Can I try gliding this weekend?
We are a volunteer-run, membership-based sports club, with a focus on training students to fly gliders. Please contact us by email if you want to try gliding, so we can talk you through membership options.
Can I come and watch?
If it’s a weekend day, check we’re operating by calling the airstrip launch point on (08) 8952 6384.
What times do you operate?
Gliders work on thermals, which tend to get going from mid-morning onwards. We typically fly until sunset. Student start-time is 1000 unless otherwise advised.
What do I wear?
Covered shoes, because thongs can fall off and pose a hazard during flight. Sunglasses, sunscreen and a cap or hat are essential.
What do I bring?
Be prepared for a wait and bring plenty of snacks and water. If you’re prone to motion-sickness, bring tablets. And don’t forget the camera!
Is there a weight limit?
Yes: 100kg. This is so the aircraft is balanced. Over this and it is difficult to land properly, and that is something you do not want to experience. Be honest, or we will weigh you!
Where are you?
20km north of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway, on the left, not long after the Highest Point Marker. When you reach the 130 speed limit sign, that’s your cue to take your foot off the gas. The entrance to the club is on the left a short distance after that, with a small green signpost saying “Bond Springs Airstrip” opposite. There should be signs out if we’re flying. If you reach the Tropic of Capricorn you’ve gone way too far!
What’s the minimum age to try gliding?
There’s no minimum really, but little people under about six years of age would find the experience pretty pointless, as they can’t see over the sides! Only one passenger can fit in a glider at a time and there are no “children on laps” allowed. You can fly solo when you are 15 years old.
Some children can be prone to air-sickness, so please be mindful of this with snacks beforehand.
How long will it take to fly solo?
There is no set time to this, it is performance-based and some people will progress quicker than others, especially those with an aviation background. Typically with no previous aviation experience and regular flying, a student might achieve their first solo after around 50 launches. It has more to do with how regularly you fly and how diligently you study. You will get out of gliding what you are prepared to put into it.
How much does it cost to get my licence?
Again, there is no set price and it is dependent on performance. Typically it might be around $2000 - $3000 to reach your internationally recognised ‘C’ certificate.
Do you use parachutes?
It’s not legally required, but the club owns parachutes which are typically used by when flying cross country.
What are the risks?
The biggest risk in the sport in general appears to be mid air collision, but with some of the most open skies and clearest conditions in the world, that is very much mitigated in Alice Springs. We also have comparitively few gliders here. Collisions usually happen in competition environments.
We mitigate all other risks with daily inspections, annual inspections and being up to date with our training. We have professional expertise in many areas across the club from commercial aviation, electronics, IT, trades, media and communications. Rest assured there are many and varied brains behind this operation!
Mishaps in aviation usually occur because of “human factors”. You might find yourself becoming more interested in your physical and mental health as your journey through aviation continues.