Magalies Gliding Club is situated approximately 50km west-northwest of central Johannesburg and 65km southwest of central Pretoria. (Radio 123.4 Mhz)
MGC operates out of Orient Airfield (FAOI), on weekends and most public holidays.
The Club has around 200 members and a summer weekend will typically see between 100 and 150 starts, including visitors.
Flights of 300 km are regularly achieved and some of our competition pilots have achieved 500, 750 and even 1000km flights from Orient. We are very fortunate to enjoy some of the best thermal soaring conditions in the world, and most flying days produce powerful thermals of between 1 and 5 meters per second climbs to as high as 18000 feet AMSL.
Orient airfield lies at 5100 feet above mean sea level with two parallel 1500m long grass strips laid out 18-36, a cross runway of 700m (11-29) and an emergency strip of 500m.
A short strip, parallel and to the east of the two main 18-36 runways, (36RR) is used exclusively for winch launching and all glider circuits are conducted to the west of the field, while power circuits should be to the east. First Training Flight:
We offer a “First Training Flight” package the intention of which is to introduce people to the sport of soaring and to get some hands on flight experience. This includes –
1) Full day membership to the club and as such you are able to bring family and friends as guests to enjoy the club facilities.
2) Soaring society day membership.
3) A touring motor glider introductory training flight. This involves a 30 minute first training flight in a motorised self-launching glider where the glider climbs to altitude and then uses thermic energy for the rest of the flight. This is a training flight and the participant will be briefed before the flight.
You can book any Saturday or Sunday of your choice and an approximate time for the flight through myself, or you can arrive any weekend day at the club at about 10:30am and join the “first training flight” queue. However the flight would not be booked and may only happen later in the day. You only pay if you fly.
Should the flight not take place for any reason you can rebook for another day or the money is fully refundable. We now take credit cards.
The amount is R750.00 per person (subject to change). Should you join the club within 10 days of your intro training day, the R750.00 will be credited to your flying account and you will then be charged at member rates for the introductory flight.
Please bring any food, refreshments, sunscreen and hats you may require for the day. Also some camping chairs and a sun umbrella will add to your comfort. There is a clubhouse with normal facilities for your personal comfort.
There is a strict no alcohol policy which flying operations are active.
After flying there is a full bar and a self-catering braai facility and we invite you and your friends to the clubhouse to enjoy the evening with us.
Learn to fly:
If you would like to learn to fly, you must become a member of the club, and the Soaring Society of South Africa.
As a student pilot, you will be able to use all of the club facilities, and enjoy free tuition from our certified instructors.
Gliding involves much more than just flying, and as a club member, you too will be expected to pitch in and help on the days that you fly, by washing gliders, fetching them when they land, helping to put them away at night etc.
You will also be rostered for duty from time to time, and on your occasional duty days, you will learn to drive the winch, keep the timesheets, and perform the duties of the launch marshal.
Everyone has to do there bit if the club is to survive and grow. Gliding is one of the cheapest forms of aviation, second only to paragliding, and probably the only place you will receive such in-depth aeronautical training and experience, with absolutely no instruction fees! The sport of soaring attracts many different folks from all walks of life, and many professional pilots will attest to the value of their gliding experience in difficult general aviation situations.
“Powered aircraft fly through the air and in spite of it. Gliders fly in the air and because of it”.
The necessary forms are available from the timekeeper, or the duty officer at the club, or contact the webmaster, should you require any further information.
What to expect:
While every effort is made to accommodate visitors, it must be understood that MGC is a club, and as such, the folks on duty as timekeepers, launch marshals and instructor pilots, are volunteers. We cannot plan for a massive influx of visitors, but we will go out of our way to ensure your experience is a memorable one.
Gliding by nature, is subject to the cooperation of the weather (amongst many other factors). The exact time of launch, or duration of the flight cannot be determined beforehand, and an understanding of this will help to alleviate possible frustration at having to wait around for hours. The daily “Flight List” is drawn up on a first-come-first-served basis at the morning student briefing. (09h00 in summer, and 10h00 in winter). Be there if you want to fly.
All dressed up and nowhere to go. Some days the weather just doesn’t cooperate.
Hey, where’s the engine?
Just how does an aircraft having no means of propulsion, stay airborne?
Well there’s a lot to that question, but probably the most important aspect of soaring flight is energy management. Potential energy (height) is traded for kinetic energy (forward motion), and then replenished by circling or slowing down in rising air currents (Thermal or ridge lift). A glider is an extremely aerodynamic and efficient machine, and can travel a very long way while using up only a small amount of height. Typically, a modern glider can expect to achieve a distance of at least 30 meters along for every meter that it descends (called a glide ratio of 30:1). In contrast, a Cessna 172 for example, would only expect to achieve a glide ratio of about 8 or 10 to 1. (Assuming the engine had failed).
Some gliders have attained a massive 60:1 glide ratio!
Current distance record attempts are approaching the 3000 km mark and the current world record for absolute altitude stands at an awesome 49 010 feet above mean sea level. (That’s higher than most commercial airliners fly!)