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I had my first gliding lesson yesterday.

What did I think of it? WONDERFUL!!!!

For years I’ve driven past the East Sussex Gliding Club and told myself that I must go in and investigate. And at last I’ve done it!

Gliders were flying from Firle in the 1930s. The Gliding Club started on Firle Beacon in 1974. Then it split into two clubs when it moved to Parham, West Sussex.

Some of the members had a long journey to go there, so they formed the East Sussex Gliding Club in Ringmer, which is where I went.

The field was a turf farm, so it has no topsoil. The Club has bought the field.

Gliding 1 063 (Small)They also own four 2-seater gliders, two single-seat, two ‘tug’ planes and one motorised glider.

So what’s the difference between a motorised glider and a plane?

You can turn off a motorised glider’s engine, or let it tick over, and just glide!

Apart from the Club’s gliders, there are also 30 private gliders, and a motorised glider.

The owners can glide when they want to.

In a Club glider, you have to pay for the launch and gliding time. A private member only pays for the launch.

Gliding 1 075 (Small)Of course, unlike planes, you don’t have a massive fuel bill or landing fees, so it’s much, much cheaper to glide.

Guess what? There aren’t many female members. I can’t understand why. It’s a lovely, rewarding hobby.

I met Roland, who was folding a parachute. It takes him two hours to do one parachute!

He’s the only Club member who has parachuted out of a glider!

You have to push the glider’s canopy up, then you can have a strong wind in your face so you have to move fast; undo the harness, climb over the side and jump, pulling the parachute open immediately.

Gliding 1 077 (Small)In a plane, you count to five, to get away from the propeller, etc. But as a glider flies at a lower height, you have to pull immediately.

My instructor was Peter Kilkelly, who started flying gliders at the age of 16, then he flew commercial planes.

To our amazement, we discovered that we’d both worked for Dan-Air!

He was a pilot and I was an air hostess. It’s a small world!

The gliders have either a Winch or an Aerotow launching.

The winch is parked at the far end of the field and a cable pulls the glider up to 1,000-1200ft. From there, you can find thermals to lift you higher. But the flight normally lasts from 5-10 minutes.

Gliding 1 078 (Small)The Aerotow launch is a launch behind one of the Club’s ‘tug’ aircrafts. It lifts the glider up to 2,000-5,000 ft. This gives plenty of time to find a thermal, and usually lasts around 20-40 minutes.

Today I was having a Winch flight.

Unlike planes that climb gradually, the glider took off like a rocket, practically vertically!

I’m never going to get fed up with that sensation. It’s fantastic!

Why on earth aren’t there more women involved? Who needs men with an exciting hobby like this?!!!!

The views above the Ringmer countryside were marvellous. We often don’t appreciate what a beautiful country we live in, and how much countryside there is!

Gliding 1 083 (Small)There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, which makes the views even more stunning and colourful, but unfortunately it isn’t the best conditions for gliding as clouds produce thermals.

I had an equal share of flying the glider. It reacts instantly to any change of direction.

Peter banked the plane and aimed it towards the Gliding Club field. He landed it like a feather, with not the slightest bump.

Quite honestly, I wasn’t aware of the fact that we had no engine. It was like flying in a plane.

The tractor came along to tow the glider off the middle of the field after we’d got out of the cockpit.

Gliding 1 084 (Small)Everyone was very friendly and made me very welcome.

I’ve found a new hobby and I’ll be joining the Club and flying regularly.

I can hardly wait for my next flight, which will be an Aerotow!

Watch out for further articles about my gliding progress, and what goes on in the Club.

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A single winch launch costs £30.

An Aerotow to 2,500 ft costs £99.

A Motorglider flight costs £99.

For further membership details, contact

East Sussex Gliding Club

Kitson Field

The Broyle


East Sussex


01825 840347


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About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.