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The Winch Driver Manual

The Scottish Gliding Centre has two winches. The Skylaunch 2 which is our ‘daily driver’ and is used most regularly, and the SupaCat. Your training will take place in the Skylaunch. This guide is aimed at new winch drivers who are just starting their training. It covers the basic concepts of launching gliders and operating the Skylaunch. More information on winch driving can be found in the BGA Winch Operators’ Manual.

This guide is not a substitute for training by a qualified person. If you are interested in receiving training, contact the Winchmaster. This guide assumes that you at minimum have the knowledge required by solo winch pilots.

Why Should You Learn?

Driving the winch is a great way to help the club. The club wouldn’t be able to operate without the help of volunteers such as yourself.

You may also find that it will help with your own launches. Gaining a different perspective on how you’re being launched and what the winch driver is doing and expecting gives you a completely different view. After all, launching is a team effort between the pilot and winch driver!


The requirements for undergoing training are as follows:

  • Be a solo pilot at the Scottish Gliding Centre.
  • Be at least 16 years old to go solo on the winch – however, training can start from 14.
  • Be willing to dedicate a non-insignificant amount of time to being regularly trained.

Visiting The Winch

Feel free to come and visit the winch to watch some launches. Instructors are more than welcome to bring early students to get another perspective of the launch process.

The standard ‘don’t touch the cables if the flashing beacon is on’ applies. Do not touch the drums or open any of the winch’s guards. If you need to touch the cables, ensure you do so within direct view of the winch’s cabin.

Notes Regarding Training

Whilst you are under training, all your launches will be under the direct supervision of a qualified winch driver. Just like when you learnt to fly with an instructor, the other winch driver is there to teach you and answer any questions you may have.

winch.txt · Last modified: 2024/06/23 15:55 by olliek