Gliding in Kent

Gliding in Kent

Gliding in Kent has a very long and proud history with hundreds getting airborne to soar over of the Garden of England through the years. Located on the crest of the North Downs between Charing and Challock this lively and energetic club in Kent is a great place to learn the graceful art of gliding.

This Kentish club is is in fact believed to have been the first gliding club to be formed in England on the 4th January 1930. Of course there was no time for leisurely pursuits such as gliding during the second world war but the enthusiasts got together again and reformed in 1956 with a renewed zest and vigour. The club has migrated all over the county  but gliding in Kent finally settled at its current location in 1961 continuously developing and upgrading the facilities and fleet to remain up to date and modern.

A very dynamic club it has an excellent club house and briefing room for budding glider pilots and for the 150 active members has seven twin seat gliders and around 30 BGA approved gliding instructors. There are 20 tug pilots on the books to keep the club gliding seven days a week in summer and every Wednesday and at weekends in winter too. With the mild climate of Kent it’s perfectly possible to glide all year round.

Many have said that gliding offers the best views of Kent and the coastline. In fact on a clear day you can look out of one side of the cockpit and see the Thames Estuary Whitstable and into Essex whilst from the other side of your glider it’s the views of Ashford the Kent coastline and perhaps even France that’ll have you utterly enthralled as you take a slow graceful 360 degree turn to take it all in.

We are offering introductory taster sessions half days or one day courses in gliding at this Kent club. If you opt for the taster you will enjoy one aerotow flight being pulled into the air by a Piper Pawnee tug plane leaving you to soar high above the cliffs like a giant seagull and your ride back to the grass runway. The half day experience gives you two flights and lets you try both aerotow and winch launch methods.

On the full day session you will become part of the Kent gliding family for a day. See the ‘log cabin’ that gets towed out to the launch area (and acts as mission control on flying days) meet the members have a chat and generally immerse yourself in the world of gliding. Your intensive day gives you an aerotow and three winch launches where you are hooked up to the cable the winch takes up the slack and you’re away rumbling and bouncing over the grass for what feels like just milliseconds before you suddenly lift away and everything goes quiet…save for the sound of the wind whistling.

Find out more and book your place today!

Gliding in North Wales

Gliding in North Wales

A really rather special place to take to the air you’ll delight in soaring over the hillsides around Llandegla when you have a go at gliding in Wales. With instructors who are keen to show those on taster lessons just how the sun and air alone can power your flight you’ll learn a lot on these lessons as well as loving the sky-high Welsh views.

This popular North Wales club (or Clwb Gleido Gogledd Cymru in Welsh) uses a winch (cable launch) to get you airborne and depending on local weather conditions and forecast you will have one extended flight or up to three shorter flights during your time at the airfield.

But this isn’t just a aerial excursion to see the sights of North Wales. Once you’ve launched gained height and settled in to your glider flight the pilot may very well hand you the controls so you will actually be steering the glider yourself as you soar like a bird with the sun and air powering you over stunning vistas. Expect to hear words like ‘lift’ ‘sink’ ‘pitch’ ‘roll’ ‘vario’ and even find out what ‘attitude’ (yes altitude not altitude!) and ‘strop’ means in the world of gliding.

One of the best things about choosing to try out gliding out this Wales club is that you become a member of the club for 28 days allowing you to return another day and get discounted flights if you find you’re really hooked on flying! If you are more tempted by powered aircraft flights and taster lessons are available too from our main flying section.

We think you’ll love gliding. This is the best of Wales and there are also great facilities nearby including a B&B and several fine pubs so why not make a weekend of your gliding lessons over North Wales and explore the local area afterwards too? And don’t forget to invite friends and family along to enjoy the gliding fun watching you from the ground.

If  Wales is too far to travel Into the Blue offers gliding lessons at centres across the UK so there’s bound to be a suitable location for you.

Find out more and book your place today!

Gliding North Devon

Gliding North Devon

Gliding in Devon lets you see the beautiful countryside from an amazingly serene aerial vantage point as you glide through the skies above this quiet South Western corner of the country. The small and friendly North Devonshire aero club offers modern sailplanes to get your gliding dreams off the ground and aims to make you feel part of the team for the entirety of your glider experience.

For the one aerotow flight and the full day gliding experiences this Devonshire club which is one of the oldest established in the county uses modern Blanik and Bergfalke twin-seater gliders that are very easy to control. Before being launched (the club has Piper Super Cruiser a Bellanca Citabria and even a Chipmunk as tug planes!) your instructor will run through the pre-flight checks with you as well giving you a safety briefing on the flight controls and instrument panels of these trainer sailplanes.

Once airborne you’ll soon start to get an aptitude for silent flight…no droning engines no smell of aviation fuel just the whistling sound of the wind as you are gliding effortlessly through the Devon sky. If you are keen to have a go the instructor will hand you the controls so you can fly the glider yourself and if you’re feeling really confident in your newfound winged abilities you can stay in charge for the remainder of the flight!

If you choose to be in the glider for three aerotow flights you can expect to spend most of the day at this friendly Devon club. This gives you the opportunity to really feel like part of the team working together to get a glider into the air – from manoeuvring the gliders on the ground and launch preparation to log keeping and administration you’ll see it all.

All aircraft used for these gliding over Devon days have valid certificates of airworthiness and all instructors are fully qualified and members of the British Gliding Association. For a different birds-eye panorama we also offer other gliding experience venues throughout the UK.

Find out more and book your place today!

Vintage Slingsby Glider Experience

Vintage Slingsby Glider Experience

Vintage Slingbsy glider flights – good old fashioned open-cockpit gliding now available! This is your chance to fly in a rare Slingsby T21 glider. The vintage soaring machine is still very much a favourite and it’s a real honour to be able to offer flights in a stunning example of the classic T21.

Known as ‘Daisy’ this T21 was built in 1951. Designed and built in the UK by Slingsby the very first T21s took to the sky in 1944. They were used by RAF Air Cadets for training right up until the 1980s proving that this graceful bird has real staying power. Now many are in the hands of private owners and glider clubs who lovingly preserve these wonderful machines.

These Slingsbys look quite different to modern gliders. Affectionately called ‘The Barge’ it’s easy to say why with that wide flat boat-like hull. Unusually the T21 has a side-by-side configuration compared to most gliders that are tandem with one person sitting behind the other. But the major difference is that this baby is open cockpit. That means you are completely open to the elements making a flight in a vintage Slingsby glider with its 54ft wingspan the nearest you’ll get to being a bird!

Resplendent in her RAF trainer colours Daisy is a magnificent sight in the sky. Loved by RAF cadets (and their instructor trainers) for being robust stable with rather sedate flying qualities the T21 is pure gliding joy. With her distinctive looks Daisy is a real head turner.

Your flight will be a winch-launch giving you around 10-minutes of soaring in the skies above Bicester. Being the elegant lady of a certain age that she is Daisy can only fly in clement weather so please be patient with her. If your booked flying date is cancelled you can choose to rebook or take a flight in one of the club’s modern gliders.

We have to say flying with one of the country’s oldest glider clubs at one of the oldest airfields (RAF Weston-on-the-Green is still an active RAF base too boot) in a classic vintage Slingsby glider is a true delight. Anyone who is into silent flight will absolutely love this experience. Buy your voucher now and book your seat in this historic open-cockpit vintage glider. It’s going to be quite a flight.

Find out more and book your place today!

Gliding in Warwickshire

Gliding in Warwickshire

This small and friendly club offers gliding out of Warwickshire’s Bidford Airfield right in the heart of the Vale of Evesham. With easy access from Birmingham Worcester Gloucester Cheltenham and Stratford-upon-Avon it’s an excellent choice of airfield for those wanting to soar in the skies coming from anywhere in the Midlands.

On a clear day your views from the glider can span from the Severn Estuary to the Cotswold Hills. But however far you can see when you go up you will be awestruck by the beauty and silence. What’s more going gliding in Warwickshire is a little different from most…

That’s because these flight vouchers are not for a certain duration but a specific launch height. You’ll be pulled by a tug plane and you can choose to be launched from either 2000ft 3000ft or even a mile (that’s 5280ft!) above the ground. Once you’ve reached your chosen altitude you’ll be released by the plane and you’ll enjoy the delight of silent glider flight. 

Of course what’s rather fascinating when you’re released is that you can find ‘lift’ in certain air conditions. That’s to say you end up gaining height above and beyond the level you were released at so even though you have no motorised power onboard you can go up.

This all means that a 2000ft flight can last around 15 minutes a 3000ft one in the region of 25 minutes and a mile high glide around 35 minutes but it can often be even longer depending on gliding conditions. That’s why we like the fact that this club in Warwickshire goes for altitude rather than time.

As with most training gliders the ones here in Warwickshire are tandem which means the student gets to sit in the front cockpit and the pilot instructor behind. Clearly this means you get the best seat in the house with an unobstructed view of the River Avon Bidford and Evesham below.

You are sure to enjoy the atmosphere of this active owner-operated club for gliding at Warwickshire’s Bidford Airfield. Whilst gaining a deeper understanding of glider flights ground handling and glider launch procedures you get to have a go at the controls too. 

Find out more and book your place today!

SMART LEISURE Family Photo Shoot

SMART LEISURE Family Photo Shoot

Why not organise a family photo shoot for you and your loved ones? These photo shoots give you the perfect opportunity to get your nearest and dearest family members together and let a professional photographer capture that special moment forever!We think these sessions are an ideal way to celebrate a new addition to the family mark a significant date (like a birthday or anniversary) or create a special gift for a loved one or friend. In today’s busy world it’s not often we all get together as a family so this experience is sure to make those family ties stronger and you’ll have some stunning photos at the end of the shoot too.As the idea of these experiences is to make it easy and relaxed for you there’s no need to worry if you’re not normally at ease in front of the camera the expert photographer knows just how to get the best poses out of you and your family. Photo shoot studios are located the length and breadth of the country as well so you won’t have to travel far. Seeing as you don’t need to pick your venue when buying the voucher you can decide as a family the location most convenient for you all to meet at. Easy flexible and fun – that’s what these photo shoots en famille are all about!Once all ready and gathered in the studio the pro snapper will capture images of your family group in a variety of styles and poses from more formal photos to a relaxed snapshot style the choice is yours throughout the shoot.  To most of us a family photo usually consists of various members lined up in a rather awkward way and trying to smile for the camera. These photographs are inventive and different taken from a wide variety of angles and with varying lighting set ups to give the traditional family photo a modern twist.A 7″ x 5″ print of your favourite shot is included in the price of each family photo shoot package and is yours to keep. During the viewing session you’ll be able to choose your free family photograph and order any other photos from the shoot that you’d like to buy as well with everything from acrylic wall hangings to canvas big format prints.

Find out more and book your place today!