Find us on waze


5 days

Alex Harris giving theoretical instruction to new member Nick - 2016

Why choose to book a gliding holiday with us? 

  • Our beautiful rural airfield is located in the east of the county, the weather here is generally better and thermal soaring conditions stronger.


  • We are located further from the east coast and less likely to be influenced by the 'sea breeze' effect that other clubs suffer from closer to the coast, this means our useful soaring days are longer and not moderated by cool inshore winds.


  • We can offer an aero tow facility every day from 11:00 to 18:00 subject to a tug pilot being available. We are not restricted by narrow tarmac or concrete runways and spend less time waiting for gliders to be pushed off the landing strip.


  • We offer three different types of training gliders each with their own individual flying characteristics, personalities and performance differences.


  • We are a small friendly club situated near beautiful historic towns and villages.


  • Our courses will have a maximum of two pupils each week to ensure everyone can maximise their flying experience.

Essex Gliding Club has many years of experience providing quality holiday gliding courses to the public with an unprecedented safety record.

We have introduced thousands of people to the thrill of silent flight over the years, from our old gliding site at North Weald Airfield, (where we ran very well attended weekday evening flying sessions and very successful holiday gliding courses) to our present site in Ridegwell Essex where we continue to offer trial lessons.


Following the expansion of our club fleet with two modern tandem seat composite PW6 training gliders and a beautifully and extensively restored ASK 13, we are excited to be once more offering holiday gliding courses in this coming 2018 season at Ridgewell airfield.


We hope to inspire some of you to come and join us in this  wonderful adventure sport, hopefully kindling some new gliding or flying careers and providing you with some fond memories for years to come!

In addition to the aircraft above, we can offer you a high performance Marianne composite tandem glider with a 19.5 metre wing span!


We will show you that gliding is not the exclusive preserve of the very rich but an adventure sport available to many with a modest disposable income.


If you need extra inspiration to help you consider trying gliding, look no further than our exciting video links on our video page, a world of exciting gliding possibilities could become yours very quickly!


How much does the course cost?


The five-day course costs £550. Fewer than five days are charged at £100 per day and £20 per aero tow launch, which may be taken if the tug aircraft is available. Expect to get at least four flights a day if the weather is reasonable: more if it’s good: less if it’s great and you get long soaring flights. If it is not flyable we will offer you an alternative flying day. 50% to secure booking, remainder MUST be paid minimum of 2 weeks prior to course


How is the course structured?


On your first day you will receive a short introduction followed by safety and equipment training/familiarization, flying training will commence immediately.

Five consecutive days of flying would be good. four, three, two or even just one could be arranged.

Day one of the full five-day course includes two aero tows to 2000 feet. Thereafter, it’s winch launched flights. The aero tows ensure that novices get the air time to acclimatise to the experience of silent flight and the feel of the controls.


What time should I arrive in the morning?


Please try to arrive by 09.00, there are always gliders to push and things to be done on our airfield for preparation of flying.


Will I receive any discount/incentive to join the club following my course?


At the end of your time with us you will have THREE MONTHS full flying membership of the club and can continue to fly, learn and enjoy the freedom of flight without an engine.


Who will teach me to fly?


All instruction is with British Gliding Association Instructors who are happy to teach absolute beginners, solo pilots seeking more experience or help to achieve further qualifications, power pilots wishing to experience real flying or pilots of any level that would like to try some basic aerobatics.


Will I need to attend classroom lectures?


Our emphasis will be on flying, if the weather is bad we will provide you with some basic theory about gliding.


Do I need a medical before I fly?


No you do not require a medical, so long as you are fit to drive a car, you should be OK. We ask you to sign a medical declaration with your course/membership application.


Is there a minimum age?


You need to be at least 14 years of age, if you are less than 18 years of age you will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Our child protection policy is available to view here.


Could I be too tall or too heavy to fly?


Yes, anyone approaching a weight of 16 stone or a height of 6' 2'' should contact our course secretary before signing up.


Can I fly if I am disabled?


This depends on the degree of your disability, we do not have any gliders adapted for disabled use. Please contact us before signing up to discuss your requirements.


Do I need to buy a flying log book?


No, we will provide you with a flying introduction pack which includes a glider pilot log book.  Click link to download ab initio training documents.


Do you teach cross country-soaring on the course?




Do you provide accommodation on the airfield?


No, but we list some available B&B's on this web page. You are welcome to bring your camping trailer, tent, tourer or caravan. We

have an electrical power hookup for you.


Do you have wash-room facilities?


Yes, we have a new private modern tiled wash-room with a WC, wash basin and shower cubical with hot running water.


Do you have cooking facilities?


Yes, we have basic cooking facilities inside our mobile home club house. We provide snacks for purchase on site, alas we cannot provide cooked food for you.


Can I bring my family?




Can I bring my dog?


Sorry we cannot allow dogs on the airfield for your safety and theirs.


Can I have a camp fire or barbecue?


Yes, we will designate an area to you for these activities.


Can you host corporate events?


Yes we can provide special flying days for corporate functions. We cannot provide catering for such events however, you could bring your own barbecue. Please contact us to discuss your requirements and discuss fees.


What should I bring with me and what preparation should I do before joining the course?


Please navigate to our 'Join The Adventure' page to learn more about gliding. Please read our 'How Gliders Fly' page, you will find plenty of useful information there to prepare you for your gliding course.


If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to phone us or e-mail us by using our special gliding course information contact box located on this page.


Happy soaring ....



One of our course members sent this lovely testimonial to our C.F.I..


"Hello David.                                                            Saturday 6th August

Thankyou for your email.

Firstly let me offer my special thanks to you and all the members of the Essex Gliding Club for putting up with me all week. The experience has been truly memorable, the friendliness of all your members has been such a joy. Everyone I met on the field is dedicated to this great and wonderful sport and the pleasure to share it is tangible.

Wow! Learning to fly like the birds!.
The dedication and skill of the instructor is amazing and gives the novice such confidence.
I so enjoyed my weeks course and learned so much.
I was allowed to be hands on flying the glider from day one.
The friendliness of everybody is so supportive and encouraging.
There is much to learn and it is so much fun doing it.
The feeling as your glider rises on this invisible column of air up, up to the clouds is awe inspiring.
Would I come again?, I can't wait for the next course.
Safety and professionalism is absolutely paramount, it is so reassuring.
From beginner to... Well the sky's the limit.. Its all up to you.


I enjoyed being on the course so much. From that first decision 'will I go', the club supported and encouraged me with good communication, contact and welcome, all so important to a successful course". 


Holiday Gliding Courses 2018

Gliding Course Availability 2020

Course week – 1 to 5 June 20

COVID-19 crisis may affect bookings please phone

for updates

How to pay?


We accept payment by telephone, cheque and debit card.

If you would like to make payment by cheque, please check course availability by e-mailing us or contacting us by phone first. Our telephone number is 07538 639772, (no text message forwarding possible on this line).


Cheques can be made payable to Essex Gliding Club and posted to our correspondence address shown at the bottom of this page.

Please mark your correspondence with the words 'Course Fees'. 


Alternatively please check availability using our booking allocation list at the bottom of this page.


Please contact us by e-mail using the message box below.

Terms & Conditions


The cancellation fee for a booked gliding course is 25% of the value of the course fee.


We have no control over the weather and do not refund the cost of days lost due to poor weather. We will provide you with ground lectures during poor weather. Alternative days will be arranged for flying in the case of poor weather during the course.


If you decide that gliding makes you feel unwell or you do not have a head for heights etc, we will charge a cancellation fee of 25% providing you decide to stop flying by lunchtime on your first day, otherwise you will be subject to the full cost of the gliding course.


We can accept re-bookings subject to availability and suitable weather.


Bookings are taken on a first come first serve basis, we do not reserve places for customers.


Prospective course members must declare any medical, physiological or any other condition that may affect them and their ability to fly and the safety of others. 

Accommodation Appropriate For Gliding Course Participitants


The White Horse Inn, Ridgewell.


The Bell Hotel, Clare.


Cobbles B&B, Clare.


Pickwick House, Stoke by Clare.


The Red House, Clare.


The Ship Stores, Clare.


The Waggon & Horses, Great Yeldham.


Walnut Tree Cottage, Clare.


The Old Pottery, Castle Hedingham.


Castle View Rooms, Castle Hedingham.


Castle Hedingham B&B,


Anstey Cottage, Castle Hedingham.


The George, Cavendish.


Mashay Cottage, Little Yeldham.


Please use the contact box below to contact our Gliding Course Secretary with your enquiry

Online Course
Application Form
When should we call you back ?
Mailing Address

Essex Gliding Club

c/o Breckenridge

Smiths Court

Thornwood, Essex

CM16 6BD

The Clubhouse

Ridgewell Airfield

Ashen Road




CO10 8JU

Flying days ...........
Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays.
Holiday flying weeks throughout the year, (refer to our calendar page).
Call us  

07538 639772 (Office)

No forwarding of text messages possible on this voice call forwarding service!

Contact: Tony Brook

©2016  Essex Gliding Club.    Website concept, design & construction by Charles Forsyth

Glider club and courses