Introduction to the Cadet Scheme

The London Gliding Club set up its cadet scheme to recruit and retain enthusiastic young people into the sport of gliding and has successfully been doing so for over 25 years.

The minimum age for entry is 15 and it is possible to remain a cadet until the end of your full-time education.

The LGC cadet scheme provides the same training that a normal club member could expect to progress to solo flying and beyond, but with the added benefit of low cost membership and low-cost flying.

In return for the subsidised flying, cadets are expected to help around the club with many things including assisting with flying operations and club maintenance.


What LGC offers the Cadet

The LGC cadet scheme offers subsidised low-cost membership of around £100 per year - A mere 10% of that of a full adult member.

Flying costs are also subsidised with an aerotow instructional flight costing around £20. Cadets pay nothing for airtime, where full adult members pay approximately £1 per minute.

Aerotow launches are provided to a pre-solo cadet as the safest launch method, also allowing more airtime to accelerate the training programme.

Winch launches may be undertaken for certain training exercises such as learning the approach and landing, however these will be flown by your instructor. Getting 'cleared' to fly the winch is a post-solo development of your training activity.

Other benefits include learning lifetime skills valuable to any employer including self-confidence, teamwork, self-discipline, safety awareness, judgement (plus quite possibly stress management and work prioritisation).

On top of this, the cadet instructors may organise special events such as ‘cadet days’ and a maybe a team entry into the Dunstable Regionals gliding championship which is a lot of fun and can help you build these skills.

Helping as part of the ground crew during evening courses and other advertised specific activities can also earn you flying account credits to help towards the costs of your flying.

Tasks and Duties:
What LGC expects from the Cadets

The gliding club expects that the cadet will quickly integrate into the club and take an active part within the cadet team. During this time a cadet will receive flying tuition and assist in other member’s flying along with other club activities.

Cadets will be expected to complete several work days during the year. These generally last a few hours and may cover things like cleaning a hangar out, litter picking, aircraft cleaning and other similar things.

A cadet should plan at least two days per month at the club, or flying once every 2 weeks to progress their flying at a reasonable pace.

A minimum of 25 flights, costing around £600 in flying fees at cadet rates is needed to get the most out of the scheme. Doing more than this will rapidly accelerate your training, so this should be considered a bare minimum!

In addition, a cadet should plan to attend the club for one week in the summer holidays. This is usually the week when the club holds its annual competition. The aim is to help run the event and is usually a lot of fun for all concerned.

For cadets under the age of 16, parents/guardians will also need to bear in mind the aspect of supervision and it is expected that a responsible adult is able to remain on-site unless agreed otherwise with a present cadet instructor. As instructors provide their time on a voluntary basis, LGC cannot guarantee the availability of a cadet instructor on any given day unless assured in advance.

Progress plan

It is hoped that the cadet will learn to fly and acquire key skills with a safe and professional attitude worthy of the title "Pilot".

Membership of the cadet scheme lasts for one year. Renewal is discretionary by the cadet instructors depending on the cadet's progress and their general helpfulness around the club.

Progress will be recognised in many forms and although cross country flying is a major club activity, vintage flying, aerobatics and instructing, to name a few, are equally worthy activities and many young pilots have shown success in these diverse areas.

A reasonable progress plan would be:

End of 1st Year of training: First solo or getting close to first solo. Preparation for the Bronze Badge.

End of 2nd Year of training: More solo flying and advanced training, completion of the Bronze Badge and cross-country rating.

End of 3rd Year of training: First cross-country flights, flights in competition, complete Silver badge, maybe aerobatics and many other possibilities.