[Glider cockpit]

I learnt the basics of gliding, in Venture T2 Motor Gliders, when I was in the Air Cadets at school. The course was at RAF Henlow, in Bedfordshire. I think it would have been in 1977.

They were self-launching gliders, which would take off under their own power, then fly and land as gliders. They had Rollason engines (licence-built souped-up Volkswagen Beetle engines) with a lawnmower-style (pull-handle) start under the dashboard. At 1600cc, this was quite an effort! The starter handle had to be used in flight to crank the propeller blades level, as there wasn't enough clearance to land safely if one of them was pointing downwards.

[Gliders ready for launch]

Here, two of them are ready for launching. They took off at around 40 knots, if I remember aright; it took about a minute to get up to that speed.

[Glider and control tower]

We had a portable control tower -- some kind of old military caravan, towed into place each day by a Land-Rover, which was painted yellow to indicate that it wasn't allowed off the airfield.

John C. G. Sturdy
[John's home] Last modified: Sun Jun 10 21:39:56 GMT Daylight Time 2007