Want to become a glider pilot?

You know I would not have this blog if I were not an enthusiastic glider pilot. Becoming a glider pilot requires a valuable subset of the skills needed to be a powered pilot. Additionally, you will learn things quite foreign to the “fuel to noise converter” crowd (Which I admit to being a member of too.)

Private pilot requirements

  • You must be at least 16 years of age for the checkride, but can solo at 14.
  • You must be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.
  • You must have passed the required knowledge (written) test within the past 24 calendar months. Note that if you already have a helicopter or airplane private pilot (or better) certificate, you do not need to take the knowledge test.

You must meet the following aeronautical experience requirements:

If you have 40 hours or more logged as a pilot in heavier-than-air aircraft you can do what I did:

  • 3 hours of flight time in a Glider; including
  • 10 solo flights in a Glider in the appropriate areas of operations.
  • 3 training flights in a Glider with an authorized flight instructor in preparation for the practical test within the last 60 days.
  • a logbook endorsement from an authorized flight instructor to take the practical test within the last 60 days.

If you have less than 40 hours logged as a pilot in heavier-than-air aircraft:

  • 10 hours of flight time in a Glider; including
  • 20 flights in a Glider in the appropriate areas of operations.
  • 3 training flights in a Glider with an authorized instructor in preparation for the practical test within the last 60 days.
  • 2 hours of solo flight time in a Glider in the areas of operation; with not less than 10 launches and landings being performed.
  • a logbook endorsement from an authorized flight instructor to take the practical test within the last 60 days.

Commercial Glider Pilot

Do you already have 100 hours of heavier-than-air flight time? Consider a commercial glider certificate as an initial commercial. The written test is required, but the required aeronautical experience is the same as above with 20 solo flights. This is what I did.

Already a commercial pilot? A commercial add-on has the same requirements as above except the 10 solo flights become 20. The PTS standards for commercial glider are almost identical to those for private except for slightly higher standards. If you qualify, take a look.

Lapsed Pilot?

Current FAA interpretation of some rules requires that anyone with an existing certificate have a current flight review before solo. This can be accomplished in whatever you previously flew or if your club or flight school has a glider that meets Light Sport rules (Any gliders besides the SGS 2-33 count?) then you can do a “light sport glider add on” then a flight review. This does require two different instructors, but if you’re training in a qualified glider then the time counts towards earning your certificate anyway.