The starting point for your gliding experience will be at a Volunteer Gliding School (VGS) which will fly either Viking winch launch gliders or Vigilant motor gliders. You will begin by attending your local VGS to be taught the Gliding Induction Course (GIC), for Eastleigh cadets this will be either at 622 Upavon VGS (winch launch) or 612 Abingdon VGS (motor glider).
The GIC has been designed to give you a taste for Air Cadet Gliding and consists of 3 different levels of instruction. You will be shown various aspects of aerodynamics that you will have been taught in the classroom before being taught the ”effects of controls” in the air. You will have the opportunity to take control and practice what you have learned. On your first visit you will be taught the GIC 1 and your subsequent visits you will progress to GIC 2 and 3.
Gliding Scholarship courses are an opportunity for cadets to undergo further training and achieve blue GS Wings. A course consists of up to 40 launches in a Viking or 8 hours in a Vigilant. Cadets showing the necessary aptitude are invited to go 'solo' and achieve the silver GS Solo Wings.
If you want to be nominated for a Gliding Scholarship, let your Squadron staff know. Ideally you should have completed a GIC 1, 2 or 3, but it is not mandatory. You must be 16 years of age when you start the course and you will need a medical form (RAF Form 6424), which is available upon request from the Wing Flying & Gliding Officer. Take this form to your local doctor and ask them to complete it (you must retain the form because you will have to present it to the VGS on commencement of a GS Course). Once completed the Form is valid for 2 years, as long as nothing medically untoward happens to you.
Once your doctor has signed the form to confirm that you are fit to undergo glider pilot training, you are ready for a course. It is then a matter of waiting for a place on a course to become available. Courses are available in two formats, either over successive weekends until you have completed the course or a continuous week-long course. You must have the commitment to attend a GS course, as it can be difficult to predict the exact time it will take to complete as it depends on your own progress and the weather.
Some cadets after going solo are invited to become Flight Staff Cadets at the VGS after which there will be further training. These cadets will be trained to a much higher level and again, if successful, cadets will be entitled to wear the Gold wings denoting Advanced Glider Training (AGT).