Gliding generally has a low impact on the environment and gliding clubs in general enjoy a good relationship with the local community. The Kent Gliding Club has been operating from the current airfield at Squids Gate for many years and we appreciate the ongoing good relationship we have with our immediate and wider neighbours. These notes provide some insight into what happens at the gliding club which may be helpful.
Gliders themselves are essentially silent in flight. Apart from a faint noise as they pass through the air they have no engines or power sources and rely on using air currents to keep them airborne. A lot of club flying is done within 5 miles of the airfield but gliders can and do fly much further away with flights of up to 500 km or more.
To get airborne, gliders are either winched into the air using a long cable or towed into the air behind a power plane.
We use a powerful winch which is usually sited at one end of the airfield or the other depending on wind direction. Although a powerful machine, the winch is fitted with a silencer and cannot generally be heard much beyond the airfield boundary.
We operate tug aircraft to tow gliders into the sky and these aircraft do generate some noise. We take steps to minimise any disturbance to our local communities. The aircraft are fitted with special propellers that are designed to be quieter and our pilots vary the routes they take out of and into the airfield to avoid built up areas and residential locations.
Power aircraft movements are generally restricted at the club site and although occasionally other powered aircraft will fly in and out this is only on a limited number of occasions in the year. There are a few motor gliders based at the club. These are aircraft which are designed to glide efficiently but have an engine to enable self launch or powered sustained flight if needed. Generally they have low powered engines and produce limited noise. Again the pilots try and avoid flying low over built up areas or houses where possible.
The club operates primarily at weekends and on Wednesdays although flying can occur on others days especially in the summer. We ask our members to consider local residents at all times including when driving to and from the club.
We welcome visitors and we would be happy to give any local resident a tour of the club and the operation. Please e mail or call the club to fix an appointment and one of the Board or a member will meet you and show you round.
Thank you for your ongoing support and we look forward to meeting you.