Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses some commonly asked questions about gliding.

Do I need any experience to fly?

No, you do not need any experience at all to fly.

Many of our members had never even seen a glider before they came flying with us, let alone flown one. We have access to an extensive fleet of gliders which cater for training (we have access to four twin seater aircraft), early solo flying and competition racing (5 single seaters in total).

You will be instructed by both our own, and Cranwell Gliding Club's instructors, who can train anyone to fly solo. It's easier than driving a car!

Is gliding safe?

Yes, gliding is perfectly safe.

There are a lot of misconceptions about gliding - the fact that is has no engine worries some people, while others are under the impression that the glider needs wind to fly, and are worried that the wind might stop suddenly. Neither of these points are anything to worry about - lack of an engine doesn't mean the glider can't fly (see the following page for a detailed explanation), and a glider will fly just as well on a calm day as it will on a day with a breeze.

In reality, gliding is no more dangerous than driving. Every precaution is taken at Cranwell Gliding Club to ensure the safety of both you and other people. The club is full of very experienced pilots and instructors, and the equipment is maintained to extremely strict standards, and checked every single day before flying.

In short, there is nothing to worry about.

Who is allowed to join?

Any Full or Associate member of the Students' Union can join UoN Gliding.

All students of the university of Nottingham are automatically full members of the SU, and can join the club at any point in the year.

After graduation, alumni may pay the Students' Union for associate membership, either £5 per year or £30 for life membership currently.

University staff members are entitled to apply for associate membership to the SU as well, on a yearly basis.

When do you fly?

We fly every weekend during term time, and most weekends during the holidays as well, depending on transport.

During term time, NUGC organise transport for members to get to the airfield every weekend.

During the holidays, members organise their own transport, usually via our forum. There is usually someone going on a given weekend, so it is worth checking in the forum if you want to fly during the holidays.

How do you get there?

NUGC organises transport to RAF Cranwell every weekend during term time.

Any member with a car is welcome to drive people to the airfield for us, and will get their petrol costs paid for by the club.

We take £5 off each person going flying to cover transport costs, and then pay drivers for each return trip to the airfield.

Another option for getting to Cranwell is to get the train to either Ancaster or Sleaford station, and then get a lift from someone at the airfield already. Both these stations are only a few miles away from the airfield.

During the holiday, there are usually still drivers going to the airfield, and it is worth checking on the forum, where flying is usually organised out of term time.

How much does it cost?

Gliding is actually surprisingly cheap! Membership of the club is only £49 for the entire year, and flights are only £5 per launch! For those joining between February and August, membership is only £30. Membership lasts until the end of August.

Because we are affiliated to an RAFGSA club, the fees are amongst the cheapest in the country for gliding.

More information can be found on our prices page.

How long does it take to learn?

The average number of flights in a twin seater before someone is sent solo is around 60. This can vary quite a lot however - we have some people who only needed 40, and some who need more.

The legal minimum number of flights a person must have is 20, but it is unlikely that someone will reach solo standard within this time, unless they have had previous experience.

Because you will fly in batches of 3 flights, it is entirely possible to join us at the beginning of the year, and be solo in time for the good summer weather.