Ralph Reid Buckle Bursary is a gliding bursary open to cadets in South & East Midlands and Trent Wing. The bursary was created in the memory of Wing Commander Ralph Reid Buckle who sadly died in an air crash accident over Uttoxeter. The bursary was created by the funds donated by his widow and also the funds raised by the then existing East Midlands Wing.
The bursary was originally for powered flight but due to growing cost of powered flight the bursary was switched to non powered flight.
The selection process for the bursary is quite hard and intense. The selection process involves filling in a form stating all the achievements the candidates have achieved since joining air cadets and also listing all the gliding experience the candidates have had. The form also includes writing a small essay showing the selectors why you are a suitable candidate for the bursary. Candidates who are successful are invited to attend an interview lasting approximately 30min.
The interview is quite specific on the topic of gliding but is quite detailed and intense so good preparation about different gliding organisations and different ways of gliding is essential. There are usually 4-5 places available each year so setting yourself out from the rest is important in order to get on to the bursary. The bursary is worth £500 for each selected candidate.
This year the bursary was held at Buckminster Gliding Club based at Saltby airfield in the heart of East Midlands and lasted for 5 days from 15-19 August. The first day of the bursary was really enjoyable as we all got a long flight lasting around 30-45 min. Having a good sunny day was a bonus as we all learnt about soaring and basic controls such as rolling, yawing and pitch. The first day was quite relaxing as we didn’t get as many gliders launched. But we were warned that the second day would be hectic. The second day was quite hectic and energy draining as on the second day we all worked on learning how to do launches and landing so we had continuously had gliders landing and launching.
This was a great way to build up from knowing nothing to doing launches all by yourself with the faith of the instructor entrusted in you. The third day was quite disappointing as most of it was rained out due to bad weather but as I was the first person to go up this gave me a chance to work purely on landing and launching. Although we didn’t get much time for gliding on that day this gave us a great opportunity to do some theory which was just as essential for the course as the actual gliding.
The last two days I spent polishing up my circuits launching and landings in order to go solo. Whereas on the other hand 2 other people on the course got the chance to do an aero tow, practice launch failures and got the chance to go solo. This was the end of the course but since the club membership lasted for 3 months from the start of the course and I also had some money left from the bursary I re-visited the club and completed the course and also got the chance to complete one successful solo.
Overall the bursary was a really great learning experience. I was taught and assisted by some really nice and experienced people. I would like to thank Bob (Instructor), Pete (Instructor) and most importantly Charles (Winch Operator) without whom no one would’ve have been able to fly.
2418 (Sherwood) Sqn
South and East Midlands Wing