Who can glide?

Most people can glide, but there are some limitations for age, height and weight and to fly solo you need to be fit enough to drive.

Height and Weight

Size matters to some extent but most people will find that they fit comfortably into most gliders.

If you are unusually short, perhaps less than 5 ft (1.52m) tall, you might find it difficult to reach some of the controls although gliders generally have adjustable backrests and pedals. Being small and light is not normally a problem because gliders have provision for fitting ballast weights to bring you up to the minimum flying weight.

However if you are heavier than about 16 st (224lbs, or 102kg) you are approaching the weight limit for most gliders and you may not be able to fly. (We have scales at the launch point to check your weight).  If you are very tall, 6 ft 4 ins (1.93m) you will find that some gliders do not have enough leg or headroom for you to be comfortable.  But whether any of these limits apply to you is very dependent on your individual shape and the best thing to do if you are unsure is to visit our club and try a glider for size.


The only age limit in gliding is that you must be 14 to go solo. However, that's not to say that you cannot train with an instructor before 14. Indeed, many trainees go solo on their 14th birthday!

As a general rule there isn't much point trying to learn until you are at least 13 years old, as often youngsters get frustrated when they can't progress further. With younger children, there is also a size problem - it is essential that the straps fit securely, and it's also very helpful if you are big enough to reach the rudder pedals!

If you are under 18 years old you need the permission of your parent or guardian.

Please find out more about DSGC Junior gliding and  read our guidance for duty of care of young people.

There is no upper age limit, but fitness and mobility can be limiting factors but please see the medical requirements below.

Fitness and medical requirements

The general rule is that if you are fit enough to drive a car you are fit enough to fly a glider. Before flying solo you are required to provide  a copy of your valid driving licence.  Later on, if you want to carry passengers or become an instructor you will need to meet a slightly more stringent requirement to a Class 2 or LAPL aviation medical.

Like all sports some people are better at gliding than others. This is just one of those things like being naturally good at football or being a born athlete. Don't let this put you off however. There are some things which will make it harder for you to learn, for instance if you are especially nervous or get airsickness, and so some people take longer to learn than others but don't worry - almost everyone gets there in the end.

If you are interested in learning to glide but are unsure in any way about whether it is right for you, then the best thing you can possibly do is contact the club or better still come along and talk to us.