What is Gliding?

Gliding is many different things to many different people. For some, it is just a casual hobby, and a way to meet new people. For others, it is an inexpensive way to get airborne. For many, it is the cutting edge sport of cross country racing or aerobatics.

Local Soaring
Imagine getting into a glider and being towed to 2000ft. Do you think you can learn the skills to stay up for hours at a time, find some rising air to take you even higher? We can train you to read the skies like a bird, to find where those thermals are (rising columns of air) to take you higher and see the breathtaking scenery of Sussex, the South Downs and the coast.

Ridge soaring can take place when a northerly wind blows and we can soar the updraught of the wind on the South Downs. Imagine racing along the South Downs at 80-100 mph just a few hundred feet above it and waving to all the walkers from the comfort of your cockpit. ….. but failure to find any lift means you could be landing within a few minutes but that’s the great challenge and lure of our sport.

Cross country flying
If you can soar locally for several hours, the next step is fly cross country, which is the same as soaring locally but taking your home airfield with you. Looking several miles ahead can you spot the next column of rising air? Can you look out for fields to land in if you don’t make it to the next thermal? Can you navigate around airspace restrictions?

Can you fly the full length of the South Downs when the northerlies are blowing? Over 50 miles of flying just above the Downs – to Eastbourne in East Sussex, turn round, then fly to Butser Hill, near Petersfield in Hampshire, then back to our airfield at Storrington.

Flying high
Gliders in the UK have reached 24,000ft using wave lift. Wave lift is usually the result of strong winds passing over mountain ranges but it still can be found over the undulations of the South Downs at times.

Glider Racing – Can you fly your glider the fastest around a set course between 100km to 300km or more, choosing your route to find the best lift and maximise your glider’s performance to beat the competition? Competitions are handicapped so you don’t require the very latest glider to be competitive. Compete in different classes including two seaters so you can share the experience.

Aerobatics – Enjoy flying upside down pulling Gs and managing the glider’s energy to perform complex manoeuvres in the sky. Precision flying at its most demanding…challenging, but fun!

Motor Gliding – Why limit yourself to the local area, take off under your own power and fly to another county, then switch off the engine and enjoy peace and tranquility with a different view.

Vintage Gliding – float gently around the skies of Sussex in a glider made of wood and fabric. Years of character built in and with a lot less performance than modern gliders meaning a greater challenge to go further afield.

Two’s Company
Fly a two seater glider and share the experience. Social flying where all of the above are possible!

Apres Gliding
Enjoy a drink, BBQ, and great company at the end of days flying.

How many of these experiences appeal to you…1, 3, all of the above?

Come along for an introductory  flight and find out what gliding could mean to you!