Gliding is the cheapest way to learn to fly.


For a pre-solo member there are three main costs:

  • Annual membership
  • Launch Fee: Charged for getting into the air (this includes the first 10 minutes of flight for flights in CGC owned planes).
  • Airtime Fee: Charged for every minute you fly.

The number and length of flights you have will depend on the weather, how busy it is that day, and what stage you are in your training.

Annual Membership

There are two kinds of CUGC (annual) memberships:

  • Student Membership: £90
  • Staff/Alumni Membership: £610. This is the annual membership fee for the Cambridge Gliding Centre and you will be a full member there. You will, of course, be able to participate in CUGC expeditions and other activities. For more information visit

Flying Costs: Student Members

As a CUGC member you pay 60% of CGC flying fees. Winch launches are 90% of the CGC fee, but also include 10 minutes of free flying. Aerotows are charged at CGC rates. CGC’s flying fees can be found on their website. Moreover, you have access to our own glider CU (ASW 19b, single seater) at £9 per hour.

You thus currently pay £9.90 for a winch launch and 10 minutes’ flying in a CGC two-seater and £31.25 for a 2,000 ft AGL aerotow.

Flying Costs: Staff/Alumni Members

As a full CGC member, their flying fees apply. Moreover, you have access to our own glider CU (ASW 19b, single seater) at £20 per hour (capped at 3 hours, so you pay at most £60 on a cross-country flight).

Long term costs

If you are thinking of taking gliding up as a hobby, you are probably interested in how much it going to cost in the long term, we usually think of going solo as costing about the same as the Varsity ski trip.

The cost of going solo depends on your level of commitment and students can fly at a range of budgets. Below is an example of a “typical” student who aims to get from complete beginner to solo. This is not the cheapest option, but the most common.

Item Cost Quantity Total
Membership £90.00 1 £90.00
Winch Flights (10 min each with instructor) £9.90 50 £495.00
Aerotow Flights (10 min with instructor) £31.25 1 £31.25
Miscellaneous £20.00 1 £20.00
Total £636.25

Coming twice a month will allow you to progress to solo reasonably quickly.

All hail the Weather Brain!