Like many other clubs, Bicester Gliding Centre uses the dependable K13 as its basic trainer and now owns five of these aircraft. These dual-control two-seater gliders are the workhorses on many airfields, perfect for first timers and those just going solo. We also have three single-seaters for solo pilots: a Ka8, an Astir Cs and a Discus.
Through the generosity of our club members, some privately owned gliders are available for use. Details of these are available at the Club, including the experience level required to fly these gliders. In particular, BGC sometimes has the use of the gliders owned by Oxford University Gliding Club (who we pay whenever we use their aircraft). Their K21 glass-fibre two-seat trainer and Astir occasionally supplement our own gliders when we are busy.
The two-seater K13 (the top first three images) has a tubular steel frame fuselage of great strength, which then has wooden battens placed over this to give it a more streamlined shape. These are then covered on canvas to keep the weight down. The wings have a wooden spar with wooden formers to give it its general shape, and have a plywood leading edge for a more accurately shaped aerofoil. These aircraft are designed to withstand loads of +5.5g and -2.5g with ease.
We have five of these gliders (CCZ, HMV, JXM, HAL and KKR), thus enabling several beginners to undergo training at the same time.
Members start their training in these aircraft, and have their early solo flights in them. As they porgress, they can move on to the K8 and, after gaining more experience, they can fly the Astir CS, eventually carrying out cross-country flights, after more training in our Grob Twin III two-seater.
The single-seater Astir CS (fourth image, DFR) is constructed from glass-fibre reinforced resin, and is an idea glider for those seeking to further their flying skills and tackle cross-country flying. Pilots frequently fly their first ever cross-country in this aircraft and can easily complete round trips of over 300km in it.
Some of our members have flown in Regional and National competitions in this glider, which can be rented for the week at a low rate. This glider is well instrumented, including a GPS navigation system and a flight recorder.
In the hangar, waiting to fly.
The image on the left slows the entire two-seater fleet parked in the hangar - the coloured gliders are the five K13 gliders, while the white glider at the top is the Grob Twin III glider, used for cross-country training of our members.
Click here to view a larger version of this image.
The Falke 2000 Motor Glider (the last image of the set) is a self-launching two-seat glider. This enables some gliding exercises to be repeated many times without needing to land, such as practising the approach to land, or setting up the circuit. It is also used for cross-country navigation training and related exercises.