pilots) - from around 11:00 till sunset.

Gliders hangar is the furthest on the South of the field - on your right as you drive in.
If the hangar is open, and somewhat empty and no one is in sight then we are already at the runway.
To get there follow the perimeter road all the way round (retrace to the entrance and keep going) past the shooting range.
The grass runway is where we launch from.
Please keep a lookout for aircraft, and do not drive on any runways...
Amenities are limited, bring sunblock, and a couple of deckchairs, and something to drink. (water is best)

We have two club aircraft - a 1956 Scheibe Bergfalke 2/55 and a 1964 Bergfalke 3. these are tough as nails, and low wing loading fabric covered basic trainers. They stay up on the lightest of thermals and are economical to operate. Both are regularly maintained and will probably still be working hard many years from now.
There are also various private gliders at the field. Three Scheibe Zugfogels (open class single seaters from the 1960s) a Schleicher Ka8b, a very rare Sagitta (15m wooden racer from the 1970s - exquisitely restored by it's owners) , Two ASW20 15m racers, a LAK12 and a Slingsby T59D Kestrel 19m - this was state of the art open class in 1971 when built.

We have just re-introduced aerotow - but generally all launching is by winch. Basically a Ford V8 engine and transmission from a Ranchero pickup attached to a large drum. This gives us very reliable and economical launches to 1,200 to 2,000 feet above ground level. With that height you are pretty sure to connect with a thermal, if the day has passed trigger temperature and the thermals are working.

We offer air experience instruction flights - these consist of a launch, and circuit. If the instructor is able to thermal away he or she (we have one lady instructor) will extend the flight. The cost is currently R200 for the first launch , with an additional cost of R2.00 per minute after the first ten minutes. Most people opt for the scenic soaring experience, particularly a gentle amble over the Vaal river as it winds over the rapids going into town.

Formal instruction is carried out in a club context. There is no charge for the instructors time, only costs are club and Soaring Society memberships, and aircraft costs. Students generally get to solo pilot standard in 6-10 months accumulating in the region of 70 to 90 flights.
Once solo there is a program to progress the pilot to Glider Pilot Licence - which is an ICAO recognised license. There are a number of theoretical and practical test involved in achieving the GPL.

You will learn about:

Most importantly you will learn about flying gliders whuile having a lot of fum. Be warned it is as addictive, and time consuming as it is rewarding.