Dartmoor Gliding Society based at Brentor, north of Tavistock, will be running a Women’s Go Gliding weekend on 27th-28th April to introduce women to the sport. Of almost 30,000 pilots in the UK, fewer than five percent are women. This initiative by the British Gliding Association hopes to change that and encourage more women of all ages to take to the skies. Steve Fletcher, Club Secretary says: “As a career industry and a sport, aviation has been slow to change, but we as a club are determined to help speed that up. 

Picture of Tavistock from a glider
(Picture of Tavistock from a glider)

“We are a small and friendly not-for-profit group run by volunteers with currently 59 members - but just six of those are women. We’d like to help more women and girls get into gliding with this special weekend which offers those women with a genuine interest an insight into the sport.  “The day, including the flight, is £50 for adults and £25 for juniors (under 21) and we can take girls from 12 years but all under 18s need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian while at the club.” Each day will include a brief overview of gliding and the club, a tour of the airfield and the mechanics of the launch which, common to most clubs in the UK, is via a winch launch.

Gliding Views

The highlight of the day will be a flight in one of the club’s fleet of two-seater dual control training gliders, accompanied by a club instructor. All instructors are BGA qualified with one of them, Peter Howarth, awarded the BGA National Instructor of the Year in February for his contribution to the club and the sport.  Steve continues, “Gliding is a unique form of flying that uses air heated by the sun to stay aloft. Pilots can fly long distances using thermal lift alone, with the UK record at 1,108km. We have had flights of over 7 hours made from Brentor reaching heights of 19000ft. “It's a thrilling test of a pilot’s skill and knowledge and is much more affordable than power flying. For most it is an exciting hobby, but it can also open up a career in aviation. Young people can learn to fly from as early as 12 years, so it’s possible to qualify as a solo pilot at the age of 14.”

Val Kiely from Mary Tavy was given a flight experience by friends for a special birthday and hasn’t looked back. She says, “It was a wonderful day. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. The voucher came with a three-month club membership so I decided to go along and learn more about gliding and what I could achieve.  “Since then I have become a full member and had many great experiences, learning new skills and taking part in a variety of different activities. I love it that gliding is an activity open to young and old alike.” To find out more contact the club secretary on [email protected] or go to their Facebook page or website at dartmoorgliding.co.uk. 

Gliding Views
(Gliding Views )