BGA Operational Regulations

Updated after the 2nd March 2021 AGM.

Nothing in BGA Operational Regulations is intended to conflict with the ANO or any other legal requirements, the compliance with which is the paramount duty of all pilots.

1. Membership – Compliance with BGA Regulations. All clubs on admission to membership agree to accept and comply with the BGA regulations and, if found to be in breach, may face disciplinary action, including expulsion, as deemed appropriate by the Executive Committee.

2. Regulations. All club local regulations, in addition to the BGA Operational Regulations but not in place of or contrary to them, must be posted in a visible place in the club premises.

3. Site Visits. All clubs shall allow site visits by BGA officials for safety and regulatory checks on their operations.

4. Logging Club Flying. All clubs shall keep such logs and flight-time sheets as required to compile an accurate record of the club’s flying operations.

5. Airspace Information. Clubs must ensure that pilots have access to current navigational information concerning temporary hazards and permanent changes.

6. Insurance. Aircraft and gliders operating from BGA clubs are required to comply with the Law and BGA Operating Regulations. The Civil Aviation (Insurance) Regulations 2005 requires aircraft and gliders to be covered by third party insurance, full details of which are in the regulation. All gliders shall be covered by insurance that shall be extended to cover the legal liability of the pilot while flying or otherwise operating the aircraft and the legal liability of the individual members of the insured club / syndicate to each other. In the case of two seat gliders, the minimum combined liability insurance shall be £2,000,000.

7. Membership – Requirement. A person may not be flown in an aircraft owned or operated by a BGA club unless they become a member of that club.

8. Thermal Circling Direction. A glider joining another in a thermal shall circle in the same direction as that established by the first.

9. Parachutes. No glider shall enter cloud unless all its occupants are wearing parachutes and have been instructed in their use.

10. Cloud Flying – Proximity to Gliding Site. No glider shall enter cloud within a radius of 5 nautical miles of a gliding site, except from at least 200 feet from below the lowest part of the cloud unless the pilot has announced that intention by radio.

11. Reporting Defects/Heavy Landings. Pilots must report defects or heavy landings to an instructor or a qualified aircraft inspector before the glider is flown again.

12. Qualification to Fly Cross Country. The pilot in charge of a glider may not deliberately undertake a cross-country flight unless they hold the BGA Cross Country endorsement (individual pilots trained prior to the implementation of the endorsement, or pilots from outside the UK who hold an equivalent qualification may be exempted) or an SPL and carry current charts marked clearly with the controlled and regulated airspace.

13. Repair or Adjustment – first flight. Any BGA club aircraft or glider that has been subject to adjustment or repair since its last flight, must be first flown by a pilot approved by the CFI or his deputy for that purpose.

14. Medical. Anyone who flies in an aircraft operated at a BGA club must comply with the relevant law and acceptable medical standards as described and updated from time to time in the BGA publication ‘Pilot Medical Requirements’.

15. Chief Flying Instructor: Requirement. A club which accepts a member without a BGA Bronze endorsement or SPL and or performs instruction at any stage from pre-solo to BGA Bronze badge or SPL inclusive must have a Chief Flying Instructor (CFI).

16. Chief Flying Instructor: Qualification and Responsibility. To hold the position of CFI, the individual must hold a BGA Full rating with a BGA CFI endorsement, or hold an SFCL Flight Instructor (Sailplanes) certificate with BGA CFI endorsement. Subject to any applicable law or statutory regulation the CFI, whose decisions shall be final, shall have responsibility for all matters concerning the gliding club flying operations on or from the club site.

17. Clubs that do not perform instruction. Clubs which do not have a CFI must appoint a Senior Pilot who can provide guidance to other club pilots, and to whom club operational flying matters may be addressed.

18. Passenger Carrying. Pilots carrying another person in a glider must be at least 16 years of age, hold the Bronze and Cross-Country endorsements or an SPL and be authorised to carry passengers by the CFI. Where no CFI is appointed, that authority may be given by the club chairman. Introductory flights paid for by the passenger may only be carried out at BGA club sites by instructors or by pilots holding a BGA Introductory Flight Pilot endorsement.

Pilots carrying out passenger or introductory flights must be in current practice and be familiar with the type of glider and method of launch.

19. Instruction – Minimum Qualification. Gliding instruction may only be given by instructors holding a current BGA Full, Assistant or Basic Instructor rating, or SFCL Flight Instructor (Sailplane) certificate. A Basic Instructor may only carry out instructional flights under the supervision of an instructor with a higher rating.

20. Supervision of Training and Passenger Flights. An instructor holding a BGA Full or Assistant rating, or an SFCL Flight Instructor (Sailplanes) certificate, shall exercise appropriate supervision during training and paying passenger flying, including solo flying by unqualified pilots, ie those who do not hold the BGA Bronze and Cross-Country endorsements or an SPL. Instructors must be trained for the additional responsibilities.

21. Instruction. All flying instruction shall be given in accordance with the BGA regulations and syllabus.

22. Logging Personal Flying. All glider pilots are required to keep an adequate record of their flying to prove that they meet, as appropriate, requirements for training and solo flying and for the renewal of ratings.

23. Aerobatics Training. Training in full aerobatics involving sustained inverted flying and rolling may be given only in a dual-control two-seater by an instructor holding an Aerobatics Instructor Rating. All gliders used for aerobatics training (excluding spinning) must be fitted with a serviceable accelerometer, visible to the instructor.

24. Launching Equipment Inspection. All equipment used for launching, including the winch guillotine, must be inspected each day before use.

25. Weak Links – Cable Launching. A weak link, not exceeding the breaking load approved by the body responsible for the glider’s certification shall be used on every winch or auto-tow launch.

26. Launching Rings. The glider end of all launching cables must be fitted with linked rings designed to fit the release mechanism of the glider. Distorted or cracked rings may not be used.

27. Launching Precautions. The launching cable must not be attached to the glider until the pilot is ready to be launched, and the launching signals must not commence until the projected take-off path is clear.

28. Marking the Glider End of a Launching Cable. To ensure that the winch or car driver can see clearly when the cable is released, the glider end of the cable must be made visible by a flag, parachute or similar device. A suitable length of rope or cable must be inserted between the parachute and the release linked rings.

29. Precautions While Working on a Winch Cable. While work is being carried out on the cable, it should not be possible for the engine to turn the cable drum, nor should any cable return mechanism be used, unless additional safety measures are in place to prevent injury.

30. Guillotines. All winches must be fitted with cable or rope cutting guillotines.

31. Minimum Joint Aerotow Experience. The sum of the tows made by the tug pilot and the glider pilot, in their respective capacities, shall not be less than six.

32. Tug Pilot Responsibility. It is the responsibility of the tug pilot to ensure that the glider has released.

33. Weak Links – Aerotow. An aerotow rope or weak link, if fitted, shall have a strength not exceeding the lesser of the maximum breaking load determined by the body responsible for certification of the tug aircraft and the maximum breaking load approved by the body responsible for certification of the glider.

34. Launch Signalling.

A reliable and unambiguous signalling system shall be used for all launches.

Signal – Aerotow Release. The tug pilot orders the glider pilot to release immediately by rocking the tug laterally.

Signal – Unable to Release on Aerotow. The glider pilot either communicates the problem to the tug pilot by radio, or alternatively signals ‘unable to release’ by flying out to the left side of the tug as far as is practicable and rocking the glider laterally.

Signal – Excessive Drag on Aerotow. The tug pilot either communicates the problem to the glider pilot by radio, or alternatively signals that the glider is producing excessive drag (for example the glider airbrakes are open, or the drogue parachute is deployed) by waggling the rudder.

35. Airworthiness. All aircraft flying at BGA Club sites shall comply with the Air Navigation Order airworthiness requirements. Non-Part 21 gliders shall hold a BGA C of A, or equivalent document for visiting aircraft from abroad.

36. Identification Markings. All gliders must have BGA approved identification markings displayed on each side of the fin and/or rudder in a substantially vertical plane and as large as practicable. If this is not possible, they may be placed on the fuselage.

37. Maintenance Records. Detail of continuing airworthiness, modification, inspection, maintenance and repair shall be recorded in the glider documentation without delay.

38. Inspection Before Flight. All gliders operated from a BGA club site shall be inspected before flying on each day by a pilot who has been approved to carry out a daily inspection, who must sign to confirm that they have completed the daily inspection including positive control check and that the glider is serviceable. (Updated 21 Feb 2024)

39. Reporting Accident & Incidents. All accidents and all incidents must be reported on the form available from the BGA within one month of the occurrence. If the accident is of sufficient severity to be reported to the AAIB, the BGA must be informed of its occurrence within 24 hours.