After you’ve successfully flown solo, there’s nothing to stop you becoming a fully qualified glider pilot by completing a training syllabus to achieve the Bronze and Cross-Country endorsements. You will then hold the equivalent of the Private Pilot’s Licence. The specialist training will equip you with the skills to make informed decisions about your planned flying, navigate cross country and deal with unusual situations, such as landing off-site in a farmer’s field.
Once you are a fully licensed pilot, qualified to fly anywhere in Europe, the sky really is the limit and, depending on your personal aspirations, you can decide to take advantage of further specialised coaching to develop, for example, into cross-country flying, competition flying, or even glider aerobatics. You can even become an instructor who will train the next generation of pilots.
Oxford Gliding Club is situated very well for cross country flying allowing us to plan tasks to fly in virtually any direction. We set turning points to fly around and return home in the fastest time. On a good summer's day, it is possible to fly hundreds of kilometers around several turning points, using nothing more than the energy in the atmosphere.
Nothing beats the unrestricted views from a glider. Below some photos of easily accessible places from Oxford Gliding Club.
Being located just north of the city provides easy access to spectacular views of the Oxford landmarks
Silverstone is just a short glide from OGC and is the north turning point for the club 100km task
The Diamond Light Source at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is just south of Oxford and another great landmark from the air
There is an active cross-country scene at Oxford Gliding Club. Chatter usualy starts a couple of days ahead of a promising looking weekend. Weather conditions are checked and possible routes and turning points discussed. We typically set tasks in three classes:
Novice for the early cross-country pilots
Intermediate for those looking to build on their early cross-country experience
Pundit for those looking to maximise what's possible on the day
There are lots of experienced cross-country pilots all too keen to help out with task planning, lead and follow or first-hand cross-country instruction in our DG505 20m two-seat glider.
Task planning typically starts with a look at the predicted soaring conditions across the country to work out a possible distance and best area to fly within
Potential tasks are planned within special software that shows airspace restrictions
In the right conditions it is possible to fly all over the country from OGC, say to Brighton and back again
When flying long distances cross country, often a mile high in the air, it is reassuring to be able to pick out distinctive features in the landscape to help you navigate. Towns, major roads, rivers and railway lines are all helpful. Large lakes and reservoirs with their distinctive shapes can be seen from long distances and make nice turning points to aim for.
We also carry GPS-enabled moving-maps. The picture showing the instrument panel below shows Grafham Water clearly on the moving-map.
Pitsford Water on the way to Husbands Bosworth is a good landmark for someone attempting their first 50km cross country Silver Distance
Rutland Water to the northwest of Peterborough is a popular turning point on a nice cross-country day
Grafham Water near Huntingdon is a welcome sight and good thermal source when flying out to East Anglia
Measuring your performance against yourself and others is a great way to learn to improve your cross-country abilities. Many of our cross-country pilots take part in competitions throughout the year with pilots from near and far. The National Ladder allows you to see how you performed against others. We record our club ladder there, so check out some of the flights made from OGC over the years.
The national ladder allows anyone to view flights recorded using in flight loggers, this one around East Anglia
Several of our pilots often compete in the Shenington Regionals near Banbury
Here's an adventurous flight over to St Catherine's Point on the southern tip of the Isle of Wight