Your gliding experience kicks off at a Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS) flying either Vigilant motor gliders or Viking winch-launch gliders.

Designed to give you a taste for Air Cadet Gliding, the Gliding Introduction Course (GIC) consists of three levels of instruction. On your first visit you’ll be taught the GIC 1. Later visits will cover GIC 2 and 3. In these levels you’ll learn all about aerodynamics and controlling the aircraft, first in a classroom, then taking control and practicing what you’ve learned in the air. After you’ve completed the course, you’ll be awarded a GIC certificate.

Once you have completed your GIC, you could be put forward to do a Gliding Scholarship which could allow you to fly solo in a glider.

Viking T1

Providing most cadets’ first piece of airborne action the Viking T1 is a modern, high performance two-seat glider. The Viking has no engine and the main method of getting airborne is via a winch launch which uses a steel cable to launch the glider skywards. A winch launch flight normally lasts around 5 minutes but in warmer months the pilot can use thermals (warm rising air) to stay aloft for longer, circling to gain height.

Vigilant T1

The Vigilant T1 is a motor glider with an engine and propeller, so it launch itself like a normal powered aircraft but still be flown as a glider. The Vigilant is an agile aircraft, capable of soaring in thermals under the right conditions. Instead of being seated in front or behind your instructor like in the Viking, the Vigilant seats two, side-by-side. Flights usually last about 30 minutes.