Air Pilots Youth Gliding Scheme


About the Air Pilots Youth Gliding Scheme:

The Air Pilots Youth Gliding Scheme has been in operation since 2004 and each year offers students the opportunity to take part in a heavily subsidised day out at a local British Gliding Association (BGA) gliding school. The scheme is open to students of secondary schools, academies and youth groups on behalf of a group of City of London Livery Companies, led by the Honourable Company of Air Pilots. For only £20 each, students receive a flight in a glider under the instruction of an experienced qualified instructor.

Gliding involves flying an unpowered aircraft and is a popular recreational activity as well as a competitive sport. Gliders are launched either by winch or via an aero-tow behind a powered aircraft. Using naturally occurring currents of rising air, gliders can remain airborne for hours and travel hundreds of kilometres. Trial flights involve a single flight of around 20 minutes in a two-seat aircraft. Students can sit back and enjoy the extraordinary views, or take the controls under the supervision of the instructor. 

Gliding Photo 1The commercial rate for a trial flight in a glider is usually around £120. The gliding days are run by volunteers from the gliding clubs and further subsidies are provided by the Livery Companies, reducing the cost to each student to £20. By taking part in the scheme, schools and youth groups are able to offer gliding to students who may not otherwise have such opportunities available to them. Feedback is extremely positive and students are seen to grow in confidence and enthusiasm throughout the day. Schools often enrol in the scheme year after year, saying that it is one of the best opportunities they have available to them and describing it as an excellent opportunity to reward and inspire pupils.



Air Pilots Youth Gliding days are held at British Gliding Association centres. All centres who take part in the scheme are: fully insured and have been assessed as suitable for hosting groups of students.  The centres have Safety Management Systems and Safeguarding arrangements in place, utilise qualified instructors to conduct the trial flights and will provide full safety briefings and relevant paperwork prior to conducting the gliding days. Gliding centres currently involved in the scheme are:

        • Cambridge Gliding ClubGliding-day
        • The London Gliding Club
        • Booker Gliding Club
        • Lasham Gliding Society
        • Yorkshire Gliding Club
        • Southdown Gliding Club
        • Cotswold Gliding Club


Reports and Feedback:

A report on the 2023 Youth Gliding is on page 23 of the October 2023 edition of Air Pilot (click on this link to reach the Air Pilot page of the website)

Some feedback from previous participants:

“We were lucky enough to take 14 students to Cambridge Gliding Club. There was a real mix of emotions in the morning; some kids were buzzing with excited anticipation, while others seemed anxious about flying an aircraft without an engine. By the end of the day though, the experience had unified the group. The chatter on the way back was all about how much they loved it, and how they all, without exception, want to fly again. For our kids, this experience will be at the very least a moment they will forever remember, though it's possible that it was life-changing. It might sound like hyperbole, but we teach some of the most disadvantaged young people in the country, and having the opportunity to go up in a glider will have broadened their horizons - both literally and figuratively speaking - more than anything else they'll have been offered through school before.”

“We will most definitely be coming next year. It has been the talk of the School”

“We had a super time, your instructors were all wonderful, patient and interesting and they made it a day to remember for all the children. It is an experience they would never have were it not for the generosity of the Air Pilots. One of our students already had a passion for planes. He bought the gliding manual and I have a feeling you may see him again! Thank you from all of us.”

“…all of our students thoroughly enjoyed their day Gliding. The staff at Booker were excellent and really looked after us for the day. Some quotes that the girls gave us at the time and also that we sent to Booker were:

'A once in a lifetime opportunity and something that I never thought I could do. I'm so happy I went to do it'.

'This has given me an insight into a possible career that I never had thought about before'. 

'I am going to look into Air Cadets as a result of this opportunity. It has ignited a passion I never knew I had'. 

'I was nervous at first but the pilot with me was so calming and I even took control for a while. I'm amazed at myself!!'

Finally, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be part of the scheme and we very much look forward to being a part of it again moving forwards if the chance is there for us.”


How to join the Air Pilots Youth Gliding Scheme:

For more details about the Air Pilots Youth Gliding Scheme, or for any specific questions about taking part in the scheme, please contact:

Zoë Gell       email:     Tel: 020 7404 4032


In addition to the youth gliding days the Honourable Company of Air Pilots also offer residential gliding scholarship courses in July and August.  Scholarships are advertised at the end of the year (closing date for receipt of application is usually in the early part of February).  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 youth  gliding day. These residential courses will be run by BGA approved gliding clubs. As well as flying, students will help with the ground handling of the glider. Application forms may be downloaded from the Honourable Company of Air Pilots website during the early part of each year.

For more details about scholarships, please contact:

Angie Rodriguez by  email:     or telephone: 020 7404 4032