LEADING figures in the world of aviation are backing a national campaign to encourage more powered pilots to discover gliding.Airline pilots, recreational flyers and young people pursuing a career in aviation and aerospace are among the high flyers encouraging more of us to glide in Britain.Pete Stratten, Chief Executive Officer of the BGA, said: “The choice of flying powered or non-powered within General Aviation depends on what you hope to get out of your flying, and to a certain extent what you are willing to put into it.

Gliding offers different challenges and opportunities from flying with power.”Gliding is a great way of broadening handling skills and airmanship, and discovering the thrill and passion of pure flying and soaring flight.It’s incredibly satisfying to use the freely available energy in the sky to fly cross-country or to simply climb in a thermal after launching.”Andrew Perkins, Chairman of the British Gliding Association and a B777 pilot, said: “Gliding is like a big family; you work together in all the activities that get you airborne.It hones all your flying skills and is a great way to learn about engineering, safety, lookout and airmanship.”As part of the literature and social media campaign, pilots share their love of gliding and what it means to them.Former Royal Navy fighter jet pilot, Andrew Neofytou, now flies the B787 Dreamliner for a living but when he isn’t working for a major airline he can be seen flying his glider from Lasham Gliding Society in Hampshire where he uses invisible currents of rising air known as ‘lift’ to soar vast distances of hundreds of kilometres and at average speeds of around 100mph – all without an engine!Andrew explained: “Once you’re hooked on gliding you will never have another day in your life where you don’t look up and try to predict what the sky and environment around you is doing!

Even commercial pilots with thousands of hours find that time in aglider improves their existing skills, knowledge and airmanship, as A380 pilot and Lakes Gliding Club member, Graham Sturgeon, added: “I’m an experienced pilot with around 15,000 hours and I’ve been flying for 35 years, but I learn something new about gliding every time I fly.It’s also fun and rewarding!”Click here to find your local club.


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