Air Training Corps
Gliding is yet another opportunity for you to develop your flying skills. Gliding is similar to powered flight except that a glider does not use an engine but thermals, pockets of rising air, to keep it in the air. The two most common types of Glider are the Viking and the Vigilant. They are flown from VGS (Volunteer Gliding Schools) across the country. The nearest to us is RAF Kirknewton near Edinburgh where we do most of our Gliding.
Gliding Induction Course (GIC)
The Starting point for your gliding experience will be at a Volunteer Gliding School (VGS) which will fly either Vigilant motor gliders or Viking winch launch gliders. You will begin by attending, with others from your Squadron or CCF unit, your affiliated VGS to be taught the Gliding Induction Course (GIC).
The GIC has been designed to give you a taste for Air Cadet Gliding and consists of 3 different levels of instruction. You will be shown various aspects of aerodynamics that you will have been taught in the classroom before being taught the ”effects of controls” in the air. You will have the opportunity to take control and practice what you have learned. On your first visit you will be taught the GIC 1 and your subsequent visits you will progress to GIC 2 and 3.
After you have completed the course, you will be awarded a GIC certificate.
GIC 1 – 20 minutes
GIC 1 – 3 launches
You will be shown and have the opportunity to practice ...
· How the pitch is changed
· You should be at least 13 years and 3 months of age
Gliding Scholarship (GS)
Gliding Scholarship courses are an opportunity for cadets to undergo further training and achieve Gliding Scholarship Wings. A course consists of up to 40 launches in a Viking or 8 hours in a Vigilant to achieve GS wings. Cadets showing the necessary aptitude are invited to progress to 'solo' standard and hopefully achieve the GS Solo Wings.
If you want to be nominated for a Gliding Scholarship, let your Squadron or Unit staff know. Ideally you should have completed a GIC 1, 2 or 3, but it is not mandatory. You must be 16 years of age when you start the course and you will need a medical form (RAF Form 6424), which is available upon request from your staff. Take this form to your local doctor and ask them to complete it (you must retain the form because you will have to present it to the VGS on commencement of a GS Course). Once completed the Form is valid for 2 years, as long as nothing medically untoward happens to you. After you have completed the medical (no examination required – it is completed by reference to your medical notes), and your doctor has signed the form to confirm that you are fit to undergo glider pilot training, you are ready for a course.
It is then a matter of a course becoming available. Courses are available in two formats, either over successive weekends until you have completed the course or a continuous week-long course (usually in the summer, however they are held all year round at the Air Cadet Central Gliding School at RAF Syerston). You must have the commitment to attend a GS course, as it can be difficult to predict the exact time it will take to complete as it depends on your own progress and the weather. Typically in summer a course will take 3 weekends to complete. Successful completion of the course will entitle you to wear the Blue GS wings. You will have done well to get this far. For cadets showing the required aptitude, there may be the opportunity to progress further and possibly reach the solo standard. Should you manage this and successfully complete a solo circuit you will be entitled to wear the Silver GS wings.
Vigilant - 8 Hours Extra 20% allowed for further training to solo
Viking - 40 Launches
You must be 16 years of age Parent's consent to fly signed in service book or 3822 RAF Medical Form 6424 completed (if you have a medical condition, you can be assessed for glider pilot training by forwarding, via your unit, to HQAC for further consideration) You must have a high level of motivation and be prepared to attend a VGS until your course is complete No temporary or permanent medical condition that would make flying unsafe for cadet or pilot.
Once you have completed your GS and subject to approval by the Commanding Officer of a VGS, you can become a staff cadet at your local VGS. This will require you to attend the VGS on most weekends, helping to run the school and allowing you to continue your training to AGT (Advanced glider Training).
It is possible for you to become a glider pilot and then an instructor, passing on your knowledge to other cadets.
With thanks to Alan Gillespie, who provided us with the information for this page.
Duke of Edinburgh's Award