Welcome to the wonderful sport of soaring. Learning how to fly gliders will likely be one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling experiences of your life. It may even change your life altogether. However, learning how to fly gliders takes time, money and patience. Because each of us have a different amount of these items available, each person will learn at a different pace than the next. Some people make it to the point of solo in as few as 20 flights or as many as 100 flights. The average is 30-50 flights. It all depends on the individual and how they go about their training. As a general rule, lessons should be as often as financially and otherwise possible. 2-3 lessons per trip to the airport when you are first beginning is highly recommended as is flying every weekend (weather permitting). The longer the time span between lessons, the slower your progress will be. These are not a requirement by any means but you will most likely realize yourself learning more quickly if you fly often.Glider Instruction is performed by FAA Certificated flight instructors in our Schweitzer SGS 2-33 and Grob Twin Astir (for advanced instruction), and is provided on a first come first serve basis.
This is a great guide for student pilots from the FAA. We highly recommend that you read it. You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print this guide.
FAA Student Pilot Guide
Before you begin your training, please purchase the following items:
You will need these prior to your first lesson. These items are available for purchase through the club. However, you can also purchase these from the Soaring Society of America (SSA) and most pilot shops.
Joy of Soaring (Book)
Soaring Flight Manual (Book)
Glider Pilot Log Book (If you do not currently have a log book)
Other items required for later stage training:
Most of these items are not available through the club!
Student Pilot's License (Needed prior to solo - available from the local FAA Flight Standards District Office, FSDO)
Latest Airman's Information Manual (AIM)/Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs)
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Part 830 (usually included as part of AIM/FAR)
Practical Test Standards (Private Glider Pilot, Commercial Glider Pilot, Flight Instructor - Glider)
New York Sectional Chart
Selecting an Instructor
Currently the club has 7 FAA certified flight instructors. Club instructors are volunteers who are scheduled to be at the field during weekends only. Each weekend day there is one instructor of the day assigned. This person will vary from day to day. Usually there are several other instructors on the field each day but this is not a guarantee. Some of the instructors are also tow pilots so you may see certain people at the airport more than you do others. Selecting an instructor is a personal decision. The club has no rules on this process. You are free to fly with the instructor of the day or you can select one instructor for part of or your whole training process. The choice is yours. However, one of the draw backs of flying with one instructor is that you may find it difficult to schedule lessons as often as you like. Every instructor has their own opinion on this topic. But most agree that you should fly with more than one person to find the right one for you. You may find that personalities play a large role in your choice. Teaching style and technique will be another. One thing is for certain, if you pick one instructor and for whatever reason decide later that you are not comfortable flying with them, you have many other instructors to choose from. Don't be shy, we are all here to help and no one will be offended if you want to fly with another instructor.
Homework to do before your first lesson:
- Read chapters 2-4 of Joy of Soaring.
What to bring with you on each lesson:
Something to write with
Blank paper or note book
Joy of Soaring
Soaring Flight Manual
Glider Pilot Log Book (or other pilot log book)