The Auckland Gliding Club

One of the largest soaring clubs in New Zealand with a membership in excess of 100 active glider pilots. The Auckland Gliding Club owns an impressive fleet of two-seater training and solo standard gliders, tow plane and state-of-the-art winch.

The object of the club is to train pilots to a safe and competent solo standard, encouraging them to constantly develop more advanced skills which in turn opens up the world of cross-country soaring and competitions.

Being a totally self-supporting organisation that relies on the efforts of club volunteers, all club members are expected to assist in some form. Be it up front in instructing & flight line operations or behind the scene in aircraft & plant maintenance, book keeping or just mowing the airfield once a year. This way we keep the costs down to a reasonable level.

There is NO CHARGE for instruction other than the aircraft hire. Gliding instructors, winch drivers & tow pilots are all volunteers. This does not mean they are not competent; each instructor has passed a CAA approved instructors course managed by "Gliding NZ" our governing body.

Launching by winch or aero-tow is charged out on a pre-paid ticket basis. In addition the glider hire is either paid on a time used basis (per minute) called the "A-scheme" or bulk prepaid at the beginning of the year (one sum with no limit to the number of hours) called the "B-scheme".

Membership to the club is by way of an annual subscription, plus a one time joining fee and new pilots starter pack. The annual subscription covers the overhead costs, the joining fee covers our setup costs for each new member (GNZ levies etc.) and the pilot's starter pack covers the cost of training notes and log book.

Training

Flying time required to reach a solo standard varies enormously from pupil to pupil. Actual time in the air matters very little, the real consideration is the number of landings and the amount of time available to practice flying with your instructor.

On average spending one day a week on the airfield and completing between 3 and 6 flights each day will see most people solo in under 12 hours and within six months from starting. You will learn the basics of flight, co-ordination of the controls, take-off, flight planning and landings. With the calm, encouraging presence of you instructor sitting behind you in a dual control training glider.

Together with air-time, students are required to complete a ground lecture course covering, Meteorology, Air Law, Soaring Theory, Glider Construction, Navigation and Human Factors. These lectures stress the practical side of gliding flight and DO NOT require great mathematics.

 

Advanced Training

Intent on first exploring your new found gliding abilities, early solo pilots soon find there is a great deal more to this sport than gliding back down to the airfield. In advanced training you learn how to soar, that is keep a glider up for hours by understanding soaring techniques, weather, navigation and you own limitations.

When you can't get the glider back to the airfield you are taught to land safely in a farmer's paddock, how to arrange a trailer and how to de-rig the glider and transport it back to the airfield for the next day's adventure.

Again our qualified instructors will open this world up to you in a dual seat /dual control club glider. This allows you to concentrate on pushing your limits by flying further and outside your initial training, but with the comfort of an instructor sitting behind you to put you back on track.

Having completed the above training program and passing the lectures, pupils will be rewarded with the QGP (Qualified Glider Pilot) License, our equivalent to the PPL (Private Pilots License) for powered aircraft. This is an internationally recognised license and is your gateway to the sport of gliding.

Cross-Country and Competition Training

By now you will be approaching the 100-hours mark and you will have been gliding for a couple of years. You are a QGP "qualified glider pilot" pushing further away from home, you will be happy landing out when you push too hard and don't make it back.

So what's next ? Test yourself against others by racing them around a short course or test your limits by flying as far as you can before landing, or do both.

Usually you start cross-country or competition flying at either a week long course or in the back seat of a high performance twin glider during a regional or national competition seeing how the pros do it.

The other way is to tandem fly, sometimes called team flying. You in your (club) glider and an instructor in their usually higher performance glider. Using your flying skills to keep the glider up, the instructor flies a km or so ahead. You see and talk to them over the radio, learning how and why the instructor(s) do what they do.

These flights happen most weekends we fly and usually start with 100 km or so long flights out and return to Matamata or triangles of Huntly and Miranda.

Medical Requirements

You can not suffer from any major medical problem that would impair safe flying, The Medical Declaration form included in your "New Members Pack" must be signed by your Doctor before flying solo.

Qualifying Age

There is no upper age restriction so long as the medical requirements are meet. Training may commence at almost any age, however pupils younger than 12 generally are unable to reach the controls. While the CAA regulations allow solos under the age of 16 years, the Auckland Gliding Club flying committee has a policy of no solos under the age of 15 years.

 

Owning a Glider

While the club provides gliders suitable for initial and club class solo flying, many pilots elect to purchase their own glider often in syndicates of between two and ten other pilots. A new World Class PW5 glider will cost you around $35,000 with a new top of the line Open Class gliders up in the $200,000 plus level.

The reality is that most people don't have a spare $200K so they form syndicates to share the glider at a more reasonable cost. Good secondhand mid-performance Cross-country or Competition gliders cost around $45,000 syndicate this between three owners at $15,000 each and you have a typical glider syndicate.

 

Flying Days

The club normally operates 3 days a week being Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, plus all Public Holidays excluding ANZAC morning and Christmas Day. Given enough student interest instructors may fly mid-week, but this is very subject to demand and is often initiated by a couple of students approaching their favourite instructor.

 

Airfield and Club Facilities

Situated in the heart of the South Auckland lifestyle countryside, the Auckland Gliding Club is easily reached by road via the southern motorway. Exit the southern motorway at Drury, turning left when the slip road meets Great South Road (DO NOT go back under the motorway). At the Drury Village Shops roundabout turn right and travel for about 1.5km, turn left into Appleby Road until you meet the Gliding Airfield enterance.

The large 20 ha airfield is wholly owned by the Auckland Gliding Club members and includes a runway 1000 metres long by 150 metres wide. Off to the western side and on top of a small hill is the clubrooms facility consisting of a licensed bar, briefing room, bunk rooms, kitchen and toilet / shower block.

Grass runways allow takeoffs and landings in all wind conditions, with the prevailing Westerly winds providing excellent ridge soaring on the local 800 feet high Drury Hills ridge about 1km to the East.

The Club house (and bar) is not only the refuge for tired pilots, their friends and family, but also a focal point for social activity. Services include licensed bar, television viewing, BBQ facilities and large deck to sit and lookout on the days gliders returning.

We look forward to seeing you soon for your first Trial Flight.


Want to join the club?  Click here.