Ten young members of Brentor and Mary Tavy Group Beaver Scouts, accompanied by their leaders and several parents, were entertained by members of Dartmoor Gliding Society at their Brentor Airfield clubhouse on Wednesday evening, 23 October.
Although too small to sample the ‘real thing’, each of the young visitors had a chance to learn some of the basic skills on the club’s flight simulator, accompanied by an instructor – some even managing to ‘loop the loop’ without even leaving the ground.
Their visit included a tour of the airfield and hangar, and concluded with cup cakes and distribution of model glider kits by gliding club committee member, Colin Boyd.
Afterwards, a vote of thanks was proposed to Colin and instructors Steve Lewis and Bob Pirie by Beaver Leader, Sandra Grylls.
Commenting on the visit, Bob praised the young visitors for their enthusiasm and for the aptitude they demonstrated. Although it will be several years before the Beavers can start learning to glide, he said that following a recent change in European regulations, suitably-trained youngsters are now permitted to pilot gliders on their own from the age of 14.
“As a British Gliding Association-accredited youth gliding centre, Dartmoor Gliding Society has among its membership several young people who are learning to glide, and it will only be a matter of time before we have our first ‘home-grown’, 14-year-old glider pilot, “ he said. He added that the club hoped that some of the Beavers – and possibly their parents – would be able to take to the skies over Brentor with an instructor at the controls in the not too distant future.
Air League Challenge Trophy
Dartmoor Gliding Society has been awarded top honours by the British Gliding Association (BGA) for excellence in the training of new glider pilots during 2012. Called the Air League Challenge Trophy, it takes the form of a beautifully-crafted silver Albatross arising from its nest, mounted on a wooden plinth. It is awarded annually in recognition of excellence in gliding instructing – the winner being the club achieving the highest ratio of new, fully-licensed pilots compared with the size of its team of instructors. Against fierce competition from 82 other clubs of all sizes nationwide, Dartmoor Gliding’s small team of instructors was deemed by the BGA judging panel to be the winner, having trained six pilots right through to the exacting high standards required during the qualifying period. Chief flying instructor Don Puttock was present at the recent BGA conference dinner when the award was announced, and the trophy was accepted on behalf of club members by Karon Matten, one of several female glider pilots who fly at the club. Dartmoor Gliding Society was founded in 1983 and has 60 members, who last year achieved 2,500 flights – 300 of which were trial lessons for visitors. The club is accredited by the British Gliding Association as a Junior Gliding Centre, and its members are looking forward to introducing more young people to the sport now that the legal age to become a glider pilot has been lowered to 14. All of the club’s volunteer instructors are BGA-rated and, in recognition of their efforts, each of them will ‘share’ the trophy until it is returned to the BGA in February 2014.