Learn to fly in a week
Five days of exhilarating flying from as little as £360. Book online
- Great scenery
If you are looking for a holiday with a difference, our five-day courses tick all the right boxes.
About the course
Our five-day courses are simply a great way to learn to fly. Whether you are an absolute beginner, or have some experience, the continuity of flying over five days will ensure you make rapid progress.
These courses are hands on! From the very first flight you can expect to be handling the aircraft. In the care of one of our highly experienced, BGA-rated instructors you will progress through a carefully structured programme of briefings, demonstrations and flights.
If conditions allow, your instructor will take you on extended soaring flights, climbing to around 3,000’ in thermal lift over the beautiful Cotswolds. And, for that extra thrill, there is even the possibility of experiencing some basic aerobatics!
You will be one of a team of three or four pupils on the course, and you will learn at your own pace. Gliding is a collaborative sport, so when you are not flying you will still be out in the open air, helping to run the launch point and retrieving gliders.
How much can you learn in a week?
As a complete beginner you can realistically expect to be doing almost all the flying by the end of the course. You will almost certainly have mastered general manoeuvring and the winch launch. You will also be well on your way to learning circuit planning and the approach and landing. Faster learners may also have had an introduction to stalling and spinning.
For those with some experience, a holiday course is one of the best ways to consolidate and improve your gliding skills. The continuity of flying over five days ensures rapid progress compared to the stop-start of weekend flying. So, whether you want to go solo, complete a bronze badge, or improve your soaring , a week’s course is the perfect option.
Sarah’s story - “It helps if you like speed!”
Sarah, from Swindon came on a course after having a single trial lesson.
"It was really good fun" she says "It was a bit daunting at first, but I was made to feel very welcome and very safe. For the first couple of days the flying was easier than I expected, but it certainly got quite challenging towards the end. The instructor was very patient and very relaxed and went at my pace. The winch launch is an amazing rush, something you never quite get used to. And yes, it definitely helps if you like speed."
Sarah subsequently joined the club and flew solo.
Another Outstanding Course Week
Tim Bralesford (pictured in the rear of PW6 with instructor cum pupil Richard Kill) has enjoyed three holiday courses with us. Tim first came to Aston Down in 2009 having not flown a glider for 20 years, and was very surprised & pleased to be flying a PW6 solo on the Monday & the Astir single seater on the Tuesday. Having had such a great week, he came to us again in 2010, and managed to clock up no less than 16 hours in the week, including a 4 hour flight in the K8 chasing glass fibre machines from cloud to cloud. In 2011 the Cotswold Gliding Club laid on a special course for Tim, as he wanted to explore the possibility of instructing again.
Tim said : "All 4 of us on the holiday course had a great time. The other 3 all had limited previous experience, one was sent off solo on the Friday, and the other 2 got very close. I never expected to be (mock) instructing on cable breaks by the Friday, but I was! Richard played the role of pupil brilliantly. On the high cable break exercise he managed to throw in no less than 5 typical errors a pre-solo pilot might make for me to sort out, including being determined to land in crop".
The week proved to us, and Tim, that he still has what it takes to be an instructor. Whilst most of our holiday course members are pre-solo, we are happy to cater for all pilots at whatever stage they are at. Tim found the mock instructing challenging, but very rewarding, and he enjoyed over 10 hours soaring including two 4 hour flights on his own.
Most of your flying will be in our modern, PW-6 two-seat training aircraft. These are comfortable, easy to fly aircraft. If time and conditions allow you may also have a flight in our DG500 high performance cross-country trainer. For solo pilots there is the opportunity to fly our Astir and ASW19 single-seaters.
- All flying fees – we aim to give at least 25 winch launches or soaring equivalent.
- Log book and other documentation.
- Teas and coffees.
- The price does not include accommodation, lunches and evening meals.
There is a wide range of accommodation to choose from:
- The club house has great value twin or single bedrooms and self-catering facilities.
- You can park a caravan or pitch a tent on site. Electrical hookup is available.
- Close to the airfield there is a wide-range of excellent B&B accommodation and self-catering cottages.
We can do many things at the Cotswold Gliding Club, but we can't control the British weather. We are able to fly in most conditions, but it becomes unsafe in rain, low-cloud and strong winds. If we lose one or more days to the weather, the first thing we try to do is fly more on the remaining days. If we cannot make up the time, we will offer you a pro-rata refund, or the opportunity to join another course for the balance of days. The bottom line is we want to you to feel you have had value for money, whatever the weather.
- Age. Our holiday courses are suitable for anyone over the age of 14. Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent of guardian. If you are over 70, please let us know before the course as we have to notify our insurers
- Weight. Due to aircraft limitations we cannot fly with anyone over 110kg (242lbs), fully clothed and wearing a parachute (7kg). If you weigh less than 45kg (100lbs) then please contact us for advice. Also very tall people, more than 1.9m (6ft 3ins), may have difficulty fitting into the cockpit. You may need to try a glider for size. See our FAQ for more detail.
- Health - You must declare before your course any health condition that may potentially affect your safety whilst in the air - e.g. motion sickness or epilepsy. Check with our office if you believe you may have a condition that will be problematic.
- If you are a solo pilot, or think you might go solo during the course, you must bring a valid medical certificate (please contact the office for more information).
Non-flying family and friends of course members are welcome to stay on the airfield. For the non-flyer, the Cotswolds offers a wealth of attractions and entertainments. Some of the attractions within half an hour’s drive of the airfield are:
- Market towns of Cirencester and Stroud.
- Shopping in Regency Cheltenham and Gloucester.
- Watersports at Cotswold Water Park
- The amazing, unfinished neo-Gothic mansion at Woodchester.
- Stroud Canal walks.
- Cotswold Way.
- Slimbridge wildfowl reserve.
- National Arboretum at Westonbirt.
- There are also many picturesque walks and quiet lanes for cycling.