Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:09 pm
Gliding is, essentially, a full day each time. That's true even if you own your own aircraft, as then you are doing longer flights and need the time to prepare, rig and derig, plus doing your share to keep the airfield running.
If you can commit full days, the quick way to train is to throw a little money at it - 2 or 3 areotows each flying day quickly builds up handling skills, and then a burst of winch training completes the circuit element. Even taking the expensive route, training to solo could cost well under £2,000. But training cost per hour will always seem less of a bargain compared to power (though 3 aerotows might cost £120 and give an hour's flying time, so could still be cheaper).
Where gliding wins on cost is if you own a cheap glider in a syndicate, say 3 of you owning a £6,000 aircraft with fixed costs of around £1,500 per year. Then, if you are any good and pick your weather, you could average 3 hour flights for an average launch cost of around £25 per launch. 20 flying days a year = 60 hours for a total of around £1,000 plus club membership costs, well under £2k total. Mind you, this assumes you can fly midweek and that the club does too - there are maybe 100 decent gliding days each year.
In practice you might manage half that, but 30 hours for £1,500 is still a good deal.
But, as I said, you have to be able to commit to those 20 full days, plus whatever the club wants from you in labour input (winch driving, etc). Costs are low because labour is given by club members, and gliding is labour intensive. Very few gliding club members have two small children!