Flying will normally take place when an SGC or approved visiting instructor has been designated as Lead Instructor to supervise. Typically during midweek operations, this will be the SGC Staff Instructor. At weekends there is a Duty team with a designated Lead Instructor and supporting Duty Instructors. The Lead Instructor should be a BGA Full Cat instructor or, alternatively, an SFCL FI(S) or a BGA Asst. Cat Instructor approved to supervise airfield operations.
Lead Instructors, Support Instructors, and Duty Pilots have a duty of care and supervision to ensure that all flying and airfield activity is carried out safely and efficiently, in particular ensuring that newer, less experienced members are given suitable coaching and mentoring.
On each organised flying day, there will be a morning briefing given by the Lead Instructor in the briefing room. All pilots who intend to fly on that day are expected to attend the briefing. Any pilot who cannot attend the briefing is required to present themselves to the Lead or Support Instructors for a personal briefing.
A complete and accurate log of glider flights must be kept so that pilots can be tracked and any overdue gliders identified, as well as being a legal requirement. Launch point controllers are briefed that “no details = no launch”.
Pilots intending to go cross-country must indicate their intentions (e.g. their proposed task) on the log sheet, refer D. Cross Country Flying.
Self-launching pilots must book out using the powered aircraft movements logsheet next to the office and ensure that the Lead Instructor is aware that they are airborne and that they have the ability to alert the SGC should they become overdue from a flight.
All pilots must ensure that they have been logged down after returning to Portmoak.
If you land away from Portmoak you must report it, otherwise SAR (Search and Rescue) procedures will be implemented to find you. If you cannot contact the office or duty instructor leave a message on the answerphone (01592 840543), as this will be checked before calling the emergency services.
Pilots are also required to maintain their personal flying logbooks. This is especially important for pilots under training and for those who are exercising the privileges of an SPL. All pilots are required to bring their logbook for inspection by the Duty Instructor team.
Until 30th September 2025 in the UK a glider pilot is not required to hold a glider pilot’s licence. The BGA instead issues a gliding certificate on reaching solo standard which is then used to record a pilot’s progress from solo, through the Bronze endorsement, to Cross Country Endorsement (CCE) and beyond (aerobatics, cloud flying, introductory flight endorsements). A pilot with a Bronze certificate and a CCE is a Qualified Pilot. The gliding certificate along with a current logbook is a sufficient demonstration of the level of competence achieved for gliding in the UK.
Alongside the system above, the BGA, via the UK CAA, also supports the Sailplane Flight Crew Licencing system, SFCL. Under this system, which was retained from the EASA system, a glider pilot has a Sailplane Pilots Licence (SPL) - this is equivalent to the Bronze C plus CCE (the LAPL(S) has been phased out and holders are deemed to have the privileges of the SPL). The UK CAA SPL is an ICAO compliant licence and is recognised in Europe and other countries when paired with a suitable medical.
By 30th September 2025 all glider pilots flying Part-21 gliders (basically any glider with a G- registration) in the UK will require a SPL unless under training or direct supervision.
A licence does not exempt the holder from following the currency requirements listed below. In some aspects the legal minimum recency is very generous and these limits are not suitable to judge currency.
All PIC’s must have a current medical certificate or medical declaration (which may be GP countersigned or a Pilot Medical Declaration made via the CAA Portal). For solo flying a driving licence is sufficient to obtain a PMD.
The medical assessment must be appropriate for the glider pilot’s licence or certificate and for the type of flying he/she wishes to do. It should be noted that the medical requirements for gliding and GA in general are under review and subject to change. The BGA website details the latest medical requirements for pilots.
A copy of your current medical assessment must be held by the SGC office.
As well as holding a valid medical, pilots should also ensure that on any given day they are fit to fly; the following “I’M SAFE” check list can be used;
|Ill? Head injury, weakness / limited movement / pain?
|Side effects of dizziness, lethargy, etc?
|Mentally pre-occupied with issues at home, at work, etc?
|Recommended minimum of 12 hours between consumption of alcohol and flying.
|Lack of energy, tiredness?
|Have you (had) adequate food and drink?
The following table summarises the SGC minimum currency requirements for solo pilots.
The BGA has a “currency barometer” which looks at the number of launches and gliding hours in the last 12 months. You should use this in conjunction with the requirements below to assess the “quality” of your currency. A copy of the barometer is on the CFI’s notice board, in the launch point caravan and can be found on the BGA website here Currency Barometer. For example, if you are only flying about 10 hours a year and don’t do many launches, you are permanently in the red section and should think very carefully about your flying safety. You need to be doing at least 25 hours to maintain reasonable flying standards.
Obviously some weather conditions are much more challenging than others, and being current on winch doesn’t mean you can aerotow, or vice versa. The supervising instructor may impose limits on solo flying, or conversely may waive the currency recommendations for an individual, in both cases dependent upon the individual’s overall experience. However, the person primarily responsible for deciding if a proposed flight is safe is not the supervising instructor but the pilot. All pilots must make considered and rational judgements about their own currency – depending on the launch method, the glider and the weather – and discuss their situation with an instructor if in any doubt.
A “qualified pilot” is one holding Bronze plus CCE (Cross Country Endorsement) or SPL. In the case of those who were pilots before CCE was invented, holding a Silver C makes them “qualified”.
In addition to the requirements in the table, all pilots intending on carrying passengers in gliders, motor gliders or aeroplanes must have completed 3 take-offs and landings in the last 90 days in accordance with EASA air operations and licencing rules, refer Sailplane Rule Book.
Visiting instructors may only instruct on site with approval of CFI (or Deputy) following site familiarisation and briefing.
|Level of Experience
|Solo, with fewer than 10 satisfactory solo flights.
|Daily check flight before flying. Signature in logbook from supervising instructor for all check and solo flights.
|All flying must be under the direct supervision of an instructor.
|10 satisfactory solo flights, but not yet a qualified pilot.
|SGC instructor recommendation and signature in logbook. Briefing before every flight. Signature in logbook from supervising instructor for all check and solo flights. Check after every 10th flight until Bronze completed. Check flight every 3 weeks. 24 month progress check required.
|Qualified pilot, but pre-Silver or less than 100 hours. Note: minimum age 16 for this qualification.
|Check flight every 3 weeks if red on currency barometer. Otherwise, check flight every 6 weeks since last flight using proposed launch method. 12 month checks required.
|Self-authorising for flights in own aircraft, under overall supervision by an instructor on the field. Authorisation required from SGC instructor for all flights in SGC aircraft. Briefing recommended from SGC instructor for cross country flights in own aircraft.
|Silver Badge and 100 hours or holding a BGA Instructor rating
|Check flight or discussion with instructor if 6 weeks since last flight using proposed launch method. 12 month checks required, except that instructors follow standard BGA annual revalidation requirements. Must retain 30 days currency to instruct or carry passengers.
|Self-authorising for flights in own aircraft. Authorisation required from SGC instructor for all flights in SGC aircraft. Briefing recommended from SGC instructor for cross country flights in own aircraft.
|All SGC solo pilots with 10 solo flights or more.
|Site familiarisation check. Approval of CFI or deputy (logbook signature) plus review with lead instructor.
|All SGC Bronze+CCE pilots, subject to satisfactory check flight(s) (logbook signature).
|Silver plus 100 hours, subject to satisfactory check flight(s). Approval of CFI or deputy (logbook signature) plus review with lead instructor.
All initial flights must only be made after approval and briefing by a SGC instructor, refer Glider Conversion and Private Purchase.
Flights in the Junior, DG505 and Perkoz require that pilot has current spin training and relevant conversion briefing and check flights and that the pilot is in currency (green or yellow on the BGA currency barometer).
These must be conducted within current BGA guidelines with approved instructors and appropriate supervision. Due to the nature of this flying with members of the public, we must ensure we fully exercise our duty of care during these flights. The BGA guidance on Introductory Flights and Trial Lessons can be found in the BGA Managing Flying Risk area.
Members of the public turning up for an introductory flight or trial lesson must be fully briefed on what the lesson involves – there is an excellent DVD which should be shown to visitors in the Clubhouse to give them a good idea of what’s involved prior to going out to the launch point.
The passenger or student must wear a parachute and must be briefed on how to escape from the aircraft and use the parachute in an emergency. If it is found that the use of a parachute results in the passenger/student exceeding the maximum load for a particular aircraft, use another aircraft which will cater for that weight. If it turns out impossible to meet the weight requirements in any aircraft and/or by getting a lighter instructor then the individual concerned should be politely told that we cannot fly them.
Qualified Pilots can obtain a F&F rating which is issued by the CFI or deputy. Pilots so authorised must ensure that the care and supervision standards set down by the BGA for trial lessons are applied to this flight activity and that they adhere strictly to these guidelines. All flying must be approved by the Lead Instructor. The PIC must have a current F&F rating (via an annual check with a Full Rated instructor) and satisfy the requirements in Currency and Privileges.
Any PIC flying with a non-pilot passenger must have a suitable medical (BGA Laws and Rules - Medical)
Passengers flown by F&F pilots must be personally known to the pilot and must have completed a day membership form. Members who are not qualified for F&F themselves may still bring friends or family members to fly with an instructor or IFP.
Only qualified pilots (Bronze+CCE or SPL) approved by the CFI or deputy (evidenced by logbook signature) may fly together (except when the PIC has an instructor, IFP or F&F rating). Each flight must be approved by the Lead Instructor.
Visiting pilots wishing to fly solo must become temporary (reciprocal) members of the SGC and must provide a copy of their current medical or PMD and bring their up-to-date log book for inspection even if flying in their own gliders. Visiting pilots flying their own private gliders must show a current ARC, annual and insurance. First-time visitors must get a site briefing and a site familiarisation flight, refer 7. Visitors.
Visiting instructors must have approval of the CFI before instructing on site, in any club, private or visiting aircraft. This approval may include a check flight and must be renewed annually.
Visiting pilots may only fly club aircraft as PIC with the permission of the CFI or deputy (evidence of logbook signature)
SGC members converting to a new club glider type, or considering purchasing a whole or part share of a glider, or taking an insurance share, must ensure that they follow a proper conversion process.
The CFI has the power to revoke solo flying privileges at SGC if he or she deems it necessary. In the absence of the CFI, any instructor may, when necessary, ground a club member who is guilty of a breach of flying discipline until the circumstances of the case can be reported to the CFI.