FLYING
WITH
GCWA

Want to Fly with us?
Are you interested in giving gliding a try?  

The Gliding Club of WA is the place for you!  

Whether you're keen on taking a scenic joyflight with one of our instructors, or you want to dive in and start learning yourself - this is the place to start.  

Continue on below for more information on:
Air Experience Flights
Come and experience a Gliding joyflight for yourself!  Book in an Air Experience Flight with one of our experienced instructors and see how easy and enjoyable flying can be.  Gliding is for young and old alike, so come and have a go!

You'll have a half-hour flight in one of the club's two-seat gliders, during which time you will be able to learn the basic control method and have a go yourself.  It is an excellent way to see that gliding is for everyone.

Of course, maybe you just want to lean back and relax, enjoying the sights from the serene and quiet environment of a glider cockpit; or maybe you're up for some more excitement and want to experience an introduction to aerobatics.  All of these are possibilities - just ask your instructor.  

Check out what others are saying or Leave a comment to let us know what you thought!  Head over to our Store page to purchase a flight right now.

The amazing Lana and Stephen from  GoldenLight WA Photography & Video made this awesome video of their AEF experience!  Thanks guys!!
Air Experience Flight Terms & Conditions
  • Flights are available year round, weather permitting.  For safety and passenger comfort reasons we may choose not to fly passenger flights on days with a forecast temperature exceeding 36°C, or on days with heavy rain and/or strong winds.
    • Please contact the club on 0417 992 806 before departing for the airfield to confirm that conditions are suitable for flying.
  • For passengers, an upper weight limit of 110kg applies - this is the legal maximum rating for the glider harnesses and cannot be exceeded.  If the passenger weight is between 100kg and 110kg, please let us know in advance so we can arrange for one of our lighter instructors to take the flight to ensure the glider's balance is not unduly affected.
  • AEF passengers must be able and prepared to sign a personal health declaration and disclaimer prior to being allowed to fly.
  • Passengers under the age of 18 require signed Parental or Guardian consent before flying.  If a valid parent or guardian will not be accompanying the passenger to the airfield on the day, then please fill out the form available HERE and forward to gcwa@westnet.com.au
  • If a flights ends after an unusually short time, for instance being forced to land because of weather conditions or other safety considerations, the club may choose to offer a second flight with a launch to 2000ft, free of charge and to the same passenger only.
  • Flights may be extended, conditions permitting, at the discretion of the instructor if requested by the passenger.  Additional time beyond the included 30 minutes will be charged at $1.50 per minute, and payment is to be settled before departing the airfield on the day.
    • Flight extensions may not be possible on the day, due to weather conditions or glider demand, and cannot be booked in advance.  Please discuss with the instructor prior to flying.
  • The charged rate for an AEF includes a required temporary membership with the Gliding Federation of Australia (gliding's regulatory body in Australia.)  If a passenger elects to take any subsequent flights within the 30 day membership period, the flights will be charged at club member rates.
  • Refunds are not possible, however the date of booked flights may be altered upon request
For any further queries, please contact the GCWA Publicity Officer on 0409 683 159 or via email at gcwa@westnet.com.au
Gliding Lessons
So, you want to learn how to fly.

The Gliding Club of WA can most certainly help you achieve your dreams.  As a member of the club, you will be entitled to undertake lessons with our amazing group of instructors, who will guide you through the process of learning to fly a glider safely and professionally.  All of our instructors are volunteers and club members, and they donate their time just to see people experience the joys of flying.

Anyone can fly.  No matter your age or background, we can help you get in the air.  We have had members go solo at just 15 years of age, the lowest age at which this is legally possible; and we have members who are still flying beyond 90 years of age!!

Learning at GCWA has many advantages.  Cunderdin Airfield has two large tarmac runways, safely approachable with the wind from any direction.  We have no trees or other obstructions near the runways, making wind conditions predicatable and landing approaches easier to judge.  Plus, we've got a great bunch of experienced instructors who will work with you to ensure that you learn in a safe, supportive environment - and that you have fun!
Learning to fly a glider - while not at all difficult - requires some time, persistence, and dedication.  The more effort you put into it and the more regularly you undertake lessons, the quicker you'll progress.  Progression is competency based.  You will need to learn to display particular skills consistently and competently while demonstrating good decision making choices and safe behaviours.  The Australian syllabus includes the following fundamentals:
  • Orientation flights demonstrating the third dimension and introducing the different 
  • sights and sounds that will be encountered 
  • Lookout awareness. Look and see. The limitations of human vision. 
  • Ground handling of the glider, launch procedure and signals. 
  • Orientation in flight and sailplane stability. 
  • Pre-take-off checks. ABCD and CHAOTIC. 
  • Primary effects of controls and the effects of banking. 
  • Aileron drag and rudder co-ordination. 
  • Sustained turning flight and the effects of all controls. 
  • Lookout procedures in turning and level flight 
  • Straight flight at various speeds and trimming the glider. 
  • Pre-landing checks. 
  • Slow flight and stalling. Never low and slow. 
  • Launch and release procedures. 
  • Radio and FLARM use.
  • Take-off. 
  • Circuit joining and planning. 
  • Thermalling and thermal centring techniques 
  • Thermal entry. 
  • Soaring with other gliders. 
  • Landing approach and landing. 
  • Spinning. 
  • Crosswind take-offs and landings. 
  • Launch emergencies. 
  • Flying with other gliders and aircraft. 
  • Rules of the air. 
  • Human factors. 
  • Threat and error management. 
  • First solo flight.
Our instructors will help you master all of this (and more!) during your learning journey via a number of hands-on one-on-one lessons tailored to your ability and progress, in a two-seat training glider.  Training does not end at the first solo!  There is much more to learn beyond that, with many valuable skills to be acquired as you continue to learn and engage in the joys of soaring flight, move into single-seat gliders, and ultimately take on the greatest of soaring experiences - cross-country flight.

If you want a head start on the theory and get a good idea of what you'll need to know, we encourage our new members, and anyone else who is interested, to download a copy of the manual Australian Gliding Knowledge, provided by the Gliding Federation of Australia.  The AGK manual details much of the theory that you'll need to get to grips with in a very readable format that is simple to understand, and will greatly help you during your lessons.  You can download a copy by clicking on the book cover adjacent.
What will you need?

To get started on your journey to becoming a glider pilot you will need the following:
  1. A Membership with the Gliding Club of Western Australia
  2. Valid Membership with the Gliding Federation of Australia
  3. A Declaration of Medical Fitness - this is a self declaration that you are fit to fly
  4. If under 18 years of age, a signed Parent/Guardian Consent Form

What does it cost?  How long does it take?
These are the most common questions we receive - how much does it cost to learn to go solo, and how long will it take to get you there?  The answer is that it depends on how fast you learn, and that in itself is often a factor of how often you fly.  Students who come up and take multiple lessons every weekend will progress much faster than those who only come up once a month, as in the end they will forget less between lessons and build the required muscle memory faster.  As a very rough estimate it can cost around $2,500 to $3,000 including the required memberships, launching fees, and glider hire to go from raw recruit with no experience to your first solo flight.  You should anticipate around 30-40 lessons from start to first solo, but again this is dependent on how fast you learn.

Further info on Club membership, prices etc can be found below.
Membership and Pricing
The Gliding Club of Western Australia is a Sporting Club, not a commercial for-profit flight school.  As such, flying with us is relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of aviation.  It must be noted however, that anyone who flies with us must be a member of the club to receive its benefits.  All glider pilots in Australia must also hold a membership with the Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA).

Being a Club-based organisation, we operate on the goodwill of our members - all of whom are volunteers and give their own time to seeing the club run.  This is an expectation of membership at GCWA, and as a club member you will gradually acquire skills and the duties that go along with those skills.  This can include simple tasks such as keeping logs for a day's flight, to managing ground operations, assisting with maintenance, and right up to Instructing or flying Towplanes.

If you're interested in continuing and becoming a member of the club, please see this Letter to Prospective Members and the Membership Application Form.


Membership Fees

Annual Club membership runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year, and is renewed each July.

Membership Type
GCWA fee GFA Fee TOTAL Membership
Annual Flying Membership (Adult)
$495 $320 $815
Annual Flying Membership (Student Discount) $245
$166 $411
3 Month Trial Membership $265 $166 $431

Glider Flight Charges

Flights are charged in two parts, the launch plus the glider hire.  There is no charge for the instructor's time.  

As an example, a 30 minute training flight in the PW6 trainer with a standard lauch to 2,000ft will cost $78.20... $50 for lauch to 2,000ft + $28.20 glider hire (30 minutes x $0.94 per min)

Bulk Scheme - the GCWA Advantage
We offer a fantastic discount to members who wish to pay for their glider use in advance. For one annual upfront fee of $870 members can have unlimited use of the club's fleet of gliders with the exception of the newer DG-1001.  This means that for a student joining the bulk scheme, training flights will be charged with only the launch fee.  

As you progress and spend more time aloft, the bulk scheme becomes more advantageous.  This is especially valuable if you plan to engage in log soaring flights.  The cost of the Bulk Sceme equates to a little over 16 hours of flying per year - a figure which is very easy to exceed if you fly regularly!

The 3 Month Trial Membership
This is for new members who may be a little unsure how they will take to gliding and may be unwilling to commit to the cost of a full year's membership.  The package costs $431 and covers the fees for club membership, and also the fee for the mandatory GFA membership.  

Pilots on the Trial Membership package are limited to 10 flying lessons charged at a fixed rate of $75 each, with each lesson consisting of a standard 2,000ft tow and up to 30 minutes of airborne instruction.  

If you decide you like it, then great!  All you need do is pay the difference to top up to a full membership and continue your lessons at the usual club rates.

Launching Fees
At GCWA our launch method is via aerotow.  Our tow-planes are used to take the gliders up to a desired altitude before they release and begin gliding.  Launch fees are based on 500ft altitude blocks or a per minute rate for longer tows.  A standard tow for most purposes is to 2,000 ft.  Minute rates for CSN are a little higher that FSJ due to having a more powerful engine and consequently higher fuel burn.

Glider Launch Release Height
Tow Plane Fee
0 - 500 ft
$25
501 - 1,000 ft $30
1,001 - 1,500 ft $40
1,501 - 2,000 ft $50
2,001 - 2,500 ft $60
2,501 - 3,000 ft $65
Above 3,000 ft per minute
Minute Rate - FSJ $6.00
Minute Rate - CSN $6.50

Glider Hire Fees
Use of the club's gliders is charged at a per minute rate and is dependent on the type of glider.  Any single flight charge is capped at 4 hours maximum or 5 hours for the DG-1001, this is easy to exceed on strong cross-country flying days when the lift is good!  Something to be aware of is that each pilot is also responsible for covering the cost of any damage up to the insurance excess for the glider.  For most of the gliders this is $625 and for the DG-1001 it is $1,000.  Note that if you cause damage to a glider you may be required to pay anything up to the excess amount for the necessary repairs.

Glider 
Per Minute Per Hour Capped Hours Max Flight Charge
PW6 (2 Seater, Trainer)
$0.94 $56.40 4 $225.60
IS28 (2 Seater) $0.94
$56.40 4 $225.60
DG-1001 (2 Seater, Performance) $1.24 $74.40 5 $372.00
Ka6 (single, vintage timber) $0.65 $39.00 4 $156.00
Pilutus B4 (single, alloy) $0.94
$56.40 4 $225.60
Astir (single, composite)
$0.94 $56.40 4 $225.60
Jantar Std2 (single, composite) $0.94 $56.40 4 $225.60
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