Air Pilots Schools Gliding

Gliding-1Every year, we offer schools the opportunity to take part in a heavily subsidised day out at a British Gliding Association (BGA) Gliding Club. The offer is open to students of secondary schools and academies on behalf of a group of City of London Livery Companies led by the Honourable Company of Air Pilots. For only £15 each, students will receive a flight in a glider under the instruction of an experienced qualified instructor.

Beyond the excitement of flying, students will also be involved in the structured, yet enjoyable environment of an operational airfield, interacting with committed and enthusiastic volunteers. Students have been seen to grow in confidence during the day as they develop life skills to engage and communicate with others around them. Many have used this experience to appreciate broader horizons and have the confidence to explore further education and career options. Feedback from schools has been very positive. It has been described as an excellent opportunity to inspire and reward pupils.

Gliding-dayThe subsidised gliding scheme was established in 2004 by the Air Pilots, with charitable grants from the Dyers’, Basketmakers, Bakers, Fuellers, Hackney Carriage Drivers and Vintners’ Livery Companies to benefit students from their selected schools.


Check out this YouTube link taken at the London Gliding Club, Dunstable by Eastbury School after their gliding day in mid-June. We are told "... it was such a GOOD DAY!!!" - it certainly looks like it.



Schools Gliding Days


The flights are conducted at BGA Gliding Clubs, which are approved as Junior Gliding Centres. Currently, these are:

  • The London Gliding Club, Tring Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2JP
  • Booker Gliding Club, Wycombe Air Park, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 3DP

And for the future:

  • Cambridge Gliding Club
  • Derby and Lancs Gliding Club


Health and Safety and Risk Assessment

The selected Gliding Clubs have experience of working with not only this scheme, but also other organisations such as the Scouts and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and, as such, will assist schools with their Risk Assessment processes. Each Gliding School is fully insured and will have different requirements and limitations as detailed below:


Gliding-2The London Gliding Club

  • Insured to £5M
  • Minimum age:           12yrs
  • Minimum height:        5ft                  
  • Maximum height:       6ft 4in
  • Minimum weight:        6.5st (41.25kg)
  • Maximum weight:       16st (101.6kg)
  • Maximum group size:  12 students. Two adults must accompany the group.
  • Further information can be found on the LGC website
  • Contact Andrew Roch, Manager, LGC.  Tel; 01582 663419   Fax; 01582 665744   


Booker Gliding Club

  • Insured to £3M
  • Minimum age:            14yrs
  • Minimum height:         5ft                  
  • Maximum height:        6ft 3in
  • Minimum weight:         7st (44.5kg)
  • Maximum weight:       16st (102kg)
  • Maximum group size: tbc – contact Booker to discuss. Two adults must accompany the group.
  • Further information can be found on their website
  • Contact Tel 01494 442501


Fee Subsidy

The commercial rate for a flight in a glider is usually around £110. However, with charitable support and volunteer instructors, the Gliding Clubs reduce this to £65. The Livery Companies contribute a further £50, so the cost to each student is only £15, which is either paid on the day or invoiced to the school. The £50 contribution is invoiced by the Gliding Club directly to the Air Pilots Benevolent Fund. If the accompanying adult wishes to arrange a flight with the Gliding Club on the day, this will be provided for a special price of £70, payable to the Gliding Club on the day. It will be the school’s responsibility to organise transport and refreshments.


Application Process

The Head Teacher or lead teacher for the scheme should notify the Air Pilots of their interest in the scheme by contacting the Air Pilots office (see below).  The Air Pilots will approve the application by ensuring that charitable funds are available and that the Gliding Club has space available. The school will then be advised to contact the Gliding Club directly. All subsequent arrangements for dates, numbers of students, etc, should be made directly with the Gliding Club. When the school has arranged a booking with the Gliding Club, the school should contact the Air Pilots office again to secure the additional funds.

Schools are strongly encouraged to contact the Gliding Club quickly and to confirm an agreed date. If the school is unable to confirm a date with the Gliding School within a reasonable time, it is only fair that the opportunity will be offered to another school. If weather prevents flying on the day, the school and gliding club may be able to arrange another date.              

Cancellations.  If, after making a booking to fly, a school has to withdraw, it is essential that the gliding club is informed as soon as possible. The gliding club will have to cancel arrangements and it is also important so that another school can be offered the opportunity. Failure to inform the gliding club may result in the school being denied the chance to take part in the following year.


For more details about Schools Gliding Days, please contact: or call 020 7404 4032

In addition to the group gliding days the Honourable Company of Air Pilots also offer residential gliding scholarship courses in July and August.  Scholarships are advertised each year in January (closing date for receipt of application is usually in the early part of March).  The scholarships are open to students who are 16 or older. It is not a requirement to have any flying experience or to have attended a schools gliding day. The courses will be run by BGA approved gliding clubs. Between flights students will help with the ground handling of the glider. The scholarships are inclusive of accommodation and food but do not cover transport to and from the gliding clubs.  Application forms may be downloaded from the Honourable Company of Air Pilots website during the early part of each year at this link

For more details about scholarships, please contact:

Angie Rodriguez by  email:     or telephone: 020 7404 4032