Clubs in the UK have slightly different rules about how they permit early solo pilots to fly but in general until you have done a dozen or so solo flights you will be required to have a check flight with an instructor every day before you fly solo. This is to make sure that you are 'on form' that day and to catch any bad habits early before they develop. It also makes sure that you are able to cope with whatever weather conditions there are that day and in some sorts of weather you will need to accept that you can't fly solo until you have had more experience. As you get more solo hours the check flight frequency will be reduced and you will be allowed to progress from the training dual-seater onto a solo machine.
|The Bronze Badge|
Before you can apply for the bronze test you need to have completed 50 solo flights. To qualify for the bronze badge you need at least 3 check flights with an instructor who will exercise your flying skills fully. You also need to pass a written multiple-choice examination with papers in principles of flight, airmanship, meteorology, radio and navigation. Completion of this badge is a sign that you have really arrived as a solo glider pilot.
|The Cross-Country Endorsement|
Up to now you will have been required to stay within 'gliding range' of your
airfield. Of course this can be quite a long way depending on what height you've
been able to achieve but nevertheless you will not have been allowed to set off
into the blue yonder. To do that you need to get your bronze cross-country
endorsement. This is intended to demonstrate that you have acquired the skills
needed to navigate across country obeying the rules of the air and making use of
whatever lift you can find along the way, and if necessary to be able to pick a
safe landing area and get down into it. For this endorsement you need to have
done at least 2 lengthy soaring flights, one of at least 2 hours and 1 of at
least 1 hour. You then need to plan and execute landings into off-site areas
such as grass fields and plan and execute a triangular flight of at least 100
kilometres. If one is available you can use a motorglider for the last 2 tests
and even a light aircraft for the navigation test since it is not your actual
glider control skills which are being tested. When you have passed this
endorsement you will be allowed to fly away from your own airfield as you
please. (Well that's not strictly true - if you are using club aircraft you will
probably still need permission from an instructor).
At this point you can if you wish start to tackle the FAI badges which are set and recognised internationally by gliding's international supervisory body, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). From this point on all of your badge claims will be based on solo flying, noone will come with you for a check flight, it is entirely up to you to plan and execute the necessary tasks for each badge step. To prove that you have done what you claim to have done you need to carry a barograph (this is a machine which measures and records your height) and either a camera or a gps-system and logger (to record your passage around remote points).
|The Silver Badge|
A UK-only award, the '100 kilometre diploma', is awarded for the following additional tasks:
A pre-declared flight (this is one where you say in advance what you are going to do) of at least 100 kilometres.
A pre-declared flight of at least 100 kilometres at an average speed of at least 65 kilometres/hour.
|The Gold Badge|
The Height diamond for a gain of at least 5000 metres (about 16405 feet).
The Distance diamond for a flight of at least 500 kilometres.
The Goal diamond for a pre-declared flight of at least 300 kilometres.
It is a big achievement to gain all three diamonds. Only a few hundred people world-wide have achieved it.
|Portmoak Airfield, Scotlandwell, Near Kinross KY13 9JJ Tel. 01592 840543 Office Hours Contact Us|
The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Gliding Union Ltd. or its directors. Some of the material and links presented here have been contributed by members and others who do not represent the SGU Ltd. e&oe.