Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association

Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association
Charitable sporting and recreation organisation
Founded RAF Detling, 1949
Headquarters Headquarters (RAFGSA Centre) - RAF Halton, England and Scotland
Number of locations
8 locations
Area served
All RAF personnel and Armed Forces personnel engaged in Adventurous Trainiing in Gliding
Services Adventure Training and Flying training
Total assets 60+ gliders, 8+ glider tugs and equipment to operate them.
The Slingsby T.21 was one of the first two aircraft owned by the Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association.

The Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association is a British organisation which provides recreational flying in gliders to RAF personnel.


The Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association (RAFGSA) is a voluntary organisation which exists to provide recreational flying to all RAF servicemen and women, in particular those normally employed in ground duties. The RAFGSA Centre is at RAF Halton, employing a full-time staff to provide central organisational, training and workshop facilities. [1] The Joint Services Gliding Centre (JSGC), located at the RAFGSA Chilterns Centre, RAF Halton, is part of the Joint Service Adventurous Training (JSAT) Air Sports organisation and provides training courses for military personnel.


In 1945, the British Air Forces of Occupation (BAFO) in Germany began using captured German gliders to provide recreational flying for RAF personnel. This resulted in a demand for similar facilities in the United Kingdom, and the Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association was founded in 1949. The first aircraft, a Slingsby T.21 and a Prefect, were bought in March 1950 and stationed at RAF Detling. By 1952 27 gliders were being operated at seven clubs around the UK. [2] In October 1963 the RAFGSA Centre was established at RAF Bicester, absorbing the Windrushers Gliding Club which had been formed in January 1956 at RAF Little Rissington, later moving to Bicester. [3] In June 2004 the Centre moved to RAF Halton. [4]


Apart from the RAFGSA Centre at RAF Halton, there are six regional clubs run on a voluntary basis and based at or near RAF stations. Each offers initial training for novices as well as cross-country flying for more advanced pilots. [5]


Approximately 60 gliders were in use in 2010, including the following types:[6]

Six Chipmunk and two Pawnee tugs were also in use.

See also

Gliding competitions
Air Training Corps


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