Training Organisation – Learning to Fly!

Glider pilot training

Glider pilot training is delivered at gliding clubs by gliding instructors operating under the supervision and management of the clubs Chief Flying Instructor (CFI).  The BGA employs a training standards manager, who is responsible for setting overall instructing standards, and utilises highly qualified instructor coaches to train and certify new instructors on BGA approved instructor courses. The gliding clubs, their instructors, and the supporting organisation are collectively known as the ‘BGA training organisation’.

Solo – a milestone towards becoming a qualified pilot!

The first major milestone during glider pilot training is the first solo flight – that’s a great achievement!

Bronze & Cross Country Endorsements – becoming a qualified glider pilot

Further training then fully prepares the newly solo pilot for the Bronze endorsement and Cross Country endorsement, which include practical and theoretical knowledge assessments. Self-study and club-based lectures help with the Bronze theoretical knowledge (refer to the Bronze study guide). Successful completion of these Bronze and Cross Country endorsements results in qualification as a Glider Pilot.

Learn more on the Bronze and Cross Country endorsement webpage

Pilot Progress Pathway

You can view the BGA Pilot Progress Pathway guidance here.


The qualifying requirements at each stage of pilot training through the Solo, Bronze and other endorsements are described in the publication ‘BGA Gliding Certificate and Endorsements’. But you don’t need to know all this detail to learn to fly! If you want to have a go or have decided you want to learn to fly, your gliding club will direct you every step of the way.

Flight Training Syllabus and Record Card

Pilot flight training at clubs is guided by a syllabus and is structured to support the individual needs of the trainee pilot.

Training is recorded on a simple training record card that is reviewed each time the trainee pilot takes a lesson. Your gliding club should supply a training record card. If not, just ask your instructor.

Airfield/Launch Point Ground Training

Anyone who is new to gliding will find that the airfield and launch point is a strange environment where its easy to make a mistake if not shown how things work. For example, how to help launch gliders. The BGA offers a ground training record card that clubs can modify as required. The record card is a generic document. Additional items can be added as required. If your club doesn’t supply a ground training record card, just ask.

Theoretical knowledge

Most trainee pilots learn faster by reading up on some theory between flying lessons. This is where a trainee pilot can help him or herself through the training course.

The BGA publishes a series of ‘Gliding Basics’ leaflets that provide elementary theory aimed at pre-solo trainee pilots.

For a more in depth view, the BGA recommends the publication ‘Passenger to Pilot‘, which includes easy to absorb text and diagrams and was written by the author of the BGA instructors manual.

As a pilot progresses in training beyond solo, the BGA recommended publication is ‘Bronze and Beyond‘, which was written by and is periodically updated by an experienced gliding instructor.

For those who are looking for a deeper understanding of the theory, we recommend the BGA publication, ‘Gliding’

The FAA Gliding Handbook Section 10 is an excellent, fully illustrated guide to Thermal, Ridge and Wave soaring.

The FFVP publication ‘Mountain Flying Safety’ is a must-read for all mountain soaring pilots.

Support for student pilots where English is a second language

Student pilots whose first language is not English often have an excellent command of conversational English, but they may misunderstand the technical terms used by instructors.

This publication is a helpful guide for instructors and student pilots.

Instructor Training

Instructors are crucially important to gliding. Experienced glider pilots are encouraged to approach their CFI to discuss instructor training opportunities.

The instructor requirements are detailed here.

There is lots more information about becoming an instructor available here.

NPPL SLMG Training

NPPL SLMG training is not classed as ‘aerial work’ or ‘commercial operations’ providing it is taking place within a not for profit club environment. Any club that has concerns can contact the BGA office for guidance.

NPPL SLMG course details are available on the NPPL website.

NPPL/PPL Theoretical Knowledge Examination

Members of BGA clubs who have completed the required ground study and are deemed ready by their CFI to sit the CAA PPL(A) theoretical knowledge exams can apply to sit the exams either with a local examiner or at the BGA office.

Please note that an exam sitting at the BGA is by appointment only. There is no fee.

Bookings can be made by contacting

EASA Requirements

The UK has exempted sailplanes from EASA Flight Crew Licensing (FCL) regulations. Gliding training is carried out under BGA requirements. SLMG training is carried out under NPPL requirements. It is expected that the situation will remain unchanged until at least 2020.

Meanwhile, the BGA is committed to supporting pilots who choose to hold an EASA SPL, LAPL(S), as well as those with an FI(S) certificate and sailplane examiner certificate. A Declared Training Organisation has been formed to support clubs with delivering EASA FCL training requirements as they appear.

EASA FCL Self-Launch Privilege Training

Any pilot who holds an SPL/LAPL(S) can add self-launch privileges following the required level of self-launch training. BGA guidance is available here.

Declared Training Organisation

EASA regulates all recreational flight training in EASA aircraft. The minimum level of oversight is provided through a Declared Training Organisation (DTO). You can read more about the DTO rules here.

The BGA has declared itself as a DTO and has developed training programmes that include;

  • Sailplane towing rating course
  • TMG extension course – for SPL
  • Flight Instructor (Sailplanes) refresher seminar
  • Examiner (Sailplanes) refresher seminar

Further training courses will be added when required by regulation.

Sailplane Towing Course

Clubs that intend to deliver the EASA Part-FCL Sailplane Towing Rating course should submit a completed BGA DTO training request form to the BGA office.

BGA DTO club training request form

BGA DTO Sailplane Towing course programme

Please note that the ANO Article 141 and ORS 1271 permit the use of non-EASA aircraft for sailplane towing rating training.

Application to the CAA for a Sailplane Towing Rating – please submit the application direct to the CAA complete with payment. The BGA DTO reference is GBR.DTO-0007.

TMG Extension Course

This TMG Extension course is only applicable to SPL holders (note, a LAPL(S) holder is deemed to hold an SPL).

Clubs that intend to deliver the EASA Part-FCL TMG Extension course should submit a completed BGA DTO training request form to the BGA office.

BGA DTO club training request form.

BGA DTO SPL  TMG Extension course programme

Please note that the ANO Article 141 and ORS 1271 permit the use of non-EASA aircraft for TMG extension training.

Application to the CAA for a TMG extension to a Sailplane Pilot Licence – please submit the application to the BGA complete with payment. The BGA DTO reference is GBR.DTO-0007.

FI(S) TMG Course

This FI(S) TMG course is only applicable to SPL/LAPL(S) holders with TMG and FI(S) privileges.

Clubs that intend to deliver the EASA Part-FCL TMG Extension course should submit a completed BGA DTO training request form to the BGA office.

BGA DTO club training request form.

BGA DTO FI(S) TMG course programme – pending CAA approval

FI(S) and Sailplane Examiner Refresher Seminars

FI(S) and Examiner refresher seminars may only be delivered by approved coaches. Seminar dates are published here.


Please refer to the Pilot Training and Licencing FAQs

Other Training Resources

Laws and Rules

Guidance for pilots

Guidance for instructors

Guidance for examiners

Guidance for motorglider operators