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Glider Pilots

Experienced Pilots

Soaring from Minden-Tahoe Airport

For years, glider pilots from all over the world have traveled to Minden, Nevada to experience some of the most outstanding soaring conditions available. Climb rates exceeding 1,500 feet per minute are often experienced in both thermal and wave lift.

The beautiful Sierra-Nevada Mountains, Yosemite National Park, and the White and Inyo Mountain ranges are some of the incredible places you can visit while soaring from SoaringNV at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

Whether in your own glider, or in one of our well equipped rentals, the time spent at SoaringNV will almost certainly be among the highlights of your soaring career.


The outstanding soaring conditions here can also be quite challenging. In order to safely fly in this environment many licensed pilots require some extra training, especially if they are low-time or not current.

For the safety of our customers and our equipment, SoaringNV has certain requirements that must be met before a pilot is allowed to receive tows, rent a glider, fly in wave, or fly cross-country in a SoaringNV glider.


To receive a tow from SoaringNV all pilots must receive an area checkout from a SoaringNV instructor. This is to insure that all glider pilots are aware of the policies, procedures, traffic, and unique weather conditions associated with this soaring site. While not required, it is highly recommended that pilots visiting the Minden-Tahoe airport for the first time with their own gliders take an orientation flight with a SoaringNV instructor.


Before renting a SoaringNV glider, you must provide proof of renter’s insurance, and receive a checkout from a SoaringNV instructor in the specific glider you wish to rent. Before the checkout, you should become familiar with the flight manual for the glider in which you will be checking out, and perform weight and balance calculations. The flight manuals, weight and balance and checkout requirement information are available here. The checkout flight(s) will consist of maneuvers from the FAA Practical Test Guide, and must be performed to Practical Test standards. For single-seat gliders, checkout flights will be taken in a two-place glider of similar performance and flight handling characteristics. If it has been more than 6 months since you rented a SoaringNV glider, you may be required to repeat the glider checkout.


Flying in conditions conducive to the formation of mountain wave present extra challenges to a glider pilot. Before flying SoaringNV equipment in wave, you must receive a Wave Checkout from a SoaringNV instructor, consisting of both ground and flight training. It is recommended that pilots flying their own gliders also get a Wave Checkout if they are not familiar, or have not flown in wave conditions.


Through a Letter of Agreement between the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center, the Northern California Terminal Radar Approach Control, and the Pacific Soaring Council, SoaringNV is fortunate to have three “wave windows” which can be activated when wave conditions allow flights above 18,000’. It is vital that all gliders flying in the wave windows strictly follow the procedures defined in this Letter of Agreement. Therefore, before flying in the wave window, pilots must successfully complete a Wave Window Checkout with a SoaringNV instructor, consisting of ground training and a written test.


The Minden area provides access to some of the best cross-country soaring conditions in the world. At SoaringNV we are happy to rent out our gliders so that pilots can fly cross-country for fun or to achieve their FAI badges. However, due to the increased risk associated with this type of flying, we require a higher level of experience, skill, knowledge, judgment, and preparation from pilots who plan to fly our gliders cross-country.

To be eligible to fly a SoaringNV glider out of glide distance of the Minden-Tahoe airport, you must meet the SSA Bronze Badge, and FAI Silver Duration Badge requirements, and complete a Cross-Country Checkout with a SoaringNV instructor. When flying cross-country, you must always stay within a conservative glide distance of an airport.


Before you can rent a SoaringNV glider, you will need insurance coverage. This is often called renter’s insurance. Your renter’s insurance covers you for the costs that you would otherwise incur after an incident, such as the cost of repairs and lost revenue while the glider is being repaired. Insurance consist of hull coverage and liability. We ask for at least $30,000 in hull coverage. The level of liability coverage you choose is up to you. If you don’t currently have this coverage, you can apply online or by fax, and it will go through in about 24 hours through AOPA or Avemco. Typical cost is less than $500 per year.

 Insurance Contacts


If you have, or are applying for, a U.S. Pilot’s Certificate based on a foreign license, keep in mind that you are required to meet the FAA’s English Language Skills Standards required by 14 CFR Part 61 as outlined in AC No: 60-28. If you do not meet these requirements, you will not be able to complete the Flight Review that is required before you can exercise the privileges of your U.S. certificate.

All pilots must perform at Level 4 or higher on the ICOA English Proficiency scale.

If you have any concerns at all that you may not meet these requirements, we strongly suggest that you undergo training/testing in your home country before planning your visit to SoaringNV.

To get your US glider pilots license based on your foreign license requires approval of the FAA. Click here for detailed application information.


In cooperation with the Minden-Tahoe Airport management, SoaringNV has produced an Operations Memo that help provide a safe, efficient, and friendly environment for glider pilots, students, and ride customers. All pilots are expected to abide by these SOPs, airport rules, and the FARs. SoaringNV reserves the right to refuse services to pilots who do not follow these procedures.

 Standard Operating Procedures


Here are some links to local accommodations and other ‘hot spots’

Carson Valley Inn – 775-782-9711

1627 Hwy 395 N, Minden, NV 89423

Holiday Inn Express – 775-782-7500

1659 State Route 88 Minden , Nevada 89423

Historian Inn – 1-877-783-9910

1427 Hwy 395, North Gardnerville, NV 89410

Westerner – 775-782-3602

1353 Hwy 395 Gardnerville, NV 89410

Carson Valley Visitors Authority – 775-782-8145


Tow Prices

DescriptionPrice for 1
Per Minute Charge (from when tow plane takes off to landing)$8.64
Oxygen Fill (prices vary by bottle size)$35 - 70