The Grob 109B motor glider, known by the RAF as the Vigilant T1, is used by the Air Cadet Organisation to give basic flying and gliding training to air cadets.
The Vigilant is currently used by 17 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (VGSs), located at various sites around the UK. Their role is to train air cadets in basic flying techniques and to enable them to reach a standard where they are able to fly solo.
Courses available to the air cadets are the gliding induction course, the gliding scholarship course and the advanced gliding training course. The Vigilant T1 aircraft is also used at the RAF Central Gliding School, at Syerston, in Nottinghamshire, where it is used to train the VGS instructors.
The aircraft is built in Germany, but it has been modified to meet the RAF’s training requirements by the inclusion of an additional throttle in the cockpit and an increase in the maximum take-off weight. The aircraft is powered by a Grob 2500E1 horizontally opposed, four-cylinder, air-cooled engine, which provides a direct drive to a Hoffman Ho- V62 R/L160BT variable-pitch, two-bladed propeller. The conventional landing gear, which is non-retractable, comprises two main wheels with fairings, and a tailwheel, which is steered through the rudder pedals. A retrofitted throttle is provided for use by the left-hand seat, giving the student the familiar military configuration of right-hand stick and left-hand throttle arrangement.
The Vigilant TMk1 is a cost-effective, modern aircraft. Its docile handling characteristics, combined with good fuel economy, make it an excellent training aircraft for cadets and instructors alike.