GETTING A GLIDING EXPERIENCE with the Australian Air Force Cadets
Gliders are controlled and flown just like conventional powered aircraft. Gliding trains pilots to be very well coordinated on the aircraft controls, and develops in them a high degree of in-flight situational awareness and respect for other airspace users.
Many Australian Defence Force and commercial aviators began their flying careers by learning to fly gliders with the AAFC.
The goal of our flying training program is to give Cadets exposure to, and inspire their interest in, the aerospace industry through education in theoretical and practical skills of aircraft handling, aircraft engineering and flight operations.
AAFC gliding activities are conducted by our Gliding Training School and approved service providers. Week-long training courses are held during school holidays.
After appropriate training through the home training curriculum, and with their CO’s recommendation and parental consent, Cadets in their second year and beyond may undertake one instructional flight per year under the supervision of a qualified flying instructor – at no cost to the Cadet.
Within the continuum of experience we offer, selected Cadets may attend a formal Gliding Course to undergo flight training according to the Gliding Federation of Australia syllabus, again at no cost to the Cadet.
Cadets may then be selected to attend further courses, or may continue flying with a local Gliding Club. Cadets as young as 15 years – the minimum legal age – may have the opportunity to fly their first solo flight in a VH-registered glider.
In 2014, the Australian Air Force Cadets introduced a fleet of DG1000S two-seater, fully dual-controlled gliders. The DG1000S is a high-performance training glider, with an 18-metre wingspan. These aircraft offer excellent visibility and comfortable seating for two persons.
These aircraft are registered to the Commonwealth of Australia and are maintained by Cadet Branch – Air Force, and are flown by qualified AAFC instructors.
Glider flying training is conducted by the Gliding Training School (GTS) through its three ‘Centres of Excellence’ – Balaklava Glider Training Flight (SA), Bathurst Glider Training Flight (NSW) and Warwick Glider Training Flight (Queensland). The flying experiences and training based out of these three hubs are a significant part of the national aviation effort.
GTS is a subordinate unit of the AAFC’s Aviation Operations Wing (AOW), and has the mission of delivering flying pathways to Cadets through glider flying experiences and training.
Cadets applying for glider flying training must have parental consent, and be recommended by their Squadron Commanding Officer based on their overall commitment to the AAFC through attendance at Squadron and Wing-based activities.
Selection to attend a Gliding Course may involve an aviation theory test and an interview to assess suitability, enthusiasm and commitment to aviation.
There are also opportunities for AAFC staff to undergo flying training to ensure we have adult staff with aviation experience are available to progress to hold leadership roles such as Flight Commander. Powered pilots with military and/or civil experience may become Air Experience Instructors (gliding) through an accelerated program.