Club History

Norfolk Gliding Club Competition Grid

The Beginning of the Norfolk Gliding Club

The Norfolk Gliding Club was founded in 1959 with 50 members and acquired its first glider with the aid of a loan from the Kimberley Trust. At the time the club paid rent to the Air Ministry for the use of Tibenham Airfield. The launching of gliders was by autotow because of the length and good state of repair of the runways. In 1960 the first single seater glider was purchased and a cadet scheme was initiated together with courses organised by Norfolk CC.

In the 1960s the club’s glider fleet was improved with the purchase of 2 two seater gliders for basic training purposes. A two seater motor glider was also purchased to assist with the training syllabus. All the gliders were purchased with a small amount of grant aid and members’ loans.

In 1972 the launch method was changed to aerotow after the lease and subsequent purchase of 2 tug aeroplanes. As landlord relations had improved the club bought a small portable hangar and a second-hand portable clubhouse.

Club Expansion

In 1985 the club purchased a large proportion if the airfield, and this site security was the catalyst for the further development and expansion of the club by :-

  • Extension of the clubhouse and the installation of mains electricity;
  • Provision of disabled access to the clubhouse and adaption of one two seat glider to allow it to be flown by a disabled person;
  • Increased membership and the provision of a caravan park to widen the club’s catchment area; and
  • Purchase of a second-hand winch to provide cheaper launches and to widen the membership, especially amongst young people.

In 1990 the club purchased most of the remaining land. This second phase of site purchase led to many improvements in the club’s launching facilities and the glider fleet :-

  • In 1991 the club purchased, with the aid of a grant, a new Supacat winch, which is still in regular use;
  • In 1993 the club purchased a second-hand glass fibre two seater glider also with grant aid money for cross training and flying;
  • The club’s first single seater glass fibre glider, a Junior, was purchased new in 1998, but was unfortunately lost in an accident in 2001. A second two seater glass fibre glider was purchased in 2000 with the aid of a grant from the Sport England Lottery Fund;
  • More recently the club has purchased three second-hand single seater glass fibre gliders from clubs in Germany. These purchases were funded by the sale of a K13, the K18 and the insurance claim for the Junior.
  • In 1999/2000 the club rationalised its fleet of tug aeroplanes by the purchase of two second-hand Robin aircraft at a total cost of £85,000, which was funded by loans from members and a bank loan.
  • The motor glider was replaced by an ex. RAF ATC Venture training motor glider, funded by the sale of the previous motor glider and club funds.

Realising that diversification is required to ensure the continuing development of the Club, a decision was taken to construct a powered aircraft hangar which would be rented out to resident powered aircraft. Development of the hangar was finished by the close of 2006 and it is now the home to ten aircraft.