Deeside Gliding Club just outside Aboyne, Royal Deeside has become popular with gliding enthusiasts from across Britain and Europe. Due to the surrounding terrain, its location is fortunate to possess very stable air currents so is renowned for being the foremost Wave soaring site in the British Isles.
It is the only gliding airfield in Scotland to have a tarmac runway, of which it has two in parallel, which run east west.
With a dedicated parking and picnic area visitors can watch gliders take to the skies and soar on the currents.)
A glider is simply a heavier-than-air aircraft that is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its lifting surfaces, and whose free flight does not depend on an engine. Although they need help to get up in the air but once they are it's up to the wing design and the airflow to keep them flying.
One way that gliders get up into the air is called an aero-tow. A rope connected to a glider is attached to a regular plane. The glider pilot releases the rope when the glider is at the right altitude. Park at the picnic viewing area at Deeside Gliding Club on a flying day and you will see this all in action against the backdrop of some wonderful Royal Deeside scenery.
Sir George Cayley, (1773 -1857) was a pioneer of aeronautical engineering and is sometimes referred to as "the father of aviation. He designed the first glider reliably reported to carry a human aloft.
He also constructed the first flying model aeroplane and also diagrammed the elements of vertical flight.
A modern glider can now fly at over 150 mph although more often this is between 50 - 90mph. Gliders climbing in thermals normally stop at cloud-base, which can be anything from 3000 - 6000 ft. Pilots who have been taught to fly using instruments can climb inside clouds and reach 12000ft or more.
Ridge lift rarely allows pilots to climb much higher than about 600 metres (2,000 ft.) above the terrain; thermals, depending on the climate and terrain, can allow climbs in excess of 3,000 metres (9,800 ft.) in flat country and much higher above mountains; wave lift has allowed gliders to reach much higher altitudes.
In early September 2017 the Airbus Perlan glider broke the World Absolute Altitude Record, reaching an incredible flight of 53400ft over the Andes!
Holders of a valid FAA Power plane license with 40 hours as pilot-in-command need a minimum of 10 solo flights to qualify to take the glider flight test. No written exam is required to add a glider rating to a power license.
So it’s easy to see why Gliding can be described as Flying High!
For more details on the Deeside Gliding Club visit www.deesideglidingclub.co.uk
(Please note not operational all year round)