At first thought, Cross Country Flying in a glider might seem highly unlikely. However, in the right hands and conditions, modern gliders are capable of phenomenally fast, long and high flights.
From Portmoak a few flights of over 1,000 km have been done entirely in Scotland, height gains of up to 10,000m are possible as are speeds of up to 150kp/h. See the epic flights page for more about these amazing flights, and bear in mind that gliders do not fly at night!
Zero to hero
However cross-country flying starts with far less ambitious flights, and there are a series of stepping stones to help you on your way. Obviously the first requirement is to take up gliding, followed by going solo! Further steps include:
- Widening your experience by graduating from the K21 2-seater to the Junior single-seater, and flying in a gradually increasing range of conditions;
- Gaining your Bronze badge, which is a BGA-specific qualification that is approximately the equivalent of a PPL;
- Adding your cross-country endorsement - this allows you to fly out of glide range of the airfield after a briefing from an instructor;
- Gaining your Silver badge, which is internationally recognised and consists of three components:
- A height gain of at least 1,000m from a low point to a following high point;
- A flight lasting at least 5 hours from release to landing;
- A flight from point of release to any logged point more than 50km from the point of release, which must be no more than 1% below the point of release.
- Your Silver badge can be followed with Gold & Diamonds. Unsurprisingly these are gained with longer and higher flights!
- The FAI regulate Badge and Diploma flights.
- Some club members have also flown in other countries, including Argentina (see the blog), South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.