Glider pilot training is one of the core activities for Air cadets.
It's the unique opportunity to fly that makes the Air Cadets so
different from any other youth organisation. The Air Cadet Organisation
operates 28 Volunteer Gliding Schools (VGS), with professional training
co-ordinated by the Central Gliding School. Air Experience Gliding
(AEG) and flying training for 121 Squadron cadets is provided by
two local VGS.
Both units are equipped with the Grob 109 Vigilant motorised glider,
unlike a conventional glider it has an engine and propeller, so
it can launch itself. The Vigilant can take off and climb under
its own power to a height of 2,000 feet in approximately 5 minutes.
It can then be flown as a conventional glider by allowing the engine
to idle or, the engine may even be turned off all together. It's
the Vigilants ability to launch itself that makes it such a tremendous
training aircraft. The student can spend more time in the air learning
how to fly as opposed to being on the ground waiting for the next
Cadets have the opportunity to learn to fly the Vigilant glider.
Your glider pilot training could start at the age of 14 and you
could be flying your first solo at the age of 16, before you are
old enough to take your first driving lesson.
Cadet Glider Pilot Training Courses
All cadets attending gliding courses must have: -
a high level of motivation and commitment
no temporary or permanent medical condition that
would make flying unsafe for cadet or pilot
their parent's consent to fly
Gliding Induction Course (GIC)
This course provides cadets of 14 years and 6 months of age with
the opportunity to learn how to perform basic manoeuvres in the
upper air. The course normally a single flight of approximately
30 minutes duration enables cadets to experience practical flying
training at a younger age than at that required for solo. Cadets account of the Gliding Induction
Gliding Scholarship (GS)
A Gliding Scholarship course for cadets of 16 years of age or above
is an opportunity to undergo further training and achieve Gliding
Scholarship wings. The course consists of up 8 hours in a Vigilant
to achieve Dark Blue GS wings. Cadets showing the necessary aptitude
are invited to progress with additional training up to a 'solo'
standard and achieve the Silver GS solo wings.
Advanced Glider Training (AGT)
Cadets who have attained the Solo GS Wings and display the necessary
ability to progress may be invited to become staff cadets at one
of the gliding schools. As such they will have the opportunity to
undergo advanced courses whereby they can attain the coveted gold
This may all sound a bit too good to be true, well, we must admit
that not all cadets can expect to get up to the AGT standard. But
those who have the necessary aptitude and commitment can do it.
121 Squadron has had several cadets who have progressed beyond the
AGT standard and are now training other cadets to fly.
One of our current cadets has just completed his AGT and is undergoing
further training to enable him to become a gliding instructor. Why
not read his own account of his glider pilot training.