How To Become A Glider Pilot

For those who are passionate about gliding, they may want to take it a step further and become a glider pilot.

Understanding the Basics

Just having an interest in gliders is not enough to entice one into becoming a glider pilot. Understanding what knowledge is required and the commitment to safety is the first priority. Gliders are often referred to as sailplanes. They do not possess an engine so this places this type of plane into the unpowered category. The manoeuvring of this plan is dependent on the currents in the air.

Learning to Stay Airborne

One of the first things that the learner pilot will have to master is being able to keep the plane up in the air. There are three options for this which are:

  • Thermals
  • Ridge lift
  • Mountain (Lee waves)

Licence Requirements

The requirements for flying a glider will depend on where this is taking place. In the UK for example there was no regulation that dictated that a licence was needed for this type of flying. That changed in 2018 when the requirement was set for pilots to have a Light Aircraft Pilot Licence. Those who meet the requirements will be given a glider pilot certificate.

Getting Certified

This means having to take the proper lessons in order to meet the criteria for the certificate. There are many different training facilities that offer this throughout the UK. With there being options it is important to do the proper research into which training facility is offering the best training at the best prices. Also how easy it is to access.

The Commitment

Learning to fly a glider is not something that happens overnight. There are many well-recognized pilots that will confirm this. It takes several lessons along with practice. On average it is said it can take about 50 to 100 flights before the learner is able to ride solo. It is suggested that students stay consistent with their training. It is recommended that students plan on flying at least once per week to allow them to perfect their skills.