How to dress (and equip) like a Pilot
With winter fast approaching, its time to check up on the clothes and equipment that you need for gliding.
I should start with a disclaimer, this post is meant to be comprehensive so if you new to gliding don’t feel you need to rush out and buy all these things before you can start. People who are new to gliding shouldn’t need to buy any specialist clothing or equipment, but over time you may find that getting these things becomes helpful.
For the winter you definitely shoes that are suitable for being out on a potentially muddy field. Walking boots are good, but people may find that they have difficulty controlling the rudder pedals due to the size of the boots. In the summer, something light to keep for feet cool is good. Avoid sandals and slip on shoes that may fall off in flight.
I have a pare of gore-tex trainers which are both water proof, and breathable, making them ideal for all weather.
Warm thick socks for winter, thin socks for summer
In winter I often wear Long Johns under my trousers. For the trousers themselves,Rohan Hot Bags are water/wind proof on the outside and fleece lined for warmth on the inside. I have two pairs of different thickness and its not unusual to wear the Long Johns and the thicker trousers together. If your just starting, avoid jeans which are terrible when wet, and whatever is warmest. Waterproof if possible so that you can kneel on the ground without getting damp knees.
In summer shorts are fine, I often opt for very light trousers, because they protect your legs from the sun and are a little warmer in the evening as the day starts to cool down, without being too hot in the glider.
For a lot of the year I wear rugby tops or similar, the secret to success it layers. A T-shirt underneath or a thermal vest, and then a jumper on top.
In summer a T-shirt is often sufficient.
A water and wind proof coat is essential for being out on the airfield for prolonged periods of time, If is participially cold a fleece or hoody under the coat is also good.
In summer you don’t need a coat, but I often bring a fleece or hoody for the colder evenings.
Hat / Scalf
In winter a hat is a good idea to keep warm, while in summer it is essential to protect you from the sun. In both cases it is important that you don’t obscure your vision. Most glider pilots wear soaring hats in the summer, which are not stylish but are very practical. Scarf is also a good idea in winter, or if you’re James Shaw, at all times.
In winter gloves are a must. I have two pairs of gloves I uses, one waterproof for winch driving and doing messy jobs. And one pair which are convertible between mittens and fingerless gloves. Fingerless glovers for inside the cockpit and mittens for outside.
Essential for summer and sometimes winter flying.
Gliding Bag – It is helpful to keep all your gliding kit in a bag, so you can just grap and go
Current Airspace Map – Essential one you have a cross country endorsement, before then get an old one of someone
Marker Pens – For writing on your map
Small bottle of deodorant – for cleaning your map (hair spray also works)
Log Book – Essential for everybody
Copy of Laws & Rules – Because you are meant to know them.
Camelbak – For drinking while flying
Freezer Bags – for peeing on cross country flight (boys only)
Cross Country Deceleration Forms – for declaring cross country flight