Ulster Gliding Centre,
the only gliding facility in Northern Ireland, operated by The Ulster Gliding Club Ltd.
Number NI 006828. Incorporated in N.I. Registered office at
PFS & Partners Ltd.,
16 Main Street,
Limavady, BT49 0EU.


'Glideability' - Access for people with disabilities

The club welcomes people with disabilities and makes every effort to provide trial lessons and full membership on a 'mainstream' basis as for people without disabilities. For those individuals or groups who are unable to take up 'mainstream' membership, the club provides special midweek events for individuals or groups according to demand.

For many years the Ulster Gliding Club has been setting aside many Wednesdays and Fridays during the summer months for flying groups of people with disabilities. Last year more than fifty persons suffering from a wide range of disabilities participated in this scheme and it was most rewarding to observe that many had visited the Club on previous occasions and had returned to sample once again the thrill of modern day gliding. The accessible Visitors' Centre has modern facilities including a kitchen, leisure areas, television, and excellent views across the airfield. New concrete pathways, ramps, and a disabled parking area have been added all of which make a visit to the Club a "must do" activity.

Group flying for those with disabilities will commence in May and continue on many Wednesdays and Fridays to late September. Groups may be of any size up to a maximum of 12 persons. The current standard price for a trial lesson is £80 including three months membership of the club commencing on the date of the first lesson, however, as a result of a charitable donation made to the Club some time ago, it has been possible to set the cost of a flight for those with disabilities at £50. So why not take advantage of this very generous offer? Come and fly with the Ulster Gliding Club this summer and enjoy a bird's eye view of Rathlin Island, see the majestic beauty of the north coast, and maybe even get a glimpse of the Mull of Kintyre.

Accessible glider
The club has been assisted by Sport Northern Ireland Lottery Fund and The Enkalon Foundation to purchase a specially adapted glider that provides equality of access for people who have a disability affecting the lower limbs. The glider is fitted with hand controls to replace the normal foot operated rudder pedals so that the same skill level and progress can be made as for able bodied participants.

The sport is suitable for males and females of any age however design of the two-seat gliders allows a maximum weight of 103 kg / 227 lb./ 16 st. 3 lb. per occupant. Young people are welcome and they gain maximum benefit from a lesson if they are of sufficient stature to be able to reach all of the controls.

Listen to a podcast of a radio feature that was broadcast on Radio Foyle during the formal opening of our new facility for people with disabilities. Hear a wheelchair user describing his flight, live from the cockpit. <click here for podcast - 10 Mb>

For full details and to book a day, contact Jim Weston
Telephone O287O358196, mobile O7525268959,
e-mail jamesweston1#btinternet.com
replace # above with @


Accessible premises

The club's new visitor centre and the hangar have level access for wheelchair users and there is a wheelchair accessible w.c. facility in the new visitors centre. The airfield itself is of short level grass but it is not normally required to have wheelchairs move on the grass.

Help with boarding

An electrically operated hoist is available to assist with entry and exit for wheelchair users and those with mobility problems.

The design of the two-seat gliders allows a maximum weight of 103 kg or 227 lb. or 16 Stone per occupant. Young people are welcome however they should be physically large enough to be able to reach the controls of the glider in order to gain maximum benefit from a lesson.



Rhonda Richardson, Fit 4 U Project, Armagh and Dungannon Health Action Zone explains:

Physically, the activity of directing the glider was good for the user’s coordination and mentally, the confidence gained from this feeling of control promoted a sense of achievement. Controlling the glider also helped concentration and required focus. As noted by many users, gliding was also a very relaxing experience, the silence of the flight and marvelous views and freedom produced a calming feeling. For those who were blind the sensation and feeling of gliding were even more apparent.”

User comments recorded by people with disabilities who have sampled gliding at Bellarena :-

"Fantastic experience. Thank you very much. The best twenty-five minutes of my life."

"Brilliant experience, great freedom on my own without my wheelchair."

"Instructors are very patient and explain everything to you. Nothing is too much for them to help you. The group I was with, all had different disabilities."

"The staff were helpful, understanding and patient."

"Great day, everyone very friendly."

"It made me feel I could do anything."

"For the first time in seven years, I actually forgot that I had a disability."


<Click for 312KB version> Low res. - suits dial-up

<Click for 1.2MB version> High res. - suits broadband

Notes - The Ulster Gliding Club is a member of Aerobility (Formerly The British Disabled Flying Association)