Members Stories – Rob Kronenburg

03 Feb 2023

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Gliding has enabled me to fulfill my dream to be a pilot and fly my own aircraft

– Rob Kronenburg, Architect, author and university lecturer

Though my career has had nothing to do with flying I have always been fascinated by aviation, making plastic models as a schoolboy, and then radio-controlled models as an adult. I visited aircraft museums whenever I could and when, in my thirties, I unexpectedly found I had a lump of cash available I spent it on getting my private pilot’s licence. Though I enjoyed the experience of learning to fly light aircraft I found it difficult to keep current as the cost was high and the few hours a year I could manage were usually spent in piloting a flying school Cessna from one local airfield to another and back. Then I found gliding. Gliding provided all the challenges of being a pilot, and more, and because it was so much more affordable, I found I could fly regularly. The bonus was I discovered that rather than just turning up and getting in a rental plane, I had to become part of a club in which you helped operate the flying field, maintain the aircraft, and help run the whole operation – it was so much more involving and enjoyable.

For pleasure pilots like me I believe that gliding is also more fulfilling than flying power, because every flight is a battle to stay aloft that requires skill, knowledge and persistence. Even five minutes in the air can be hugely rewarding when you execute every maneuver well. And then there are the days when conditions are right and you can’t do anything wrong, at one with the machine, soaring like a bird, staying in the air for hours at a time – even, if you are lucky, alongside the buzzards and hawks that you often find at the Long Mynd. I am just at the start of my gliding journey with plenty more challenges to come; longer cross-country flights; expeditions to other clubs; maybe even flying abroad. There are many different aspects of gliding I have yet to experience – what an adventure!