learning to glide in the USA
Glider licenses are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
and in that regard is similar to that issued to power pilots or balloon
pilots. The FAA maintains a list of frequently asked questions for new
pilots and requirements for pilot licensing are included in Part 61 of
the Federal Aviation Regulations. The basic requirements are as follows:
Student pilots may solo at a minimum age of 14 with a student
certificate endorsed for solo flight at the discretion of a FAA-Certified
Flight Instructor for Gliders (CFIG). Generally, 30 to 40 flights with a
CFIG are required to solo. This is roughly equivalent to 10-12 hours of
flight time and is dependent upon the progress of the student.
After solo, student pilots may qualify as a Private Pilot-Glider
Are at least 16 years of
Have logged at least 10 hours of flight time in a glider and that flight
time must include at least 20 total glider flights, and
Have 2 hours of solo flight time in a glider, and
Have passed the FAA written examination; and
Have passed the flight exam with a FAA Examiner.
Commercial Pilots-Glider must be at least 18-years of age, pass a written
FAA examination, hold a Private Pilot license with 25 hours of flight time
in gliders and 100 glider flights as pilot-in-command, or a total of 200
hours of flight time in heavier-than-air aircraft including 20 glider
flights as pilot-in-command, 3 hours or ten flights training in a glider,
and five solo flights in a glider and pass a flight test.
Certified Flight Instructors-Glider
Certified Flight Instructors-Glider must hold a commercial rating, pass a
written and flight test and have an endorsement from a qualified
instructor of aeronautical knowledge and flight of proficiency.
Additional Pilot Rating
Holders of a valid FAA Power plane license with 40 hours as
pilot-in-command need a minimum of 10 solo flights to qualify to take the
glider flight test. No written exam is required to add a glider rating to
a power license. In all cases, refer to the Federal Aviation Regulations
for details on pilot licensing.
Foreign Glider Pilot
Licensing in US
Non-US glider pilots may still receive reciprocal privileges in the United
States. However, the necessary steps for receiving these documents have
changed as a result of the attacks of September 11th. New security
protocols are in place and the processing system has been changed to
include direct verification of home country privileges as well as
submitting the name of the pilot to law enforcement for verification of
Please note: The general process may take up to 60 days, or even longer.
However, closely following the steps indicated below will help reduce the
length of time necessary to complete the process.
Go to the
Federal Aviations Administrationís web site.
When there, scroll down the page to the link that says 'Verification of
Authenticity of Foreign License, Rating, and Medical Certification.'
There you will find complete instructions as well as links to the forms
that must be completed and faxed to the Airman Registry Office in Oklahoma
Follow this link, FSDO, to another Federal Aviation Administration web
site that lists all the available Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO).
You will need to pick an office in which to appear in person for
verification of your identification and foreign airmen documentation. The
FSDO that you pick will be requested on the form that you submit to the
FAA in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
It will be most helpful and less time consuming if you provide the FAA
with complete information on how to contact the organization or government
entity that issued your glider license.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact the
Soaring Society of America
at any time. You may send usa fax, e-mail or call by phone.