Gliding is the ultimate adventure sport, a sport that requires the pilot to harness the power of nature to stay airborne whether they’re flying locally to their club, flying long distances cross country or soaring at high altitude. Gliding in India is controlled by the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and has been mostly undertaken by IAF (Indian Air Force). However in the current scenario gliding is increasingly brought into the public domain and many aviation enthusiasts are being absorbed by this recreational sport. In the UK alone there are around 85+ gliding clubs with more than 8500 glider pilots soaring the skies. It is estimated that about 2500 gliders are registered in the UK, which are owned by clubs, institutions and some privately owned. In comparison, India has just 11 gliding clubs all of them in North India and operated by the state government and DGCA (of these some are now non-functional). In total there are only about 39 gliders in the whole of India. Gliding is the most beautiful and absorbing way of flying. Even a first short flight can be a memorable experience, and gliding's challenges and delights continue to enthral the most experienced pilots. No two flights are the same with the pilot continually attempting to make the best possible use of the conditions on the day. Virtually anyone who is able to drive a car can learn to fly a glider. It may take from 50 to 150 flights before you go solo, depending on factors such as age, aptitude and how regularly you fly. Apart from being reasonably fit, there are no great physical requirements and people with a variety of disabilities have found it possible to take up gliding. It is an advantage to start young although the minimum age for solo flying is 16, younger members can still learn before this age. There is no maximum age and many members have begun gliding after retirement and gone on to become successful solo pilots. 

Club Setup

Gliders are basically light aircraft without engines. Older gliders are made of wood and metal, modern ones are made from glass and carbon fibre. All are strong and controllable so pilots can fly them safely and accurately, normally landing within a few feet of the chosen place. They have long efficient wings and glide from 20 to 60 times as far as then descend. As the normal rate of descent is only about 150 feet a minute, any faster rising air can be used to gain height and prolong the flight. This is called soaring and in good conditions gliders can climb several thousand feet in each area of warm rising air or thermal and then glide several miles to the next one. In this way long cross country flights can be flown around pre-planned routes, usually finishing back at the starting point. There are different ways to launch a glider, typically a winch launch or aero tow is employed. Winch launch is the cheaper and efficient way to launch a glider up to a certain altitude. Winch pulls in a 3000ft cable attached to the glider which then climbs, rather like a kite, to a height of 1000 - 2000ft depending of the direction and strength of the wind. The cable is released at the top of the launch and the glider begins a wide circuit of the airfield. If no rising air is found the flight will last about 5-10 minutes and the glider will land close to the starting point. As an alternative to the winch, gliders are sometimes towed up behind a powerful light aircraft and released at a height of 2000ft or more. This is called aero towing. Gliding is an affordable way to take to the skies, especially when you consider the cost to hire powered aircraft. Gliding also promotes ‘Green Aviation’ and is extremely environment friendly. The optimal weather conditions for gliding are sunny and not too windy. Generally speaking, the only things that will stop you flying are persistent rain, low cloud and gusts of wind over 30 mph. Gliding involves flying unpowered aircraft using the same naturally occurring currents of air that birds use to fly. Using these invisible currents of air, known as ‘lift’, you can soar to great heights and travel great distances around the country at average speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Typical cross country flight distances are around 300km, but flights in excess of 1,000km and altitudes of over 30,000 feet have been achieved in the UK with even greater heights and distances achieved in the mountainous regions of the world.

Gliding Club Setup

Gliding as a sport began in the 1920s. Initially the objective was to increase the duration of flights but soon pilots attempted cross-country flights away from the place of launch. Improvements in aerodynamics and in the understanding of weather phenomena have allowed greater distances at higher average speeds. Long distances are now flown using any of the main sources of rising air: ridge lift, thermals and lee waves. Mangalore Gliding Club shall serve as a platform for aero sport and recreational activities. The club aims to bring aviation to the general public with a motto ‘Everybody fly’. Gliding is the cheapest way to experience the thrill of flying. Also it is an excellent way to promote aviation in the country and educate the people about the benefits and challenges of flying in this 21st century. Operating model: Engage students in flying (Link with educational institutions). Social media activity to engross the public to aviation and give them an opportunity to experience real flying at affordable price. Partnership with Corporates and aviation industry to boost interest Organise flying Competitions both domestic and international with aim to set new records and awards Public Relations Communications and Marketing and Advertising scope Most long thermal cross-country flights, particularly in England are done throughout the warmer summer months. However, clubs in hillier regions of the UK – most of Scotland, Wales and the Pennines – often encounter some of their best soaring conditions during the autumn and spring. In the main though, the optimal weather conditions for gliding are sunny and not too windy. Clubs run training and fly throughout the year weather permitting with the main cross country gliding season running from May to mid-September. Although not always the best for cross-country flights, the period from September to March can be a great time to learn to fly. Clubs are less busy, allowing you to make rapid progress to solo standard. Generally speaking, the only things that will stop you flying are persistent rain, low cloud and gusts of wind over 30 mph!