Lossiemouth airman who refuses to remain on the ground

Lossiemouth airman Craig is gliding to success

A MORAY AIRMAN is proving that serving the RAF on the ground is no reason to be restricted to terra-firma in his off-duty time.

SAC Craig Allan proved that point earlier this year when he gained his bronze gliding badge – the equivalent of a private pilot’s licence.  Now Craig is well on his way to the ultimate for glider pilots, a gold badge – thanks to some good weather conditions around the Easterton home of the Fulmar Gliding Club.

The club, which serves RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks, has witnessed the ‘mountain wave’ effect of late, producing good soaring conditions for a number of gliders launched by air-tow in the hope of longer and more enjoyable flights.

Craig, who is a Flight Operations Assistant on II (Army Co-operation) Squadron, aimed for his silver height qualification – awarded after a height gain of 1000m, a cross-country distance of 50km and flight endurance of five hours is achieved.

These can be gained on three different flights, so the airman sought to achieve the height part of that badge – but in fact things went somewhat better than expected. Just three minutes after launching he found a good lift at 1700ft and then climbed to an altitude of over 13,000ft above sea level – a gain of 11,210ft, or 3416m.

That exceeded the gold badge requirement of 3000m in a flight that lasted over two hours – but did not go too far from the airfield. Craig now aims to complete the endurance and distance sections of the gold badge distance in the near future.

A spokesman for the Fulmar Gliding Club said: “The Club is open to all service and civilian employees at RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks.

“It is an economical way of flying for fun and there are bursaries available to assist Junior Ranks with the costs of going solo or achieving the next level in gliding qualification.

“Just come along to Easterton any Saturday or Sunday and introduce yourself to the duty instructor.”