Some notes from the CGC Bronze course

From CUGC Wiki

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

Principles of Flight

Lift, drag and glide performance

Lift and drag

For the glider to remain in (almost) level flight, it needs to produce a force opposite to the weight. This force is provided by the wings as Lift is generated when air flows across them. Lift by itself is not possible, Drag is also produced along with it. There are many theories about how lift is actually generated on the wings.

Control and stability

Glider instruments