Where we fly

UoN Gliding is affiliated with and flies at Cranwell Gliding Club, based at RAF Cranwell, 'Home of the RAF'. We benefit from the use of the facilities and experience at Cranwell, and they benefit from our help running the airfield, maintaining the gliders, and of course providing a stream of eager students ready to learn to fly, and generate income for the club!

Cranwell Gliding Club

Cranwell Gliding Club is an RAFGSA club based at RAF Cranwell, near Sleaford in Lincolnshire. The members of Cranwell Gliding Club travel from all around the local area to fly there, all benefitting from the excellent facilities and fleet that the club offer.

Set up in 1972, Cranwell Gliding Club aims to promote gliding to servicemen and women in the RAF, including those who don't normally get the opportunity to fly, such as engineers and other ground staff. The club flies every Saturday and every Sunday from the North airfield at Cranwell, and also on Friday evenings in the summer for public groups to come and experience a trial lesson.

RAF College Cranwell

During the First World War, the Admiralty needed to establish a series of air bases to supplement the coastguard and alert our shore defences against sea and air invasion. Legend has it that a young naval pilot was briefed to fly around looking for a piece of land big enough and flat enough, and he came across the land that RAF Cranwell now occupies. 2,500 acres of land were requisitioned from the Earl of Bristol's estate for the purpose.

Established on the 1st of April 1916 as the 'Royal Naval Air Service, Training Establishment, Cranwell', RAF Cranwell became property of the Royal Air Force at the time of the creation of the RAF on the 1st April 1918, 2 years to the day that the base was commissioned. All officers who join the RAF are interviewed, selected and trained at RAF Cranwell, equivalent to Sandhurst for the Army, or Dartmouth for the Navy, and is considered by many to be the spiritual home of the RAF.

The North airfield housed sheds for balloons and airships, and the south airfield contained aircraft hangars.

Prince Albert, later King George IV, was an officer at RAF Cranwell, leaving in August 1918. He was in charge of No. 4 Squadron of the Boys' Wing.

The college building was built in 1933, and was based on the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, in turn designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It has a distinctive dome on top which can be seen from many of the surrounding roads, and a beacon in the top of the dome which operates at night time, flashing 20 times a minute. The building was officially opened in 1934 by His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII.

During World War II, the base survived attack, with the only damage due to enemy action in the whole war being caused by an incendiary bomb cracking a tile on the college roof.

Sir Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, attended RAF Cranwell, where he formulated many of his ideas about jet engines. The south airfield saw the first flight of a British jet engined aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39, in May 1941. In 1954, the concrete runways of the south airfield were laid for the benefit of jet aircraft.

The Red Arrows were based at RAF Cranwell for a short time from 1996 until 2001, when they moved to their current base at RAF Scampton, North of Lincoln. When Scampton closes in the near future, the Red Arrows are to relocate to RAF Waddington, just South of Lincoln, and just North of Cranwell.

In 2008, Prince William joined the officers at Cranwell for a few months to complete his basic flight training.

The college's motto is 'Altium Altrix', which roughly translates to 'Nurture the Highest' or 'Nurture the Winged'.