Norfolk Gliding Club wants to fly high

FOR years this workhorse of a glider has been repeatedly dragged into the air and steered back to earth by student pilots.

FOR years this workhorse of a glider has been repeatedly dragged into the air and steered back to earth by student pilots.

Among them were Ben Fogle, RAF fighter pilots and even commercial jumbo-jet captains.

But all this has taken its toll and Norfolk Gliding Club is launching an appeal for cash to keep it in the air.

To raise the �10,000 needed to restore the AS K21 training glider, the club is selling nude calendars featuring shots of several aircraft belonging to the club alongside female models in risqu� poses. (See page 8).

Eric Ratcliffe, sales and marketing officer at the airfield, said that a Women's Institute charity calendar was the inspiration behind the idea.

Membership at the club has been falling in recent years, which has had a large impact on the organisation's budget.

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'Like all clubs we suffer from a demographic time bomb, and we're in desperate need of funds to resurrect one of our gliders,' he said.

It is hoped that proceeds from the sale of the �9.99 calendars will cover the �10,000 needed to restore the club's ageing Schleicher AS K21 glider.

The two-seat glider is one of the club's workhorse training aircraft, which sees between 300 and 400 of flight each year.

Before coming to Norfolk the aircraft was used for several years by another club in Dunstable.

Graham Ashworth, club chairman, said that the aircraft, which cost �60,000 new, has been with the club for ten years and was 'getting on a bit'.

'Being a glider on a training site it gets far more work than the average two-seater,' he said.

Mr Ashworth's first flight in a glider was in 1961, and he has been a member of the club ever since.

'If I could relive any moment of my life over and over again, it would be that one,' he said.

The aircraft will be sent to a company either in the UK or in Latvia for restoration, and can be shipped in a container thanks to its removable wings.

As well as the AS K21, the club has another six aircraft, two of which are motorised.

For more information on Norfolk Gliding Club, or to buy a calendar, visit or call 01379 677207.

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