About Us

The Alice Springs Gliding Club operates out of the Bond Springs Airstrip, 20kms North of Alice Springs. Located at 23° 31' S, 133° 50' E at an altitude of 2400ft.

The Club operates by arrangement on weekends and public holidays. Gliders are launched by winch tow.

We fly in Class G airspace below 4500ft and are regularly given clearance to fly to an altitude of 8000ft and even higher on the booming summer soaring days. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

"Can I try gliding this weekend?"

  • We are a volunteer-run, membership-based sports club, with a focus on training students to fly gliders. You must make contact with us if you want to try gliding, so we can talk you through membership options. Email alicespringsglidingclub@gmail.com.

"Can I come and watch?"

  • If it's a weekend day, check we're operating by calling the airstrip launch point on (08) 8952 6384.

"What times do you operate?"

  • Gliders work on thermals, which tend to get going from mid-morning onwards. We typically fly until sunset. Student start-time is 1000 unless otherwise advised.

"What do I wear?"

  • Covered shoes, because thongs can fall off and pose a hazard during flight. There is little shade and no air-con out at the strip so sun protection is essential. Sunglasses, sunscreen and a cap or hat are essential.

"What do I bring?"

  • Be prepared for a wait, and bring plenty of snacks and water. If you're prone to motion-sickness, bring tablets. And don't forget the camera!

"Is there a weight limit?"

  • Yes: 100kg. This is so the aircraft is balanced. Over this and it is difficult to land properly, and that is something you do not want to experience. Be honest, or we will weigh you!

"Where are you?"

  • 20km north of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway, on the left, not long after the Highest Point Marker. When you reach the 130 speed limit sign, that's your cue to take your foot off the gas. The entrance to the club is on the left a short distance after that, with a small green signpost saying "Bond Springs Airstrip" opposite. There should be signs out if we're flying. If you reach the Tropic of Capricorn you've gone way too far!

"What's the minimum age for trying gliding?"

  • There's no minimum really, but little people under about six years of age would find the experience pretty pointless, as they can't see over the sides! Only one passenger can fit in a glider at a time and there are no "children on laps" allowed. You can fly solo when you are 15 years old.
  • Children seem to be prone to air-sickness, so please be mindful of this with snacks beforehand etc.

“How long will it take to fly solo?”

  • There is no set time to this, it is performance-based and some people will progress quicker than others, especially those with an aviation background. Typically with no previous aviation experience and regular flying, a student might achieve their first solo after around 50 launches. It has more to do with how regularly you fly and how diligently you study. You will get out of gliding what you are prepared to put into it.

“How much does it cost to get my licence?”

  • Again, there is no set price and it is dependent on performance. Typically it might be around $2000 - $3000 to reach your internationally recognised ‘C’ certificate.

"Do you use parachutes?"

  • It's not legally required, but the club owns two parachutes which are typically used by solo pilots flying cross country.

"What are the risks?"

  • The biggest risk in the sport in general appears to be mid air collision, but with some of the most open skies and clearest conditions in the world, that is very much mitigated in Alice Springs. We also have comparitively few gliders here. Collisions usually happen in competition environments.
  • We mitigate all other risks with daily inspections, annual inspections and being up to date with our training. We have professional expertise in many areas across the club from commercial aviation, electronics, IT, trades, media and communications. Rest assured there are many and varied brains behind this operation!
  • Mishaps in aviation usually occur because of "human factors". You might find yourself becoming more interested in your physical and mental health as your journey through aviation continues.

Gliding will teach you all the essential skills you need for any form of aviation; starting with basic flight theory, training in the air and tuition on the ground, it will give you the best kick-start to any aviation career by learning the fundamentals of flight and handling aircraft . Gliding in Central Australia is a year-round sport, and members often make their way to national flying meetings hosted by various clubs around the country to participate in competition and sport flying.

Contact Us:

For all enquiries please email us at alicespringsglidingclub@gmail.com. This triggers phone alerts and is suitable for media enquiries. 

Postal address:
P.O. Box 356, Alice Springs, NT 0871
Club phone at Bond Springs Aerodrome (when operational only):
(08) 8952 6384

 

 


Information for students

How to get started:

  • ​Make contact with the club secretary via email and find out when we're next flying.
  • Join the GFA and the club (see below)
  • Make sure you know when we're operating before you come out by checking the operations guide.

Costs of getting started:

  • GFA membership: $270 approx (GFA is the regulatory body for gliding in Australia, and this annual fee includes flying insurance)
  • ASGC joining fee: $100 (covering learning material and log book)
  • Annual membership to ASGC: $220
  • Social Membership to ASGC: $100 
  • Temporary (one month) ASGC membership TBC
  • Reciprocal membership fee (pilots from other clubs or overseas) TBC

Ad-hoc airstrip users and visiting pilots should make contact with Bond Springs Management Committee: More info here

Flying costs:

  • Winch launch $12.50
  • Air time: $1 per minute
  • Instruction: FREE
That means you can be in the air, behind the controls, learning to fly for a little over $500. 

START TIME 1000: It is club policy that students should arrive at 1000 on operational days if they expect to fly. Please click HERE to check the operations guide. 

 

The typical training syllabus includes:


Flight theory:
- Orientation to gliding; including ground handling and signals, sail plane stability, and flight patterns.
- Learn the primary effects of controls and secondary effects of control inputs
- Aileron and Rudder coordination
- Straight and level flight at various speeds
- Sustained and balanced turns
- Entering into the approach circuit and pre-landing checks
- Slow flight and stalling
- Radio procedures

Gliding techniques
- Launch and release
- Thermal entry and centering techniques
- Crosswind takeoff/landings
- Launch emergencies
- Flying with other gliders
- Rules of the air

After First Solo
- Steep turns & Side slipping
- Thermal sources and selection
- Outlandings
- Meterology and flight planning
- Navigation and airspace
- ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’ certificate qualification


As well as being a competitive sport, with point-to-point competitions held throughout the year, there are also various achievements to aim for as you progress and improve your flying skill, all of which are internationally recognised qualifications:


‘A’ Certificate
Requirements
- Minimum of 5 solo flights
- Satisfactory check flight involving – recognising symptoms of a spin, and correct actions to prevent a spin. Fly an accurate circuit without reference to an altimeter. Correct handling of selected emergencies.
- Pass an oral examination on Basic Aeronautical Knowledge, flight rules and procedures
Allows:
- Flying solo under the observation of an instructor, and local area soaring

‘B’ Certificate
Requirements
- Minimum of 15 solo flights, including one of not less than 30minutes duration.
- Completion of post-solo training syllabus
- Pass an oral examination on Basic Aeronautical Knowledge, flight rules and procedures
Allows:
- Flying solo under the observation of an instructor, and local area soaring
- Mutual flying with another passenger of ‘B’ certificate rating

‘C’ Certificate
Requirements
- Minimum of 20 solo or mutual flights, including two of not less than 60minutes duration.
- Trained and checked in ability to carry out a safe outlanding
- Received a ‘passenger awareness briefing’
- Pass an oral examination on basic navigation, meteorology, airways procedures, outlanding hazards, and SAR requirements
- Demonstrate satisfactory spin entry and recovery.
Allows:
- Cross-country flights
- Carrage of ‘family/friend’ passengers (not for hire or reward)

Silver Badge
This requires:
        -  an endurance flight of at least 5 hours,
        -  a distance flight of at least 50km in a straight line,
        -  a gain of height of at least 1000m (3280').

Gold Badge
This requires:
- an endurance flight of 5 hours, (completed during Silver)
-   a free distance flight of at least 300km,
-   a gain of height of at least 3000m (9843').

Diamond Badge
This requires:
- A free distance flight of at least 500km,
-  A goal flight of at least 300km,
-  A gain of height of at least 5000m

GFA also recognises achievements for flights of distances of 600, 700, 750, 800 & 900 kms

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Photos appearing in this site are courtesy of Bart Thomas and Andrea Johnston.