Gliding News




Youngest Indian to Achieve First Solo on a Glider in Lasham Gliding Club, United Kingdom in 2018

Name: Rucha Ravindra Waikar
Date of Birth: 08th August 2003
Place of Birth: Mumbai
Date of First Solo: 26th Sept 2018
School Name: St. Joseph School, Orlem, Malad West, Mumbai
Class: Xth Std.
Type of Glider Flown: K13 and K21
First Solo flight Flown In: K13 (D)

The Aero Club of India is pleased to announce that Rucha Ravindra Waikar is the youngest Indian to fly a solo and qualify for ACI "A" Gliding Certificate, at an age of 15 years.

Rucha Ravindra Waikar, has been an outgoing child from an early age. By the age of 10 she had learnt swimming, skating, cycling, dancing, arts etc. She had an opportunity to joy-ride in a Glider at Gliding Centre, Hadapsar, Pune. This half hour soaring flight motivated her to learn to fly a glider. When Rucha's parents approached Gliding Centre, Pune (GCP), Mr Shailesh Charbhe, Instructor-in-charge, GCP, suggested that she enroll in the Training Register of the Centre and that as per Indian Regulations, they would start her flying training, as soon as she turns 16 years of age.

They then contacted Mr Sushil Bajpai, Senior Gliding Instructor and Examiner. He suggested they approach Lasham Gliding Club in England, as the eligibility age for flying in UK is 14 years. He guided them with all necessary details of the courses conducted at the Lasham Gliding Club. Rucha secured a place on the intensive gliding courses conducted at Lasham, during April 2018 for two weeks i.e from 09th to 13th and 16th to 20th of April 2018 - during the summer vacation of her school in Mumbai.

The Highlight of Lasham Gliding Club run intensive courses is that they enroll only four trainees per week assigned with two dedicated instructors. This not only allows one trainer with one glider to concentrate on only two trainees at a time, but also saves a lot of time. Mr Mike Birch, was assigned to train Rucha. Unfortunately, the training of the whole of first week got washed out due to the fickle British weather. However, during the following week the weather opened up for Rucha to undertake her first flight with the Instructor on 13th April 2018, and Rucha completed much of her flying lessons with Mr Mike Birch, during this week. At this stage Richa had to return to India as her school was reopening.

In September 2018, during one week vacation for Ganesh Chathurthi, she went back to Lasham to continue her training. On 26th September 2018, Deputy Chief Flight Instructor & Examiner Mr. Jordan Bridge examined Rucha for various flight checks. The seats of the glider were altered for weight and balance for Rucha's first solo. At 17:08 hrs on 26th September 2018 Rucha performed her life's most memorable solo flight on a glider from Lasham airfield. Congratulations from everyone at ACI!

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