History of the Wolds Gliding Club

In 1969, a group of enthusiastic Bus Drivers and conductors from Leeds, formed the "Leeds City Council Transport Sports and Social Club Gliding Section". (!) Fortunately within a year they changed the name to the thankfully shorter Leeds Gliding Club.

This was only a small band of enthusiasts with just one very old and somewhat decrepit ex-RAF two seat glider and a tatty old winch. As they had no real clout in financial terms they led a largely nomadic life flying at various disused airfields in North and East Yorkshire. They almost went out of existence several times but progress was slow and steady and growth finally began to occur.        

t21 l
A wood and fabric T21 glider, nicknamed "The Barge"
mf airfield s

The airfield (top left) from the industrial estate side

In 1971 the first major development took place with the signing of a secure lease at our present site on the old wartime airfield at Pcklington. This is where the club really began to develop. As many members were now not linked in any way with Leeds Transport and the new site was now in East Yorkshire the name was changed to The Wolds Gliding Club in recognition of its new locale. 

Membership really began to grow and the equipment was gradually upgraded and modernised. Growth throughout the seventies was slow however but generally the Club was perceived in the gliding world as a solid little organisation that one day may go places.

In 1983 a very significant development took place. The members decided that paying out rent continually was a bad idea from the standpoint of loss of money and the lack of long term site security. We therefore applied to the Sports Council for a grant and asked the Landowner if he would sell us the Runways of the old airfield. This he did, and with a £50,000 grant and a very large bank loan the runways became ours.

A great deal of hard work was now needed from the membership to ensure our future financial well being. The Committee and members were unstinting in their efforts to increase the amount of flying and increasing our membership which was vital if we were to ensure our success. Around this time we had a fairly aged fleet of gliders with very old winches but they were inexpensive to run so the need was at the time to pay off the bank loans so improvement would have to wait. We erected a hangar and a small clubhouse all with the muscle of club members and we felt were on our way!

clubhouse mustang s   

Our new clubhouse, with an unusual visitor in the foreground.
          
cwjair1

Our old K7 that was replaced .....
 
649jaxr

...by K21's     

Throughout the eighties however our existence was assured and expansion was rapid. It was not until the early nineties however that things really began to boom. We began a large programme of renewal with the addition of two second hand GRP gliders to the fleet and with the largest capital purchase to date, a new purpose built winch.

At the same time the opportunity to purchase the majority of the rest of the airfield presented itself and although it left us financially stretched it was a chance too good to turn down.

We were now in the situation were we were an undoubtedly large gliding club, with our own land, excellent launching facilities, a comfortable clubhouse but with a fleet of gliders that desperately required replacement if were to move successfully into the new millennium. 

With the advent of funds becoming available via the Sports council Lottery Fund in 1994 we began to plan our requirements for a completely new fleet of gliders. This, along with the application to the Sports Council took us over a year of hard work but the reward was, in the Spring of 1997 we were told that our application for £78,000 for our fleet upgrading project had been successful!

We then went to the Glider Manufacturers, and for the first time in our history ordered new aircraft - three in all - taking our expenditure to over £150,000. Two ASK21's and a Discus were purchased to replace the old wood and fabric K7's that had given us so much service for so long. These new gliders were delivered at the beginning of 1998, leaving us with a completely modern fleet of aircraft that is second to none.

What of the future?

Our development plans are far from over. The new clubhouse is now completed and we are looking at purchasing more land.

Whatever our plans, constant development and growth are our two main watchwords!



Clubhouse Main Entrance     

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Cookie Policy.

I accept cookies from this site

EU Cookie Directive Plugin Information