Mrs McGonigle (Assistant Headteacher) took 20 excited and very honoured Jack Hunt students on a Gliding trip of a lifetime in June 2018.
On a glorious sunny day in June, Mrs McGonigle was joined by staff colleagues Mr M Fisher (Student Support Officer), Mrs S Cliffe (Teaching Assistant) and Mr J Cooper (Science Teacher) to take 20 students Gliding. As they approached the airfield, the students were incredibly excitable, immediately asking engaging questions upon their arrival.
The students were introduced to their BGA (British Gliding Association) trained pilot, and then given a briefing on how to wear and use a parachute in the event of an emergency. They were shown how to enter the cockpit of the glider and strap safely into their seat before having another briefing on the basic instruments in front of them and how the flight will take place. After some pre-flight checks, the glider was towed into the air by a powerful 'tug plane' along with a helper student holding the wing tip up as the glider started moving, then they let go once the aircraft gathered speed. At an appropriate height, the glider pilot released the tow rope and the two planes peel away from each other. The peaceful, serene and tranquil transition then took place. As there is no engine on the glider, it is very quiet. Students were then able to take photographs of fields and homes below as they glided freely for up to 40 minutes with an instructor in the cockpit behind them.
After the students were happy in their new environment, the pilot demonstrated how the controls work and what effect they had on the glider. The student then had the opportunity to take control of the aircraft, under the watchful eye of the instructor. Depending on how they felt they then had the chance to control most of the rest of the flight, right up until the pilot took control again to land the plane. The views from the glider flight were amazing, and any nervousness which may have been present was soon lost. Mrs McGonigle was thrilled to also be part of the gliding experience.
With the glider safety back on the ground, parachutes were removed and the glider was towed back to the launch-point by the student who was in the glider, ready for the next flight.
All students received a framed certificate, to show all their friends and family their accomplishment and remind themselves of the great time they had on the day. The students were incredible and fully engaged in the day!
None of this would have been possible without the support from Mrs Penny Walkinshaw (Trustee of PKAT), The Air Gliding League, Nicholas White, Kevin Fear, Peter Hardingham, Mike Newton and many others who supported this fantastic opportunity for our students. A huge thank you to the Peterborough and Spalding Gliding Club and Jack Hunt staff who have given up their time freely to engage with our students; we are incredibly grateful. The students were still ‘buzzing’ for weeks and it allowed for our students to really increase confidence and aspirations. We look forward to taking another group of Jack Hunt students next year!
Peterborough and Spalding Gliding Club (PSGC) have an upcoming intensive course which will be run from Monday 6 to Friday 10 August where the students will fly 20 instructional flights. The cost per student for this course is £750 which includes 3 months club membership. Further courses will be run in summer 2019. There may be possibilities for a scholarship for some disadvantaged students, please contact Mrs McGonigle if you are interested in any of these opportunities or want to know more.