Some notes from the CGC Bronze course

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Revision as of 00:56, 14 March 2019 by TW466 (talk | contribs) (Range: Fix units in formula.)

This page started with the notes User:TW466 took at the 2019 CGC Bronze Theory course. They are not the syllabus or a textbook; if you want to take the exam, read Bronze and Beyond[1] or attend the course.

Feel free to edit this page with any improvements or additions.



  • > 50 solos or 20 solos + 10h including solo flying
  • flying test + oral test
  • written exam
  • tests within 24 months

Written exam

  • 10 sections
  • 12 questions each
  • pass mark 75% / section

X/C endorsement

soaring flights of 1h and 2h (one each), supervised

See also

  • BGA "Laws and Rules"[2]
  • CAA "Skyway Code"[3]


See also
"Bronze Confuser" on CGC website – not necessarily correct!

Radio licence

  1. physical radio licensed by OfCom (previously CAA)
    • also covers handheld backup used in cockpit
    • different licence for ground stations
  2. FRTOL (Flight RadioTelephony Operator's Licence)
    required to communicate with
    ATC, FIS, A/G
    not required to communicate with
    • other aircraft
    • gliding-specific channels
    • emergency channel
    • operating ground stations (except ATC, A/G)


  • signal ≈ line-of-sight
Height Range
1000 ft 33 nm
2000 ft 75 nm

Generally, \[ \frac{\text{horizon distance}}{\text{nm}} \approx \sqrt{\frac{\text{altitude}}{\text{ft}}} \]


  • standard: CAP413 Radiotelephony Manual
  • at gliding sites, make traffic calls, e.g.

    GRL Traffic
    Glider ___
    Downwind R/H
    Rwy 04
    Gear Fixed  (ref:gearfixed)
    The "Gear Fixed" call is GRL-specific.
  • use "hundred" and "thousand" for altitudes only (except QNH 1000!)

Call signs

prefix "Glider"
gliding airfields
suffix "Base"
  • e.g. "Gransden Lodge Base" – not "Radio"
suffix "Mobile"
  • e.g. car towing glider DM is "DM Mobile"

Gliding channels

  • 8.33 kHz channels are not frequencies
    • documents saying e.g. "129.9 MHz" are frequencies, not channels
  • gliding-specific channels do not require a FRTOL (table 1)
Channel Use
129.905 ground retrieval, shared with other air sports
129.980 situational awareness; (Common Glider Field Frequency[4])
130.105 situational awareness; competition start/finish
130.130 cross-country training; competition start/finish
130.405 cloud flying; other situational awareness
131.280 CGC own frequency (not on map, but is on frequency reference card)
135.480 2.8 (not gliding-specific)

130.405 (cloud flying) annoucements

on entering cloud
call sign, altitude (QNH), position
inside cloud
altitude at 500 ft intervals
on leaving cloud
clear of cloud


Re-tune to 121.5 if time (London Centre / Distress and Diversion, telephone: 01489 612691).

Mayday relay

  • note all Mayday details when heard
  • retransmit on 121.5
  • maintain radio silence


ATZ transit
"request zone transit"
"request join"

Cambridge Letter of Agreement

  • within 4–5 nm + extra sectors
  • position reports required

SafetyCom (135.480)

  • within 10 nm and 2000 ft of "unattended" airfields
  • callsign e.g. "Borton Traffic"

Signal square and light signals

  • see Skyway Code
  • light signals in slides
  • international standard (Chicago Convention)

Human Factors and Performance

IMSAFE checklist
I Illness
M Medication (e.g. antihistamines sedate!)
S Stress
A Alcohol / drugs
F Fatigue, flying currency
E Eating (target: 50g/h carbs)


  • effective scanning: organised, short, regular spacing
  • by default: eyes focus at 1–2m
  • no flying with a cold – damage to eardrums/sinuses
  • cloud flying: trust instruments over senses/body signals
    • in a turn, inner-ear semicircular canals "reset", it seems straight and level after a while even though it isn't
  • motion sickness: mismatch between visual signals and signals from semicircular canals
  • [math]\approx \frac{1}{200}[/math] people overly sensitive to negative G (babies especially)
    • babies learn eventually and get used to it, but very sensitive early on
    • people go head back, stick forward to back and lock up – dangerous!

Respiration, oxygen and altitude

  • hyperventilation: too little CO2!
    • light-headed, reduced consciousness
    • confused with hypoxia – similar symptoms
    • technically, excess oxygen
  • oxygen makes "dismantling" glucose for energy efficient
    • aerobic respiration – oxygen as final e acceptor
  • blood oxygen: ≥ 90% of haemoglobin with oxygen is healthy
    • at 8000m: expect ≈ 60%
  • oxygen OK until ≈ 10000 ft, hypoxia above
    • hard to recognise – look at pressure gauge etc
    • pulse oximeter?
  • BGA mountain guide: use O2 by 3800m / 12000 ft
    • generally: set D5 (5000 ft floor)
    • exam: above 10000 ft, use oxygen
  • CO2: occupies haemoglobin, 5× more likely than oxygen
    • undetectable except with specific detector
  • nitrogen insoluble in blood, only soluble by overpressure
    • get "the bends" from rapid decompression, e.g. in wave flying
    • rare, but happens


  • metabolise 1 unit/h
  • small amount: wait 8h before flying


  • insidious, also on cool days
  • on cold days, blood goes into central core of body, making it seem like there's too much fluid ⇒ drink more than seemingly needed!

Air Law

  • UK law ≈ EU law ≈ ICAO framework
  • EASA regulation through manufacturers for G-reg aircraft
    • exceptions: old BGA system ("Annex II / Annex I aircraft")
  • SERA: Standard European Rules of the Air
    • variations in the UK, e.g. class D airspace VMC minima[5]
  • need and EASA licence and medical for G-registered aircraft after 2020-04-08
  • "PART-gliding" → "Sailplane Rule Book" – unfinished EASA regs
  • on the exam, assume:
    • gliders are EASA/G-registered
    • pilots are flying on BGA Bronze / XC endorsement
    • SERA + UK amendments + BGA Laws & Rules apply
  • CAP393: ANO & RotA for non-EASA powered aircraft


  • "SERA, ANO and RotA – Consolidation"[6]
  • Skyway Code[7] (mainly power)
  • Bronze and Beyond,[8] edition ≥ 20
  • BGA Laws & Rules[9]
    • "operating regulations"
    • "managing flying risk"


authoritative data on danger areas, wave windows, etc. (sometimes useful)
flight safety, technology, legislation, etc.

Before every flight, must check (EASA & Bronze rules):

  • weather
  • NOTAMs
  • aircraft airworthiness
  • documents including ARC

Right of way

  • approaching head-on: both turn right
  • overtake on the right, except gliders may overtake each other on either side
  • ridge soaring rules: see below
  • "on the right, in the right", but:
    • hierarchy: balloons > gliders > airships > aerotow combinations > powered aircraft
    • "impaired maneuverability" has right of way (e.g. emergency)
    • always pass behind, not over/under/in front
  • no formation flying except by prior agreement


  • glider with ridge on the right has the right of way and doesn't alter course
  • if you have the ridge on your left, fly further out
  • usually turn away from ridge, overtake very carefully