Ian Beckett Fund

History of the fund

Ian Beckett joined the Devon and Somerset Gliding club in the late 1960’s and was a keen and talented pilot with a wonderfully dry sense of humour.

Between 1978 and 1981 he built a glider called a Duster. This was a really beautiful little glider with around 28: 1 performance  and in addition to completing a 300k Diamond Goal flight in this country, he also took it to France each year and flew it in the Alps.

Ian also had a Kestrel and when he died in 1998, his wife, Valerie Beckett, donated the proceeds of his Kestrel share to the Club to establish a fund (the Ian Beckett Fund) that could be used to help young members to achieve things that perhaps otherwise they could not afford. For example; helping towards the cost of attending a BGA courses, club expedition, an exceptionally expensive flight (500 k distance followed by long retrieve) etc.

The fund started at about £3200 and within a short time had increased through other kind donations to over £4000. Naturally it will fluctuate according to donations both in and out but it would be nice if we could maintain the fund both through donations and perhaps fund raising activities organised by those who stand to benefit from it.

Management procedures

To ensure the long term stewardship of the fund with the minimum of rules the fund is controlled by three Members.

  • The CFI,- as the fund is all about flying
  • The Treasurer, - as the Treasurer looks after the money in the Fund
  • A Steward of the fund, - who will work with the Treasurer in maintaining the fund and the CFI in making awards

The Steward will be chosen by the CFI and Treasurer and approved by the committee. He / she will be an established Club Member who takes a personal interest in the fund and the training / mentoring of those who are likely to be beneficiaries of the fund.

Each application will be discussed and decided by the CFI and Fund Steward and the amount agreed will be transferred by the Treasurer from the Ian Beckett Fund into the applicant’s flying account. In the event that the money is needed to pay for expedition or off site course expenses the Treasurer can issue a cheque made payable to the applicant.

When making an award careful consideration should be given to why the money is needed. It should always be for a specific purpose – e.g. to help with the cost of a gliding course or expedition that will further the candidate’s experience or help to achieve a particular goal such as a height or distance flight / BGA course /  mountain flying etc. It should not be used simply to cover the cost of local and routine flying expenses.

In the unlikely event that the CFI and Steward could not reach agreement over an award, then the matter is to be voted on by all three controlling members.

29 November 2005

Fund controllers



Fund Steward John Burrow

Gift voucher thanks

Thank you for purchasing a DSGC trial flight gift voucher.  An email with your voucher attached will be sent to the email address provided (Please check your junk mail if not received within 1 hour). Please bring the voucher (print or on a phone)  with you on the date of your flight, or if purchasing for someone else, you can forward it to them.

To book your Trial lesson, please go to www.dsgc.co.uk/triallessons, enter the 12 digit voucher number (mixture of numbers and upper case letters), choose a date and time and enter your details. On most club flying days there are 3 Trial lessons slots available, these are shown as 11:00 to 12:00, 12:30 to 13:30 and 14:00 to 15:00. The actual length of a lesson is entirely dependent on the prevailing weather conditions but will generally be 15-20 minutes. The maximum length of a Trial Lesson flight is 30 minutes. The hour long slots are to allow plenty of time for a safety briefing before the flight and a debrief after the flight. 

We look forward to seeing you at Devon & Somerset Gliding Club, North Hill airfield and hope you enjoy your Trial lesson.





Course appraisal - April 2022

Some Course members describe a great 5 day course at North Hill in April 2022.


Read more: Course appraisal - April 2022

Course appraisal

Wow, how can I explain this last week's amazing experience ...........?

As the date for our course approached, weather forecasts were watched more and more closely but as it drew nearer, forecast uncertainty increased. Many of you will know now that the weather was incredible, providing a mix of conditions that couldn't have been better to challenge us.
Six would be pilots attended with skills ranging from ab initio to lapsed competition pilot. Robin and Stuart began our training in very light winds with little thermal activity. We were able to develop our basic skills by the end of Day 1 with growing initial confidence. Tuesday arrived accompanied by strong North Easterlies of blue flag level. These conditions knocked our confidence, especially with the lightweight K13. We were reassured by the instructors that this experience of frequent short flights had developed our skills and prepared us for Day 3.
True to their words, Wednesday's weather returned to more reasonable conditions and we celebrated Max's solo and Ray's one hour flight towards his bronze. But then came Thursday....... since described as the best North Hill gliding day this year.
We recorded a five hour flight for Ray and over 10 hours soaring for the rest of the trainees! Sadly, Friday arrived and the end of our course. Our total flights for the week amounted to 135 and our total flight time to over 37 hours. Everyone had developed their skills significantly and our two youngest members at ab initio were very near to first solos, whilst my brother and I made significant steps forward. Our star players, Ray and Max, bought the drinks at the Keepers to celebrate their excellent achievements.
Everyone on the course will wish to join me in thanking Robin and Stuart for their superb instruction and, particularly, for arranging the weather. Our thanks also go to Wendy for her support and guidance, Eddie, Alan, Dave who were volunteer helpers, Richard and Nick on holiday at the site who pitched in.

Without this great support, which was really appreciated, we would not have been able to reach such dizzy heights and enjoy our wonderful week of flying. - Rob R.