This page should give you all the information you need if making a decision to join us at Highland Gliding Club. On this page we will try and tell it as it is and not fill your head with stories about dancing with clouds on silent wings although most people manage some of that before they go solo! If you've never flown in a glider before then we suggest you have a Trial Lesson before committing hard cash to learning to glide. If you have a trial lesson and then join the club within one month we will give a discount on your first year's membership of up to £30 depending on the type of membership you are eligible for.
To join, have a word with the Treasurer or with any instructor. You will be given a training record card to chart your progress towards becoming a solo pilot, and a log book to record your flying. You will also be added to the list of student pilots who can pre-book training slots using the club’s online booking system.
Training slots last 90 minutes and you will only be charged for the use of the glider at the normal rates, in other words the launch fee and the time spent in the air. You will have the undivided attention of the duty instructor and first call on the glider during that time; it is then between you and your instructor how you divide that time between theory and practical instruction. After the training bookings have flown there's often time later in the day for extra flights but this does depend on any trial lesson bookings we have.
It takes a team of people on the ground to get a glider into the air, and you are expected to help out at the launch point by retrieving gliders after they land, helping to position them for launching, signalling and log-keeping. While you do this, you will learn about handling gliders on the ground, and about the records which have to be kept. You will also be encouraged to come out in time to help get the equipment out at the beginning of the day, and learn how to check gliders for airworthiness each day and prepare them for flight. Your help at the end of the day to put everything away will also be appreciated.
The bad news is that apart from the costs of your actual flights you will have to pay an annual subscription and certain other charges. There are various categories of membership.
Ordinary membership is for anyone aged over 25 and under 60, living within 50 miles by road of Easterton Airfield. If you live over 50 miles away, you pay two-thirds of the ordinary subscription (country membership). Over 60s and those aged 18 to 25 pay half the ordinary rate, and under 18s and full time students of any age pay one sixth.
Over and above this, every flying member aged 18 or over pays a site levy which goes towards the maintenance of the airfield and buildings, and an annual capitation fee to our governing bodies, the British Gliding Association and the Scottish Gliding Association. It seems like a lot of different charges but we prefer our members to see where their money actually goes.
The Treasurer will keep a record of your flying, and of what you owe in subscriptions and flying fees, and you are expected to keep your account in the black. Lists of account balances are posted in the club house and the bus from time to time, and if your account is in the red you will be asked to make a payment. You can ask the Treasurer for a fully detailed breakdown of your account at any time. We accept cheques and cash at the airfield but not credit cards. Many members budget for their flying by paying their flying fees by monthly standing order.
We ask new members to pay one year's membership up front plus a bit more to cover their first few training bookings. £400 is a suitable amount for someone joining as a full adult member and the costs are broken down like this -
|Full annual membership||£180|
|Capitation (Paid to BGA and SGA)||£31|
|Total||£271 (leaving £129 credit for flying fees)|
Junior members would need to pay considerably less at the time of joining and Country or Senior members somewhere in between.
We are often asked how much it costs to go solo and this very much depends on a number of factors which include the aptitude of the student pilot, how often the student pilot books training and even how favourable the weather is when training. Student pilots with no previous experience should budget at least £1,500 to get to solo and some may spend considerably more. Please see the Costs page for all our fees and charges.
Before flying solo in a glider you must have a form signed by your doctor to say you are medically fit. If you take regular medication for any condition or suffer from any illness that you think may affect you flying, please consult the chief flying instructor and/or your doctor before joining as a full member and starting training. You should also check that any life insurances you have will cover you for flying in gliders.