A group of Aviation Engineering students from City College Norwich have taken to the skies in gliders – a breath-taking experience that is set to become a regular feature of their course thanks to Norfolk Gliding Club’s donation of a glider for the students to work on and fly.
Two groups of Level 2 and 3 students from the course have visited Tibenham Airfield for an amazing gliding experience with Norfolk Gliding Club. The gliders they flew in were a Schleicher ASK 13 and ASK 21, which are tandem 2-seat training sailplanes.
Each student was accompanied by an instructor from Norfolk Gliding Club. They were winch launched to 1,200 feet and the conditions on the day were perfect for soaring – with some flights reaching a dizzying 3,000 feet.
There was plenty to keep the students busy when not actually flying, as they were given responsibility for handling, hooking up tow lines to the gliders, and acting as wingmen for each launch.
The link with Norfolk Gliding Club helps broaden the students’ experience of the wide range of areas in which they could work in their future careers in aviation and aerospace. For Norfolk Gliding Club it is an opportunity to introduce new enthusiasts to the sport.
The college is set to receive a Grob Astir sailplane from Norfolk Gliding Club later this month. The idea is that the Aviation Engineering students will then work on the sailplane to meet all of the necessary safety standards and licensing requirements of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, before eventually flying it at Tibenham.
The students are all studying on City College Norwich’s Level 2 and 3 courses in Aviation Engineering, from which they can progress on to the new degree in Professional Aviation Engineering Practice at the International Aviation Academy Norwich.
Aviation Engineering student Leo Cairns, 17, from Eye, said:
“I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet the gliders were in the air as there is very little sound in the cockpit mid-flight. We were able to do mild aerobatics in the gliders performed by the pilot and I was also able to have a go while being talked through it. This was thrilling as I never thought I would be able to perform them myself.”
Fellow Aviation Engineering student Elliott Weekley, 18, from North Walsham, added:
“During my flight we reached a maximum altitude of 3,000 feet and a max speed of 85 knots. We even managed to see a buzzard that was using the warm air from a thermal below to gain altitude. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.”
Stuart Mackay, Aviation Engineering Lecturer, City College Norwich, commented:
“The link with Norfolk Gliding Club gives our students invaluable experience of an area of aviation engineering many have not encountered before. It is incredibly generous of the club to be donating a sailplane, which will add an exciting new dimension to our students’ learning.”
Mike Hoy, Norfolk Gliding Club Chairman, added:
“As one of the UK’s premier gliding clubs and an accredited Junior Gliding Centre our involvement with IAAN, City College Norwich and UEA greatly assists in promoting the sport and broader aviation with the next generation. Our highly subsidised junior flying schemes help a number of youngsters every year gain their wings, with many regularly ending up forging careers within the aviation industry. Our inaugural flying days with City College Norwich were a great success and we look forward to undertaking these more regularly and hopefully more frequently.”