First Solo Gliding of 2020

“This is one of the most amazing opportunities I have done in my Air Cadet career”

Last weekend Sergeant Harry Vardy, from 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron, was the first cadet this year at 644 volunteer gliding school to successfully land his first solo circuit in the vigilant aircraft gaining his Silver Gliding Wings. The journey started just 8 weeks prior to his first solo flight and not only involved practical gliding lessons but also involved a large amount of theory learning in a classroom environment.

Every Saturday at the Gliding School, Sergeant Vardy would complete between 4 and 8 launches, weather depending. During these launches he learnt basic controls of the aircraft, how to use thermals to maintain altitude and most importantly and most challengingly to him how to successfully launch and land the aircraft.

As Sergeant Vardy became more competent in controlling the aircraft, he began practicing his gliding circuits ready for his first solo flight but before he could go solo he had to

prove his ability within four launches to one of the main gliding instructors. Sergeant Vardy said “When I first went up on my own, I felt alive, it was a cadet career defining moment.You feel like you have no boundaries and the feeling of freedom because you are up in the sky on your own, it’s an amazing feeling. After I had landed safely, everyone came to congratulate me on my solo and my landing.”

You feel like you have no boundaries and the feeling of freedom because you are up in the sky on your own, it’s an amazing feeling.

The final stage of achieving his Silver Gliding Wings was to prove that not only had he developed aptitude in the practical side of gliding but that he had also been taking on the theoretical information he had learnt over the duration of the 8-weeks. Following successful competition of the theoretical test he was awarded his Silver Gliding Wings.

His final comments were for those cadets thinking of completing a gliding scholarship to sign up as soon as they are eligible, as it is something he would recommend to any cadet with an interest in aviation and loves to fly.