Stratford Junior Pilot Ben Edkins joins the British Juniors Team!

Stratford on Avon Gliding Club are delighted to announce that one of our junior pilots, Ben Edkins, has been selected to join the British Junior Gliding Team!

The British Junior Gliding Team is a prestigious team of young glider pilots who have been selected from gliding clubs across the UK for their exceptional talent and commitment to the sport. Ben’s selection for the team is testament to his hard work and dedication to gliding over the past few years.

Ben was first introduced to gliding at Stratford on Avon Gliding Club by his father Chris, also a pilot, when he was just 12 years old. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength. After flying solo on his 14th Birthday he has gone on to become one of the most promising junior glider pilots in the country, competing successfully in regional and national-level competitions.

British Junior Gliding Team 2023

As a valued member of Stratford on Avon Gliding Club, Ben’s determination to succeed and passion for the sport have been evident since day one.

Ben is one of five young pilots from across the UK who have been selected for the British team competing at the European Championships in Denmark this year. The British Junior Gliding Team provides an outstanding opportunity for young pilots to develop their skills and experience, and Ben is clearly well-deserving of this honour.

We wish Ben the best of luck for his upcoming competitions and for all his future gliding endeavours. We are sure he will make the most of this fantastic opportunity and do the UK proud.

Congratulations once again to Ben!

Junior Pilots Move Through The Club Fleet

Recently, some of our Junior glider pilots have progressed on to new single-seat aircraft in the club’s fleet.

Junior pilot Tom recently moved into the club’s Standard Astir CS-77 G-FECO, a capable cross-country single-seater. Junior pilots Ed and Kai have also qualified to fly this glider.

Junior pilot Elliott who only went solo in mid April, today moved on to his first single-seat glider. Stratford’s SZD 51-1 Junior G-CHDB. Senior instructor Mike C briefed and authorised Elliott’s first flight on type.

Sunday 29/4/18 – A New Experience

A waterlogged airfield sparks a mini-expedition

Saturday brought a lot of steady drizzle to Snitterfield and by Sunday morning the airfield had a good soaking.

A north-easterly wind required flying from the far end so duty instructors Baz and Steve P disappeared off to the west in the cable retrieve car. Coming back some 25 minutes later, Steve had a liberal coating of mud up his back and it transpired they’d had to abandon the car and walk to even reach the far end of the field. There was no way we were going to be able to operate the airfield.

Still there were tasks to be done. The main one being getting the club’s SZD Junior into to the workshop so the wheel-brake could be examined. Naturally it was at the back of the hangar so we assembled a team to unpack five aircraft and repack four. The Junior was derigged into the workshop.

One of our members had their birthday and brought in some excellent home-made cakes which began to disappear pretty quickly! πŸ˜‰

A bit before midday, we had word from one of our members that Bidford, the next gliding club down the road had enough dry areas that they were going to be operating.

Undeterred from flying by our own waterlogged field, a plan was quickly formed. Some of our members had never experienced aerotow launching so we would organise an on-the-spot mini club expedition down the road to get some flying done.

Several cars set off for the 30 minute drive over to Bidford. As our 10 pilot mini-expedition arrived, the tug and two K13s were on their way to the 06 launchpoint.

Two of our junior glider pilots, Jenna and Alistair had no hands-on experience of aerotow launching so they were sat down with one of Bidford’s instructors who gave them the long-brief on aerotow flying.


When you’ve exclusively learned to fly gliders on winch launches, aerotowing provides new challenges, not least flying level in close proximity to the ground at the start of the tow.

Stratford pilot Chris is also a tug pilot at Bidford and he towed both Jenna and Alistair’s flights to 2,000′ with the Bellanca Scout tug plane. Flying from Bidford also gave them the opportunity to practice planning a circuit into a field other than their home airfield and flying around Bidford airfield which can be difficult to spot from the air when you are unfamiliar with it’s layout.

Stratford junior pilot Ben who has experience of launching on aerotow and is understood to be close to flying aerotows solo also took a training launch.

Later on, Stratford’s CFI Steve B flew with Stratford’s membership secretary Dan for what was the longest flight of the day at 20 minutes.

While sailplane launches at Snittefield are all on the winch, Stratford pilots often need to aerotow during expeditions and competitions so frequent practice can be necessary.

At the end of flying, we helped pack the gliders and tug away then dutifully drove the 30 minutes back to the Snitterfield Arms for our expedition debrief πŸ™‚

Thanks to the members and instructors of Bidford Gliding & Flying Club for being so accommodating of our members and letting our mini-expedition get some flying done!

Junior pilot Ben converts onto the K21

Well done to 14 year old Ben Edkins who converted on Stratford Gliding Club’s K21 G-CGAG on Sunday.

Ben Converts Onto The K21

Ben about to launch in G-CGAG

Ben originally went solo in one of Stratford’s K13 gliders on his 14th birthday in October 2016 and the K21 is his first composite glider. The two-seat K21 acts as a stepping stone to Stratford Gliding Club’s all-composite single seater fleet.

Ben, one of the UK’s youngest solo pilots, had to demonstrate his flying ability and airmanship in the K21 flying with senior instructor Barry K before being cleared for his first solo on type.

Junior glider pilots are able to solo at the age of 14 under EASA regulations but must be 16 before flying solo cross-country. In the mean time, Ben will be able to work towards further single-seat type conversions and his BGA Bronze badge / LAPL(S) licence.