"Majestic", "Silent", "Awesome" are all words used to describe the exhilarating and fun experience of a flight in a glider.
Young or old, male or female, gliding is many different things to many different people. For some, it is just a casual hobby. For others, it is an inexpensive way to get airborne. For many, it is even the cutting edge sport of either racing or aerobatics. For all, though, it is a silent and graceful way of flying without an engine.
The only age limit in gliding is that you must be 16 to fly solo. However, that’s not to say you cannot train with an instructor before 16. Indeed, many trainees go solo on their 16th birthday! There is no upper age limit.
How to get started
Learning to fly a glider is not difficult. If you have the aptitude to drive a car, you have the ability to learn to fly. The first step is to experience gliding by having a trial lesson. If you decide gliding is for you, and you want to make the fastest possible progress towards flying solo, you should consider a one or two day course. This is truly a fantastic way to learn gliding, the more intense, the better! Courses will provide a consistent learning path and of course you keep the same instructor during the course.
As with many air sports, gliding is very subject to weather conditions, so it would be recommended to have a trial lesson or do a course over the summer months. The Ulster Gliding Centre, the only gliding facility in Northern Ireland, provides training from absolute beginner through to solo and beyond, including the skills necessary to fly cross country. The centre also has a glider modified for wheelchair users.
Is it easy?
Just book a lesson with the Ulster Gliding Club and then the sky's the limit.
Is it expensive?
Learning to fly a glider is probably the cheapest way of getting airborne. A trial lesson typically costs £65. Gliders come in many shapes and sizes. Second hand gliders can be bought from as little as £1500 but there are much more expensive gliders available to buy too. Fortunately, you don’t need to buy your own glider as centres will often have two-seater gliders for instructional purposes and single seaters also.
If you do buy your own glider, you can keep costs down by joining a syndicate.