A Lincolnshire gliding club has been helping its new junior members to aim higher by introducing them to cross country flights as part of a summer coaching school.
The seven teenage student pilots are the latest members to join Trent Valley this summer after the club was part of the Glide Britain project which launched a national video campaign to raise awareness of gliding and encourage others to give it a go.
Motivated by the BGA initiative, Aim Higher, the club decided to help the juniors bond as a group and boost their skills by organising a day dedicated to their training by providing top tips and encouragement in groundschool before giving them their first taste of cross country flight under instruction.
Pete Dixon is Junior Liaison member at Trent Valley, a Junior Gliding Centre accredited club.
He said: “The club has been concerned for a long time over the lack of young pilots within the club.
“But we now have a healthy intake of new juniors and we wanted to help them bond as a team, supporting them in running the airfield themselves for each other, under supervision.
“It was a real success and the feedback from the teenagers was so positive that we’re now planning to run another juniors’ coaching session during the October half term.”
Ground school training included how to launch gliders by safely handling and attaching winch cables and recording flights on a flying log.
Flying instruction was provided by Larry Lawes and Steve Nock, himself previously a successful Junior and now competition pilot.
Larry Lawes said: “Primarily the day was to provide training solely benefiting the young pilots who are our core juniors there was no other club flying and although some members made themselves available, it was a move to engage this group of pre-solos with all the launch point activity between themselves, and to bond a bit more.”
Steve added: “The weather was ideal. I flew a couple of the juniors in the Janus as an introduction to cross country flying with one of them experiencing a trip out to the seaside to Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast.
“I flew the others locally, giving them all soaring flights of over an hour each with more than 4,000 climbs; bigger than they’d all previously experienced.”
Gliding is a sport open to all and so much more than flying.
Whether you’re young, old, male, female or have a disability, you can fulfil a dream and fly, even training to fly solo from 14-years-old.
Find out more at www.gliding.co.uk.