I'm glad you asked. The Scottish Gliding Centre is the largest gliding club in Scotland and has a long history of which we are proud. Have a look at the Club History page for more.
A glider flies just the way any other plane does: the wings provide lift to keep it airborne. The controls – elevator, ailerons and rudder – are the same as for any aeroplane. A glider has to fly downhill all the time because it doesn't have an engine pulling it forwards – much like a bicycle freewheeling downhill.
For a glider to go upwards it has to fly in rising air, or “lift”, and that's where the fun starts. Gliding is all about reading the sky and seeing where the rising air – free energy – is. If you get good at this you can go surprisingly long distances surprisingly fast. Some of our members regularly fly 100s of km across Scotland at average speeds of over 100 kph. Here are some photos of a nice 425 km cross country flight around Scotland.
If you want to know more about how gliders fly and soar, there are loads of excellent reference materials. There a short introduction to the different kinds of lift we use here.
- Clubhouse – We have a comfortable clubhouse with facilities for wheelchair users, a licensed bar for after flying, and a restaurant providing breakfast, snacks and light meals (soup, sandwiches) throughout the day. Evening meals are available by arrangement.
- Accommodation – The club has a number of single and double rooms providing simple but clean and comfortable accommodation. Please contact the office for prices.
- Club fleet –
- 3 x ASK21 two-seater trainer
- DG505 high performance trainer
- 3 x SZD Junior single seater
- private Falke 2000 motorglider available for training
- Launch methods – We operate a SkyLaunch winch and a Eurofox for aerotows. We also have a backup Supacat winch. Full training in both launch methods is available.
- Others – Workshop for members' use, hangarage and trailer parking for private gliders, caravan site for members, plus visitor camping and caravan parking by arrangement.
Given decent weather, we fly every day of the year except Christmas Day. Normal flying hours are 9am to 5pm but setting up and shutting down extend these times at each end of the day. Weekday evening flying sessions during the summer are from 5pm to sunset.
We are weather-dependent. We can't fly if it's raining, the clouds are very low, the wind is very strong, or if the field is flooded. The weather and webcam page lets you see the current weather at the airfield.
Gliding is one of the cheapest forms of flying, with an hourly cost well under half that of powered aircraft training. For details of the costs, please see the Tariff.
If you are starting from scratch it's quite expensive while you're learning, as you need to fly regularly and may have several flights in one day. Once you're a solo pilot it gets a whole lot cheaper, especially if you buy a share in a glider of your own.
In club aircraft the cost depends on how long you're airborne. An average training flight costs in the region of £25 and most people take 50-100 flights to achieve solo standard, typically spread over 6 months to a year. There is a huge amount of variation, depending on how old you are (younger pilots tend to learn faster) and how frequently you fly (you learn much faster if you fly regularly). If you come on one of our week-long summer courses you'll probably save yourself a lot of time and money in training.
Like many adventure sports, gliding is safe as long as you keep your brain in gear. If you are a beginner our BGA-qualified instructors will guide you through every step of the learning process and show you how to take care of yourself. Once you've mastered handling the controls, learning to glide is largely a matter of developing judgement and air-mindedness.
Because the number of accidents across the whole UK is very small, it's hard to get reliable statistics, but we estimate the risk for solo pilots as somewhere between car driving and motorcycle riding, and much lower for trainees under instructor supervision. In the latest 10 year period, the trainee glider pilot serious injury rate was 0.4 per 100,000 flights with zero fatalities. (Figures taken from BGA website, March 2016.)
Just about anyone can glide. In terms of medical requirements for solo flying, if you can drive a car you can fly a glider. Even if you can't drive a car you may be able to fly a glider: the minimum age for flying solo is 14. There is no fixed upper age limit. The weight limit is about 102 kg or 16 stone, and unusually tall or short people might not fit safely and/or comfortably in a glider.
For wheelchair users and those with other disabilities there is a flourishing club called Walking on Air which is based on our site and uses specially adapted gliders. Some medical conditions or medication would prevent solo flying but you might still be able to fly with a safety pilot. If you're uncertain whether you'd be able to fly just get in touch with us (see Contact).
The airfield is on the east side of Loch Leven, near Scotlandwell in Perth & Kinross. Please see the Contact page for full details, with postal address and map references.
Gliding is awesome. A glider is a plane – not a hang-glider – with a cockpit and standard controls, that's designed to fly superbly with no engine. Modern gliders can fly hundreds of kilometres and sometimes the only limit is the length of daylight. No engine means it's quiet, and you can have a conversation without needing headphones. Have a look at some of our photos.