Once you are solo and start thinking about cross-country flying you might also start wondering about the pros and cons of owning your own glider. Here are a few things to think about:
Current list of DSGC private gliders (pdf) (updated 13 February 2017)
What type of flying am I interested in doing? -
- local soaring
- flying cross-country
- flying two-seater
- competition flying
How often can I go flying?
- every flying day
- every weekend
- weekdays only
- every other weekend
- once a month
- fitting in round family
- fitting in round instructing
- competeing with other hobbies
- just for holidays
How much money can I spend?
The price of gliders varies across a wide range to suit most pockets, from a small share in a wooden / older glider to a high performance competitive racing machine. To keeps costs down, most private gliders are owned by a group of people called a syndicate. Some syndicates run on a fixed cost per month to cover expected insurance and maintenance costs. Some syndicates ask for fees as and when they occur.
How do the costs compare?
- Insurance excess
- Flying Fees
- Radio licence
- Competition number
What else do I need to consider?
- Logger / pda
- Wing covers
- Rigging aids
- Syndicate agreement
- Syndicate Bank account
- Responsibility for maintenance schedule and paperwork
- Will my current car tow a trailer - check the kerbside weight
- Have I got a trailer driving licence
- Have I got a towball on my car
What type of glider ?
- Single seat / Two seats
- Pure sailplane / Turbo / self-launcher
- wood and fabric / metal / glass or carbon fibre
- Open Class / Standard Class / 18m Class
- Good brakes
- Retractable wheel
- Easy to rig with 1 / 2 / 3 people
Does anyone have to approve my glider?
- CFI approval that you are competent to fly type
- Committee approval to keep the glider on site
- An inspector on site (or commercial maintenance organisation)
Where are gliders advertised?
- Sailplane & Gliding
- specialist glider importers
How do I tell if a glider is a good buy? - (it is a bit like buying a car)
- Try and take a knowledgable inspector with you to view / fly the glider.
- Look at gliderpilot.net for typical values.
- Ask experienced pilots for their opinions
- Mandatory mods / lifeing
- Date of annual inspection
- Has the glider been hangared / trailered / left out in the rain
- How many hours/launches
- Any documented repairs
- Complete EASA paperwork - inspect it
- Is the trailer included
- is the trailer roadworthy
Before flying your new toy....
- Sort out the insurance, inspection dates.
- Read the flight manual.
- Talk to Instructors and Owners of similar types.
- Understand how the instruments work.
- Learn how to rig and derig it.