The UK's best free flying club was formed back in the mid 70's. Rick Wilson obtained permission to use a hill that looked down on the Thames and with a few fellow enthusiasts called themselves the 'Civil Service Hang Gliding Club', which later became the Thames Valley Hang Gliding Club. More sites were obtained and Combe Gibbet, now regarded as probably the best Northerly XC site in the south of England, was first negotiated around this time.
As hang gliding became more popular membership grew and by the late 1970's the club boasted about 100 members. Volplane, the club newsletter started being produced on a regular basis early in the 80's and was voted by the BHGA (British Hang Gliding Association) as the best in the country.
In the late 80's paragliders started appearing on the hills. Mike Hibbit could often be seen at Combe Gibbet, being ridiculed by his hang gliding buddies, as he introduced a new way of flying, which so many of his contemporaries said would never catch on.
Over the years many famous names in both hang gliding and paragliding have been TVHGC members: Judy Leden MBE, World Hang Gliding and British Paragliding Champion: Tony Hughes, European Hang Gliding Champion: Hugh Miller, first World Air Games Paragliding Champion: Ken Messenger, Darren Arkwright and many others.
TVHGC is a friendly hang gliding and paragliding club with sites on the Marlborough and Berkshire Downs. To fly within the TVHGC club you must be a member of the BHPA or IPPI card holder with the required insurance cover.
Our club of 400 members has 10 flying sites within the glourious rolling hills of the Wilshire downs and Hampshire and Oxfordshire. These are in land flying sites which make excellent sites to paraglide and hand glide for both soaring and cross country flying. We have some of the UK's premier cross country sites that are regularly breaking records for distance flying. Many of these sites are flown all year round.
Our members are the most friendly pilots and very active will be seen regularly flying our sites. The club is blessed to have a great mix of newly qualified pilots through to very experienced pilots and many pilots who complete within local, european and world competitions. We have some of the best pilots in the world who achive record breaking flights from our local sites.
The club has an active social scene with regular monthly pub meetups and presentations. There is online forums and Facebook social media used for communication purposes amoungst our members.
With the great mix of experience within the club there is a coaching scheme which provides support to all pilots from new to old. This coaching is provided via forums, social evenings, on the hill side.
Every first Wednesday of the month you'll find us at the Swan Inn, Inkpen near Hungerford at the bottom of Combe Gibbet from about 7.30pm, wittering about flying, flying and more flying. The club is very friendly and we do our best to welcome new pilots of any ability. Joining the club will make arriving at new sites less daunting and mean that you will probably do more flying.
If your looking to join this excellent and well known BHPA club in England all we ask is you are a BHPA member or IPPI qualified and have the required insurance and abide by our club rules.
We hope to meet you very soon!