Oxford University Gliding Club
|Base Airfield||Bicester Airfield|
|Membership||105 student members (2016/17)|
The Oxford University Gliding Club (OUGC) is the gliding club of Oxford University, flying from the historic Bicester Airfield. Membership is open to students and staff from both the University of Oxford as well as Oxford Brookes University. The club currently operates a fleet of two gliders.
The club was founded as part of the Oxford University and City Gliding Club in December 1937, and the illustrious German pilot Robert Kronfeld was its first chief flying instructor (CFI). The club started flying from Cumnor Meadow in the spring of 1938, but the site is now lost, lying at the bottom of Farmoor Reservoir. Later that year, the club flew from a site between Aston Rowant and Lewknor at the Chiltern ridge. At the outbreak of war in 1939, all sport flying stopped in the UK, but the club reformed in 1951 at Kidlington before moving to RAF Weston on the Green in 1956.
In the mid-1970s Oxford University Gliding Club and Oxford (City) Gliding Club split. The Oxford Gliding Club stayed at RAF Weston on the Green, while OUGC moved to Bicester Airfield (sharing facilities with the RAFGSA and their gliding operation). At this time, the club had just one glider, a Schleicher Ka 7 from the German manufacturer Alexander Schleicher, obtained thanks to the generosity of a local dentist, Peter Pratelli. This wood and fabric glider was soon supplemented by a Grob G103 Twin II glass fibre two-seater, EGN, again via a loan from Pratelli, and the Ka 7 eventually moved on to another club.
In early January 1986 the club acquired FEF, a then ten-year-old Grob Astir CS. The Twin II was sold to Enstone Eagles Gliding Club, and departed the airfield on 27 October 1990. It was replaced with the lower performance but easier to fly ASK 21, GAM. Like all the club's gliders, it was paid for by using the membership fees collected from student members to pay off any loans received.
In the early 2000s, the club's fleet was expanded via the purchase of a K8, HYX. This proved to be a very popular glider for early solo pilots. However, inspections in 2015 revealed glue failures and the restoration was beyond the club's means. The glider was therefore sold and the fleet was back to two gliders. Later in 2015, GAM was severely damaged and written-off in a field landing accident. The club bought ESB, another ASK 21 in 2016 to replace GAM.
Competitions and Expeditions
The club also regularly participates in the Inter-unis competition and organises expeditions to other gliding sites in the UK such as Portmoak Airfield in Scotland, Talgarth in Wales and Eden Soaring in the Lake District.
|Alexander-Schleicher ASK21||ESB||Two-seat trainer glider|
|Grob Astir CS||FEF||Single seat performance glider|
Members can also use the gliders belonging to the Windrushers Gliding Club, the civilian gliding club that took over Bicester Airfield when the RAF left in 2004. Their fleet consists of 5 ASK13s, a Grob Twin III, two K8s, and two more Astir CS.