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Learn To Fly

You’re ready to learn to fly a glider, but you’re not sure exactly where to start. Fortunately, you’re in the right place. At Soaring NV, we can help you earn a glider pilot certificate, or add-on rating to a private pilot certificate.
First, and most importantly, our CFI-Gs (certified flight instructor, glider) have thousands of hours of experience, both in gliding and instructing, and place a premium on safety. The Minden-Tahoe Airport is a fantastic place to learn to fly a glider, but it can be challenging. In addition to their overall experience, our CFI-Gs have been with the business for many years now, and are intimately familiar with our gliders, the surrounding terrain, and the weather patterns in the area. As a unique and added benefit, all our CFI-Gs also have private pilot certificates or higher on the powered side, and all have experience flying tow planes as well. This gives them both a well-balanced and nuanced understanding of flying. (And, if you want to take some aerobatic gliding instruction, we can help you with that as well.)
In addition, our ground crew are well versed in the safe and efficient handling of gliders, including towing them to and from the staging area for launch, and properly hooking them up to the tow plane. And our tow pilots are all seasoned veterans, with years of experience towing gliders. And we have a good working relationship with the glider DPE in the area, and can help you schedule the check ride when the time arrives. Finally, we also have a glider sim in-house, where you can practice certain maneuvers, or get a little stick time if the weather isn’t good for flying. If you’re going to learn to fly a glider with us, you’re going to be learning from the best, in safe conditions.
So let’s answer a few common questions about learning to fly a glider, starting with a quick overview of the basic requirements.
Glider Pilot Certificate Requirements • At least 16 years of age (you can solo in a glider at 15 years old) • Have logged at least 10 hours of flight time in a glider, which must include at least 20 total glider flights • Have 2 hours of solo flight time in a glider • Have passed the FAA written examination • Have passed the flight exam with a FAA Examiner.
Glider Pilot Add-On Rating • Must have logged at least 40 hours of flight time as a powered pilot • Minimum of 3 hours of flight time in a glider, including: ◦ A minimum of 10 solo flights; ◦ A minimum of 3 training flights in preparation for the practical test.
After “…what are the requirements,” the two next most common questions are “how long will it take,” and “how much will it cost?” The true, and mildly frustrating, answer to those questions is that it depends. It depends on how much time you can devote to the training, how quickly you learn, your style of learning, weather, and more. However, there are some broad figures you can keep in mind when it comes to learning to fly a glider.
Glider Pilot Certificate Cost and Timeline
• Cost: $7,000 – $10,000 ◦ Costs involved with learning to fly a glider include instruction, glider rental, tows, ground study material, the written test fee, and the check ride. ◦ The longer it takes, the more it will generally cost as you may lose momentum in your training and need to recover ground. Consistent training is a good way to keep cost down. • Time: 6 weeks – 12 weeks ◦ We say plan on at least six weeks, and that’s if you train regularly, take the written test as soon as you’re ready, and don’t put off your solo flying or scheduling the check ride. ◦ Keep in mind, earning your certificate should take as long as you need it to so that you feel comfortable piloting a glider.
Glider Pilot Add-On Rating Cost and Timeline • Cost: $2,500 – $3,500 ◦ Costs involved with learning to fly a glider include instruction, glider rental, tows, ground study material, and the check ride. There is no written test required for pilots seeking a glider add-on rating. ◦ The longer it takes, the more it will generally cost as you may lose momentum in your training and need to recover ground. Consistent training is a good way to keep cost down. • Time: 2 weeks – 4 weeks ◦ We say plan on at least two weeks, and that’s if you train regularly and don’t put off your solo flying or scheduling the check ride. ◦ Keep in mind, earning your rating should take as long as you need it to so that you feel comfortable piloting a glider.
As we mentioned previously, KMEV (the Minden-Tahoe airport) is a great place to learn to fly a glider. Most days are flyable, with it rarely being necessary to suspend flying for weather. During the primary season, May through September, you can find strong and reliable thermal activity, and during the slower season, October through April, mountain wave shows up more often. The airport has two runways, 34/16 and 30/12, with most powered traffic flying left traffic on 34/16, and most glider flying right traffic using 30/12, though both runways are open for all traffic as wind and weather dictates. Along with consistent radio calls, this helps keep everyone flying safely, and with little interruption.
In addition, 30/12 has a large glider staging area off to the approach end of 30, which allows for safe and efficient ground handling when preparing to soar. KMEV also has an on airport diner if you need some lunch after an intense lesson. As a final note, we also run a powered flying club at the airport as well, meaning you have a great opportunity to pursue your private pilot certificate as well. If you want to learn to fly a glider, or planes, we can help. Call us, 775-782-9595, email us, or contact us through the website, and let’s get you soaring!

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