Along with flying, gliding is one of the most enjoyable activites within the ATC. GLiding is similar to flying in the way that it is conducted, athough it involves the use of gliders instead of powered planes, and thus uses thermals in order to stay in flight. At 1188 Squadron, we visit to 644 VGS (Volunteer Gliding Squadron) whom are based at RAF Syserston, in order to go gliding. At this base they mainly use the Viking glider, which requires a winch in order to be launched. At other bases that may be reached via going on camps etc, cadets may also get the oppourtunity to fly the vigilant; an aircraft similar to the grob tutor, that has a engine which is turned off after the vigilant has launched in order to begin gliding. What do you actually get to do when gliding? On arrival you will be kitted out and then given a brief instruction brief by the staff. Throughout the day you will also get the oppourtunity to help around the airfield by attaching the winches to the gliders and helping move the gliders around. You will often get 3-4 sorties in the glider each visit, each of which can last up to 30 minutes; depedning on the weather and abundance of thermals. As with flying, you will be given the chance to take control of the aircraft. Gliding is different to flying in the respect that it is much more orintated around pushing cadets towards a gliding licence. Each time a cadet goes gliding, they will be put through the GIC (Gliding Induction Course) programme. Each time a cadet goes flying they will be taught GICs 1-3. These cover basic areas such as controlling the aircraft, finding thermals and basic naviation. Once cadets have completed their 3 basic GIC courses, they may apply for a gliding scholarship if they are over age of 17 and can pass a basic medical fitness test. If cadets are successful in applying, they can choose to either partake in several weekends or a week long residential course in order to earn their blue solo glider pilot wings. Even if you have a medical condition preventing you from gliding solo, ghost wings can still be earned. Detailed information on gliding can be found here.
Here is a short video showing a viking glider winch launch.