Gliding is yet another opportunity for you to develop your flying skills. Gliding is similar to powered flight except that a glider does not use an engine but thermals, pockets of rising air, to keep it in the air. The two most common types of Glider are the Viking and the Vigilant. They are flown from VGS (Volunteer Gliding Schools) across the country.
Gliding Scholarship (GS)
Gliding Scholarship courses are an opportunity for cadets to undergo further training and achieve Gliding Scholarship Wings. A course consists of up to 40 launches in a Viking or 8 hours in a Vigilant to achieve GS wings. Cadets showing the necessary aptitude are invited to progress to 'solo' standard and hopefully achieve the GS Solo Wings.
If you want to be nominated for a Gliding Scholarship, let your Squadron or Unit staff know. Ideally you should have completed a GIC 1, 2 or 3, but it is not mandatory. You must be 16 years of age when you start the course and you will need a medical form (RAF Form 6424), which is available upon request from your staff. Take this form to your local doctor and ask them to complete it (you must retain the form because you will have to present it to the VGS on commencement of a GS Course). Once completed the Form is valid for 2 years, as long as nothing medically untoward happens to you. After you have completed the medical (no examination required – it is completed by reference to your medical notes), and your doctor has signed the form to confirm that you are fit to undergo glider pilot training, you are ready for a course.
It is then a matter of a course becoming available. Courses are available in two formats, either over successive weekends until you have completed the course or a continuous week-long course (usually in the summer, however they are held all year round at the Air Cadet Central Gliding School at RAF Syerston). You must have the commitment to attend a GS course, as it can be difficult to predict the exact time it will take to complete as it depends on your own progress and the weather. In the Summer, a course will typically take 3 weekends to complete.
Successful completion of the course will entitle you to wear the Blue GS Wings. You will have done well to get this far. For cadets showing the required aptitude, there may be the opportunity to progress further and possibly reach the solo standard. Should you manage this and successfully complete a solo circuit you will be entitled to wear the Silver GS Wings.