As an aspiring pilot gliding seemed like a great way to get some flying experience so I started off with an air cadet gliding scholarship and went from there all the way to the point where I could take people up gliding! However throughout all of this the thought of going cross country in a glider fascinated me and seeing some epic flights that some of the top soaring pilots do inspired me to get involved in it. So I applied for an Air League Educational Trust gliding scholarship through their website and was lucky enough to be awarded one!
From here I had to pick a Junior Gliding Centre to spend the £300 of scholarship money at so I chose the Bristol and Gloucestershire Gliding Club at Nympsfield because not only does it have opportunities for thermal, ridge and wave soaring, the range of facilities and aircraft was fantastic.
After arriving on a wet and miserable Monday it was evident that despite the poor weather outlook for the week the instructors and pilots maintained a positive attitude and were convinced it would improve. But for the time being the resident instructor, Dave Hallsworth, got my bronze exam out the way and I started learning about navigation amongst other topics and quickly found that the quality of ground instruction made time on the ground just as valuable as time in the air.
Further into the week the weather did improve such that I managed to get all of my bronze flying done including the spinning which I discovered was a bit like marmite, you either love it or you hate it, and I loved it but a lot of club members seemed to hate it. I had previously completed all of my flying legs for both bronze and cross country endorsement qualifications except for the two hour solo so one evening it had become thermic and Dave sent me in the club K21 to complete a two hour solo so I used this opportunity to test some thermalling techniques I learnt from club members and instructors and hone in my skills however I had to land at two hours and five minutes for a prince flying into Kemble.
For the motor glider trips required for the cross country endorsement I travelled down to Keevil and flew with Al Stacey who made the navigational exercise not only an enjoyable learning experience but a great laugh as well. So in a week I had managed to complete my bronze and very nearly a cross country endorsement as well, something I could not have achieved without all of the staff and instructors at the BGGC so I would like to thank them and also Al Stacey from Keevil. And a big thank you to the Air League Educational Trust who gave me this opportunity so now I can start to work towards a silver badge and start entering some cross country competitions!
Flt Lt T Hargraves