Report by CWO Hoole

In the Air Training Corps, one of the largest benefits of membership which sets the ATC aside from other Youth Organisations is the opportunity to go flying. There are three different types of flying in the ATC: you can get trips in operational military aircraft, you can get Air Experience Flights (AEFs), and you can go gliding:

Vigilant T1 Motorglider
The Air Training Corps has access to two types of glider. First, there is the Viking T1, a military variant of the Grob 103 Viking, which is a winch-launched glider used at several Volunteer Gliding Schools (VGS) around the country. The other type is the Vigilant T1, again a military variant of the Grob-109B Vigilant motor-glider, which is the aircraft used at 624 VGS, located at Chivenor right next to 722 Squadron ATC. Despite being a glider, the aircraft is actually used as a powered aircraft, although it does have the ability to glide in the event of a problem.

A cadet's first few experiences of gliding are usually confined to AEGs, or Air Experience Glides, where the cadet is taken on a 20 minute trip around the local area. If they live close enough, they will often be flown over their house, otherwise a tour of the local area and perhaps an informal introduction to the controls is usually given. Once a cadet has got some gliding experience, and they have reached the age of 14 years 6 months, they can take a Gliding Induction Course (GIC). This is a 20-30 minute formal introduction to the control systems and basic principles of flying a glider. This paves the way for a cadet to start a Gliding Scholarship.

Cadets over the age of 16 can apply for a Gliding Scholarship, which involves around 10 hours of teaching to train the cadet up to solo standard (the final test being a "ghosted" circuit: the cadet must taxi, take-off, circuit and land the glider without any input from the instructor). After this, some are selected to become Gliding School Staff Cadets, where they assist in the running of the VGS, whilst also continuing their training as glider pilots up to full solo standard.