You know much about flying already, so for power pilots we offer 'Fixed price to solo' at a 50% discount.


As a power pilot you’re used to paying by the hour. Gliding doesn’t work that way, because the only fuel cost is getting airborne. This means we charge a launch fee plus an airtime cost to cover aircraft funding and maintenance. Thus we can’t predict what it would cost you to go solo in a glider under this pricing structure – you’ll have some 1 hour flights and some 1 minute flights.


Complete novices face the same problem, so we’ve introduced a Fixed Price to Solo scheme.


Because we already have PPL and ATPL members and thus, some idea about how long, on average, it takes to reach solo, licensed pilots get a 50% discount on this scheme. It covers all your winch launches and airtime until you solo. Our experience is that you will need between 20 and 50 flights to solo, many of which are real EFATO equivalents (the kind of thing you've only simulated up to now). And stalling and spinning, of course.


The cost of this package to PPLs is only £350. In addition, you need to join the club, and the annual subscription for 2016 is £352.


Email us or call us on 07538 639772, we'll be pleased to help. If you're a power pilot, our PPL co-ordinator Chris Reed will call or e-mail you to discuss how best to get you started in gliding.

PPL/ATPL Special Deal

Flying Gliders Might Improve ATPL Pilots’ Upset Flying Skills

by Rick Adams

October 7, 2013

"Pilots seeking to improve their manual flying skills should consider trying gliders, according to Captain Sarah Kelman. The former women’s world gliding champion and EasyJet safety officer told the Royal Aeronautical Society’s recent International Flight Crew Training Conference in London that flying gliders is beneficial to upset prevention and recovery training.

Kelman echoed the consensus among conference participants that airline pilots’ manual flying skills have eroded in recent years. “There’s a reluctance to turn off the automation,” she said. But gliders may be just the ticket for pilots seeking a broader spectrum of proficiency. “Gliders are well suited to demonstrate what loss of control feels like,” she asserted. “Today’s gliders are high-performance machines,” capable of covering 500 miles without an engine and climbing to 32,000 feet or more (an altitude she has reached over Scotland). Glider wingspans and handling are “comparable” to those of a Boeing 737, in her view.

It’s common for glider pilots to “fly right to the edge of the envelope,” making tight 70-degree-bank turns to spiral upward on thermals, Kelman said. Gliding requires not only hands-on flying; it also demands that pilots be keenly aware of energy management and meteorology. “Even on a fair-weather day, there are risks,” she explained. “For example, you might encounter strong thermal activity on short final.”

With no automation, glider flying can require five to six hours of concentration, and all approaches use visual flight rules. Kelman said EasyJet encourages its pilots to try as much hand flying and as many visual approaches as they can within operational guidelines."

Last year we recruited three PPLs as new members. Two are now solo (for the third, life got in the way so he still has to complete his training). This is what they posted online:

“I have recently taken up the PPL to Glider pilot solo offer at Ridgewell and am thoroughly enjoying it.

Wish I had done this a long time ago but finally attracted to it by the friendly introduction to the club and realistic offer of fixed price zero to solo. It is a very friendly and relaxed club run in a professional way with good instruction, a credit to the gliding fraternity. Looking forward to soloing soon.”

“The taster day was well organised and I got a full 6 launches in with the CFI as my instructor. It was a very good introduction indeed to a 'day in the life of a glider pilot' and I now have no fear of the 'hanging around all day to get 5 minutes in the air ' thing, at least at this club. Six launches in a day is quite tiring, and it's plenty to keep you occupied.

I thoroughly enjoyed the gliding experience and getting to know the club members (but don't mention playing the ukulele). I signed up for the Fixed Price to Solo scheme as I decided it is something I want to do and I don't see that it conflicts with my 'other life' as a power pilot at all.”


By Boeing_747-8I_flight_deck_Beltyukov.jpg: Alex Beltyukovderivative work: Altair78 (talk) - Boeing_747-8I_flight_deck_Beltyukov.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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).
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07538 639772 (Office)

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Contact: Tony Brook

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