Club member profile - Tom

We asked our Club members how they started gliding, what they enjoy and have achieved at Devon and Somerset Gliding Club.

Tom SidesTom Sides

Why did you start gliding?


Gliding was less expensive than power flying, but I have flipped between the two a couple of times.


Does gliding influence any other part of your life


Flying has always been an important part of my life, but now I'm retired, gliding is pretty much my whole life.


What is your most memorable moment?


There's a couple - my first ridge flight in Pennsylvania and more recently my 5 hour silver duration flight, I was talking to the glider and it showed me what gliding is capable of.


What is your most memorable flight?


Instrument flying from Chicago to Dallas with thunderstorms in a single-engined plane.


What single word sums up gliding for you?




Is there any difference with gliding in USA compared with UK?


The British system of free tuition in gliding encourages you to train and continually improve.


What do you like about owning your own glider?


I formed a syndicate and bought my first glider a year ago and found that I enjoy fettling it.


What do you like about DSGC?


The Club members are so friendly and encouraging, and I wanted to give something back to the Club, so I put myself up for Committee. I have been Treasurer for a year now. - The greatest asset of DSGC is what the members give.


Where else have you flown?


Many US States, Spain, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, and in the UK Nympsfield and Portmoak.


What keeps you motivated?


Task-orientated group of people with self improvement in mind.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?


With a Gold Badge, and still enjoying gliding as much as I do now.




65 years




Industrial /Production/Construction Engineer in Georgia and Illinois USA.

European Factory Management Healthcare in Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Now retired


Number of launches:




Number of hours gliding / power:


120 / 500 (single & twin) hours