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About The BGA

The British Gliding Association is the governing body for the sport of gliding in the UK. Our members are the 76 clubs that provide gliding facilities for their members – clubs that are spread throughout the UK from the north of Scotland to the SW tip of England and which range from small, member-run clubs through to some of the largest gliding clubs in the world. We represent all the clubs and their approximately 6000 members, as well as providing services direct to individual owners and pilots.

Our roles are many and varied. We provide advice and assistance to clubs on a wide range of topics, including safety, finance, regulation, operations, and marketing and take a leading role in the development and promotion of gliding, including with young people.

We are committed to safe practices. We provide oversight of a variety of self-regulated activities and where externally regulated, we hold various CAA-issued approvals, for example for pilot training, pilot licensing, and continuing airworthiness management.

We work in close collaboration with the Royal Aero Club (which represents all of UK airsports) and with other pan-sector bodies such as the General Aviation Safety Council and the GA Alliance. Internationally, through the European Gliding Union we partner with Europe Air Sports to protect the rights of the UK glider pilot and, in the wider arena, with the FAI International Gliding Commission.

The BGA is responsible for facilitating gliding competition in the UK and for the British Gliding Team, one of the more successful teams in international gliding competition.

The BGA Vision

Our vision for gliding is an exciting, rewarding and sustainable air sport for all and associated recreational activity facilitated nationwide to a high standard by gliding clubs on airfields whose future is secured, and in partnership with others including non-gliding activity.

To achieve this vision, the BGA aims to provide the membership with leadership and support to achieve:

A gliding operation within a 1-hour drive for 95% of the UK population.

A sustainable gliding club membership.

A demographic profile of membership that converges closely with that of the UK population.

Training and coaching for development seen as a continuum across the full spectrum of gliding activities and experience levels.

Competition and award processes which reflect evolving glider and pilot performance, as well as changing perceptions and measures of achievement.

Healthy and stable supply of instructors, with appropriate qualifications and a balanced age distribution.

An ethos of, and appetite for, volunteering amongst club members.

Awareness that gliding is an equal and responsible aviation and airspace stakeholder.

Maximum autonomy and minimum external regulatory involvement.

Wide public perception of the appeal, the value, and the success of British Gliding.

Some BGA key facts

Formed on 27th March 1930

76 clubs which have as members some 6000 pilots

2100 gliders

1000 instructors

340 airworthiness inspectors

Around 230,000 flights pa

More than 1.5m kms flown each year

Numerous competitions organised each year

British Gliding Team with multiple recent World and European championship medal successes

Organisation

The BGA employs a small professional staff, based at our offices in Leicester. You can find contact details for these here.

For many years, the BGA was honoured to have the late HRH Prince Philip as its President. The Vice-Presidents are:

  • Roger Q Barrett
  • Ben Watson MA FCA
  • David Roberts OBE B.Com FCA
  • Patrick Naegeli
  • Peter Harvey
  • Andrew Perkins

The Association is led by an elected Executive Committee and much of the specialist work is carried out within volunteer committees. The committee leads are:

Airspace – Pete Stratten
Competitions & Awards – Jim White
Development  – Dave Latimer
Instructing & Examining – Rose Johnson
Safety – Tim Freegarde
Technical – Howard Torode

In addition, we are fortunate to have the services of specialist advisers, including on topics such as child protection and medical matters.

Contact details for all committee chairmen and specialist advisors can be obtained by contacting the BGA office.

Executive Committee

  • George Metcalfe - Chair

    George has been gliding since 1976. His flying career has included instructing and examining, many comps and expeditions in UK and abroad, and he flies cross-country frequently, preferring declared tasks to the edge of the weather (or the edge of the island!). George is also a keen sailor; mainly around the Solent but also further afield on occasional coastal expeditions.

    His past experience includes terms as club chairman at Lasham and on the BGA Executive Committee, and a working life in IT services. He is a trustee of the ‘Launchpoint’ charity.

  • Matt Page

    Matt flies from Aston Down having taken up gliding in 2010 whilst at university. He actively supports the BGA’s junior development projects through UK Junior Gliding, and enjoys flying regional competitions in his ASW20. He is an active instructor and occasional winch driver at Cotswold Gliding Club. In his day job, Matt is a software developer in the engineering sector.

  • Nick Garland

    Nick learnt to fly at Booker and now flies from Dunstable via a brief stopover at Bicester. He has been flying since 2001, and also holds a PPL. In his spare time he juggles being a corporate lawyer with being a diligent father to his three young, mostly well-behaved, children.

  • Mark Fielding

    Mark started gliding with the Air Cadets in the mid ‘90’s before joining Borders GC some years later. He progressed through BI and Asst Cat Instructor rating while also being their Chairman since 2008.

    In his professional life has held leadership roles within retail and currently works in Consumer Finance.

  • Tim Barnes

  • Rebecca Bryan

    Rebecca flies her ASW19B from Cambridge Gliding Centre, is an active Basic Instructor,  enjoys cross country flying and  is actively involved with the promotion of women in gliding. Rebecca is an experienced marketing and corporate relationship professional with a strong background in systems engineering.

  • Lucy Wootton

    Lucy is a gliding instructor and inspector based at Edgehill Gliding Centre. She has been involved with Junior Gliding for many years including more recently as one of the supporting organisers of the Winter Series and coaching at the Junior Championships. Most recently, Lucy worked with a team of experienced members to restore gliding at Shenington airfield.

    Lucy is an engineer by profession and holds various academic and other qualifications and has a wide range of working experience across aviation engineering and maintenance activities.

  • David McGrath - Vice Chair

    David started gliding over 40 years ago in Australia, and while he was lured across to powered flying for some time he returned to his original passion of soaring, and now flies from Oxford Gliding Club where he is both a fully rated Instructor and an active cross-country pilot.

    When not pursuing his passion, professionally David is a Strategy, Innovation, and Digital Transformation leader within the Financial Services sector.

  • Craig Lowrie

    Craig Lowrie is a retired engineer and company CEO, a former club chairman and an active BGA inspector based at Southdown gliding club at Parham. With 4500 hours flying in gliders, SLMG’s and tugs, Craig regularly flies his DG808 cross-country from Parham and UK expedition sites, as well as supporting his club’s towing operation.

Other Officials

  • Pete Stratten MBE - Chief Executive Officer

    Pete, the BGA’s CEO, has an aircraft maintenance background and has worked professionally in gliding since 1990. He is an active instructor and examiner, tug pilot and inspector, and flies an ASW27.

  • Tony Smith - Treasurer and Company Secretary

    Tony flies at Mendip and is a relative newcomer to gliding, going solo in January 2009. He holds a GPL and also an SLMG licence. Tony had a share in a Ka6e for a while and now owns a share in an SF 25C. He is a qualified accountant and runs his own practice.

Awards

The BGA has a number of awards that can be made to those who have given exceptional service to gliding, either at club or national level.

The BGA Diploma may be awarded to any individual serving a BGA club or the interests of UK gliding who has been nominated by a BGA club or by the BGA Executive Committee.

Instituted in 2004, the BGA Medal may be awarded to any individual serving the BGA or the broad interests of UK gliding who in the view of the BGA Executive Committee has rendered exceptional service to the British Gliding Association or to UK gliding. A list of recipients is here.

Past Chairmen

The BGA has benefited from the leadership of many outstanding and inspirational chairmen throughout its 85 year history.

  • 1930 EC Gordon-England
  • 1933 The Master of Semphill
  • 1934 CE Hardwick
  • 1934 Captain Latimer-Needham
  • 1935 PA Wills
  • 1935 D Brunt
  • 1946 D Hiscox
  • 1949 PA Wills
  • 1968 Sir P Scott
  • 1970 KG Wilkinson
  • 1972 C Simpson
  • 1976 RQ Barrett
  • 1980 TS Zealley
  • 1986 B Watson
  • 1990 D Spottiswood
  • 1996 R Dixon
  • 2000 D Roberts
  • 2006 P Naegeli
  • 2012 P Harvey
  • 2018 A Perkins

Philip Wills BGA Chairman 1935 and 1949-68

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