Flying High and Becoming a Pilot

learn to glide

Wondering what gliding can do for a young person? We believe that gliding can lead to life-changing opportunities. We spoke to Jono, one of our young fliers about his gliding journey and his goal of becoming a pilot.

A Young Flier

SGC:      You’re 21 now Jono but when did you start gliding?

Jono:          My dad has been gliding for over 30 years and took me along to have a go myself when I was about 16.

SGC:      What was your first flight like?

Jono:          Awesome! I loved it. My co-pilot was Mark, who is now my syndicate partner, which is cool. It was such a different experience, unlike anything I had ever done before and I loved every minute of it!  I started to work towards my solo license from that point and do a fair bit of cross country gliding. It’s been interesting learning about the practical and technical aspects like the different types of lift and how to read the weather and cloud cover.

Becoming a Pilot

SGC:      We hear that you might be thinking of turning your love of the skies into a career?

Jono:          Yes. I actually wanted to be an Architect but having seen the Emirates A380 coming into land at Glasgow Airport in 2019, I realised that what I really wanted was to be a commercial pilot.

With that in mind, I’m carrying out my commercial training at ACS Perth, who are just fantastic and very accommodating. I will begin my Commercial Pilots Licence at the end of 2021, which will take roughly 2 months. A while afterwards I plan to do the multi-engine ratings, once the aviation sector looks to be picking up post Covid. It totally depends on the route you take, but for me it will take a few years, as I would like to fit other flying and gliding endeavours around my commercial training.

SGC: Do you expect to still be gliding after you qualify as a commercial pilot?

Jono:  Yes, absolutely! The only things stopping me will be money and the weather!

Love of the skies

SGC: What is your favourite type of gliding task?

Jono: I am really enjoying flying Cross Country and that requires certain weather conditions. Since passing my ATPL Exams, I have started doing more towing again, so starting to rack up the powered hours now with that, which is great fun.           

Gliding can be an expensive sport so as I’m keen to do more competitions, I’ve already started washing and polishing trailers and gliders to start raising some funds towards paying for those.

SGC: Do you enjoy competing?

Jono: I try to attend as many UK Junior Gliding Events as possible, as it’s a great way to meet other juniors from around the UK and fly in different landscapes and conditions.

What gliding brings

SGC: What is the best thing about gliding?                                                                                          

Jono: The feeling of absolute freedom it brings, when you’re racing around either above or below cloud level, there really is nothing else like it.

Honestly there are so many reasons to love gliding, I’m so lucky to have so many amazing opportunities through this sport, and seeing Scotland from above is certainly one of them.  There is even positivity to be found in the failure and setbacks, as they help you grow as a pilot and increase your skill levels as you try and work around them.  There are some days when the airfield is waterlogged and you wonder why you are there, but that’s part of it. The sense of camaraderie amongst the members at SGC is great too.

SGC: What would your advice be to anyone considering gliding?

Jono: Do it! If you want to find out whether flying is for you, gliding is a cheap and awesome way to start. If you’re already a powered pilot, it can help with your hand flying ability and capacity for workload, as well as give you some opportunity for flying for fun.  All in all its the best way to get started or improve your skills. Like me, it could end up putting you a road to a career in flight.

If like Jono, you or a young person you know could find their future in gliding, drop us a line to talk about how we can realise their dreams.