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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means


Soar through the skies in an unpowered plane as you get a new perspective on things around you.

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What to expect

Gliding uses a small plane to take advantage of the same natural air currents used by birds to soar across the open countryside. These planes typically don’t have engines, or cut the engine off once in the air. Gliders can be towed into the air behind another powered plane or using a long cable and a winch and once up they can fly almost silently through the air offering breath taking views and an exciting adventure like no other.

What you’ll learn

Gliding is a great chance to try something brand new, you might even get a chance to control the plane! It’s also a great chance to be courageous as you strap in and head to the skies. Gliding can make some people feel a little nervous so making sure you are helping and supporting anyone who is a little worried is a great way to make sure everyone has an enjoyable experience too.

Fun facts

  • There are different sorts of rising air currents used by glider pilots. Often you’ll see gliders circling in ‘thermals’, columns of rising air created when the sun warms particular patches on the ground.
  • Glider pilots also use movements in the air caused by the wind being deflected upwards when it blows onto hills or mountains. In 2018, a specially designed glider was flown in rising air to over 76,000 feet, twice as high as a commercial jet!

Handy hints

  • Keeping busy – Gilders can only take one passenger so there’s lots of waiting around to be done. Consider running other activities at the same time or take something to keep everyone entertained.
  • How’s the weather up there – The perfect gliding day is strong sunshine with a flew clouds, but there’s no shade up in the glider so make sure everyone has plenty of sun cream.


You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
Preparing for your flying activities:

Always follow rule 9.10.7 Gliding.

This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
  • Acceptable instructor qualifications
    • Pilot or flying instructor - as outlined in POR rule 9.10.9
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
  • The centre/instructor should hold one of these:
    • Pilot or flying instructor - as outlined in POR rule 9.10.9
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.


Access to airfields

Air Activities Safeguarding Guidance

Air Activities FAQ's


While gliding might be an exciting adventure for some, it could cause lots of worry and nervousness for others. Try and take this opportunity to offer support and encouragement to anyone feeling a little nervous and see what you can learn from helping out.

Some people like lots of loud support to help them overcome their fears, while others might need some space and a little time. Gliding is a great way to learn how those around you can manage and overcome any nervousness, and remembering this will help you to be a more supportive member of the group in the future.

  • Gliding can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Many outdoor centres have facilities that cater for people with additional needs and experienced instructors to help everyone achieve their goals. Get in touch with your local provider to chat through the needs of people in your group – make sure you give them plenty of notice.
  • Many gliding clubs have adapted gliders to allow them to be controlled in different ways to suit different people. More information around accessible gliding can be found through the British Gilding Association.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Gliding is a great way to get experience up in the skies. To learn for about aircraft and how they work try out the Air Activities Staged Activity Badges.

Gliding is a thrilling adventure suitable for lots of people, just remember to involve everyone in the decision to try out gliding to make sure it is suitable and exciting for everyone involved.