The Club offers complete Glider Pilot License (GPL) training to first time pilots and current Private Pilot License (PPL) pilots. Training is done by a panel of well-experienced Instructors and they can provide a conversion to powered gliders as well.
The Club Fleet can provide a member with gliders from basic training to well-advanced gliding and aerobatics. Goldfields Gliding Club has the biggest Club owned Glider Fleet in South Africa. Apart from our excellent fleet, we have the most affordable club and flying rates. About
Goldfields Gliding Club was established on the 17th of July 1958 in Odendaalsrus, as an informal gliding club by enthusiasts. The brainchild of founder, Heinie Heiress, the club initially operated from a field on which the racetrack Pakisa is now situated. The club soon recruited new members, some of them by chance, as with Klaas Goudriaan.
Goudriaan was asked to assist with the repair of a glider launch vehicle that did not have enough power to tow and was offered a ‘flip’ in return. He so enjoyed the experience that he became a member on the 25th of September 1960 and paid the grand sum of £25 as a subscription. As more members and support was rallied, the club began to expand and bought its first Graunau Baby for £250.
The club was not only a place for gliding enthusiasts but also became a social venue with family and friends gathering around the hangar. It soon became apparent that a clubhouse was needed and once built, featured the facilities to conduct socials.
In February 1962, an Air Rally was held and Goldfields Gliding Club managed to collect enough money through a stall to purchase yet another glider. Following soon, another event – a dance – was held to raise funds and this saw the addition of the first brand new glider from Germany. Along with many more gliders acquired, a swimming pool was built in 1968, proving a cool relief for children during the hot summer months.
As the club grew with the addition of a Röhn Lerche and an ASK 13 glider, it became apparent that new premises were required. The club moved to a different part of Odendaalrus and a second hangar was built in order to accommodate the additional gliders. Fortunately, members did not have to forgo a clubhouse as the resident mine generously built a new one.
Goldfields Gliding Club has been in existence for 47 years and members look forward to its Golden Jubilee in 2008. Highlights include the Orange Free State (OFS) Regionals that were held in 1973. At the event, Goldfields Gliding Club looked like a caravan park with all the visitors that ‘camped’ out for the event and was a huge success. The Regionals have now become an annual event. In 1976, the S.A. National Championships were held at Goldfields Gliding Club, with festivities enjoyed by all. Funds were raised and a Kestrel was purchase with the money.
It was a coup for the club when Klaas and Laurens Goudriaan were selected to be part of the Springbok team to compete in Paderborn in Germany in 1981 – a first for father and son to compete in the same team.
In the same year, the club was forced to move again as a mineshaft was to be sunk in the same spot as the club’s runway. Eventually, in 1995, the club bought 68 hectares of property and the club relocated to Uitsig. A new clubhouse was built and is still home to the club today.
Goldfields Gliding Club has developed and expanded to become well established with regular socials and events. Saturday evening dinners are a regular feature and visitors to the club are most welcome.
This initiative is to extend the joy and pleasure of soaring to the broader community with special emphasis on those with physical disabilities.
In South Africa, there are an estimated 5 million people with various disabilities who have been marginalised and excluded from various activities, such as gliding not because they were incapable of flying, but because no effort had been put into breaking the traditional mindset and overcoming obvious problems (such as developing hand controls for sailplanes).
The aims of this initiative:
• To bring the joys of soaring over the spectacular scenery of South Africa to the widest possible audience.
• To train potential pilots from previously disadvantaged communities.
• To introduce as many disabled people as possible to the joys of soaring flight
• To train disabled pilots to fly solo.
• To further train disabled pilots to become gliding instructors with a total understanding of and sympathy for the special needs of disabled pilots.
• To introduce disabled people to the thrills of aerobatic flight.
• To aid disabled pilots in the purchase, modification, and operation of their own single seat gliders.
• To promote gliding as a sport accessible to all
This initiative was initiated by the Disabled Aviation Association of South Africa but is being hosted by Goldfields Gliding Club. The location of the club is within easy reach of Johannesburg Bloemfontein and Welkom and hence has the ability to attract potential disabled pilots from a large area of South Africa. Depending on the success of the initiative there is potential for courses to be run around the country.
Goldfield Gliding Club has approximately 25 members and has agreed to allow their training glider (ASK -21) to be converted for disabled use. The club will be integrated with able-bodied and disabled pilots flying the aircraft. The reason for using this aircraft is that there is a factory designed and certified hand control modification.
The initiative is a long-term one where hopefully there will be a regular turnover of disabled pilots. As this happens, some of them will achieve substantial goals (such as a disabled pilot in the UK who flew 730 km in a glider, and unfortunately just missed a 750km goal).
Learn to fly
Your first step is to take an introductory flight in a glider at the club. That flight will introduce you to all aspects of gliding. You will want to explore this exciting aviation sport once you’ve experience gliding first hand.
The next step will be to join the Gliding Club in order to start your flight training. As gliding clubs in South Africa are non-commercial organizations and brevet instructors are not commercial instructors as with Private Pilot License (PPL) training, training essentially is “free” of charge. You will, however, be required to pay the necessary Winch Launch or Aero-tow and glider usage fees determined by the club. As with any course of study, the more material you read on your own, the faster you’ll learn and the more competent you’ll be. Various websites, magazines, and textbooks contain all the theory and essentials of flight, soaring techniques, safety, navigation, and meteorology. You will be studying this material while you are taking your flying lessons.
Training takes place during each flyable weekend on both Saturday and Sundays. Glider training takes place making use of a structured training syllabus as prescribed by the Soaring Society of South Africa (SSSA) and the Gliding Club. The closer together the lessons are, the easier it is to build on the knowledge gained from previous lessons, and the faster you will learn. Most people try to fly at least once a week, and most prefer to take more than one flight during each lesson. You will be provided with guidance by the various instructors at the club in terms of your progress.
The glider you will fly has dual flight controls, and your instructor will sit behind you. Your instructor has all the directional controls that you have and will show you the control motions or follow along with you as you are learning to fly the glider. If you have not flown before, some of the maneuvers and coordination may seem a bit difficult at first. After a few flights, however, you will be making the glider do what you want it to do, and you will wonder why you ever felt so clumsy on your initial flights.
You will learn that a glider is a machine that answers to gentle, coordinated pressures on its controls. You’ll learn to fly the glider straight-and-level, to turn it in varying degrees of bank, and to recognize and recover from stalls. You will practice flight courtesy and safety and will glide down to enter the airport traffic pattern at a predetermined altitude. You will fly your approach precisely, land your craft with its wings level, and stop where you want to stop. You will learn emergency techniques so there will be no unexpected surprises for you when you become a licensed pilot.
How long it takes you to solo depends on a number of factors. These might include any previous pilot experience you have had, how open you are to your instructor’s guidance, and how relaxed you are. Other factors include the type of glider you are flying, the weather during your training, and the degree of experience and proficiency your particular program of training requires before permitting you to solo.
The requirement by SSSA and the Recreational Aviation Administration – South Africa (RAASA) required at least 35 take-offs and landings to be considered for your solo flight. You can solo if you are 16-years old or older. An experienced power (airplane) pilot can generally solo a glider in less than 10 flights. Gliders and glider pilots are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and RAASA who set the minimum requirements for pilot certificates.
Cost of training from beginning through solo at the Gliding Club will vary depending on how rapidly you progress. After you have soloed, you will continue to fly with an instructor from time to time to see that you are maintaining good flying habits and developing your judgment and flying skills.
Learning to fly a glider safely is easy. The instructor can teach you the mechanics of flying the glider in just a few lessons. But don’t be led too quickly into thinking that you have learned all there is to know. Learning to soar is a series of steps and plateaus. How high on that ladder you wish to climb is up to you. Some pilots are content to soar around an airport. Others find exhilaration and satisfaction in cross-country flight and ultimately in competing with other pilots. Learning while flying is fun; a fine balance of determination, flexibility, and practice is necessary to gain the proficiency you will need to get the most out of your glider.
Aero-tow and Winch Launches are the most widely used methods of getting a glider airborne in South Africa today. During Aero-tow the glider is pulled aloft by a 65m nylon or polypropylene rope secured by a special hook to the tow plane. The glider pilot can release the tow rope at any altitude desired. In the unlikely event of a glider release mechanism malfunction, the tow plane pilot can release the tow line.
Winch launches can achieve altitudes of 300-600m before release, depending on the length of the winch line and the wind strength.