How it Works at 621VGS

The Winch

So without an engine, how does a glider get airborne?

There are several ways to get a glider airborne, at 621 VGS we use a Winch. The Munster Van Gelder winch has 6 steel cables attached to a powerful diesel engine. A cable is attached to the bottom of the glider and the slack is then slowly taken out of the cable, when the cable is tight the winch then accelerates the glider to between 55 and 65 Knots. As the glider accelerates the wings start to produce lift and like a kite, the glider climbs. Launches usually get the aircraft to a height of between 1000 and 2000 feet in less than a minute.

The Winch

We use a tractor to tow the winch to the correct location on the airfield. We also use the tractor to tow the cables from the winch to the launch point.

We have four landrovers that we use to tow the aircraft back to the launch point, transport cadets, and various other duties. On course weeks we borrow a minibus from RAF Lyneham to transport the cadets.

The Winch

The landrovers are also used to tow our Launch Point caravan. The launch point caravan has two lights signal the stages of the launch to the winch driver, the glass section gives the duty instructor a good view of the whole operation and the rear section provides shelter when the weather is not its best.

A member of staff will keep a log of all the days flights. The most important item in the caravan is probably still the kettle!

The Winch

If we need to transport our aircraft anywhere, then we can easily remove the wings and tail plane to allow the aircraft to fit into a trailer.

This is normally used to transport the glider back to the engineers at RAF Syerston or to display events.