Learning to fly gliders is not difficult; anyone with average skills can do it and there are no special requirements. Just like driving a car, there are some mechanical skills and “road rules” to learn and some judgement skills to acquire. Here is how we give you those skills.
- All training is done in modern two-seater aircraft with an experienced and accredited instructor in the seat behind you.
- Before every flight, your instructor will brief you on what he or she would like you to and how to do it. There is also some theory stuff to read up on during your training.
- Our gliders are towed into the air (“launched”) behind a powerful tug aircraft that whisks you to 700m (2,000′) above the ground before you release to start gliding.
- From the first lesson, you will be “hands on” as you learn how the aircraft moves, what the controls do and how to make the aircraft do what you want it to.
- There is a bit to learn – effects of controls, turning, circuits, landings, launches, emergency procedures, etc – but it all comes together surprisingly quickly.
- A key skill you need is learning how to “thermal”; finding and turning efficiently in rising air – the key to soaring. Depending on the soaring conditions on the day, you will experience this from your first flight.
- Normally, you would have 2-3 lessons each day with each flight lasting 15-45 minutes.
- Most people go solo after 5-8 hours of training.
- Once you go solo, there will be more dual training but you will be doing mainly solo soaring as you build your skills and judgement.
- There is also some more advanced flying that you will move onto.
Gliding is a club operation run by volunteers and all members are expected to pitch in and help. That means you are expected to be there for the whole day and help others with their flying, just as they help you. Over time, you will learn how to get gliders out of the hangar, give them a daily inspection (DI), tow them down to the runway, hook-up and help launch them, retrieve them after landing and so on.
This is not just work but part of your learning as you watch and see what others do, talk to more experienced pilots and make new friends. Benalla is a very social club with a great club-house and after-flying activities. Make a weekend of it!