Frequently Asked Questions

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Glider Ride Frequently Asked Questions

Is it a Glider or a Sailplane?

The terms gilder and sailplane are often interchanged. We think of a "glider" as having a glide ration of less than 20:1. This means for every foot that it goes down, it goes 20 feet forward.

How do gliders get into the air?

The sailplane is towed into the air by a powered aircraft behind a 200 foot rope. When the pilot of the glider reaches the altitude he/she wants, they release the tow rope. The tow rope returns behind the tow plane. Usually, the glider releases in lift and works up higher. If there is no lift, the glider glides back to the airport.

What happens if the wind quits?

As long as there is air and gravity the sailplane can safely fly! Actually, by using their long, graceful wings, the sailplane typically descends at approximately 100 to 300 feet every minute. By utilizing the weather the glider can stay up for very long periods of time and fly great distances, all without using gas or oil, sailplanes use solar power. Even though it is called a sailplane, it does not have a sail.

How high will I go?

By using the weather, sailplanes have flown over 1,500 miles and climbed to almost 50,000 feet.

Can I fly the plane?

Yes! If you are interested in flying solo, we can assist you, and provide you with the necessary training to pilot the glider yourself. If you merely want to experience the sensation of soaring, and do not want to invest the time that is required to learn to fly solo, you can enjoy one of our glider rides. Your instructor may allow you to assist in piloting the aircraft. Just indicate that you are interested in assisting!

How long will I be up there?

Our rides are approximately 20, 30, or 40 minutes long. Flights over 5 hours are not uncommon.

How old do you have to be?

For the rides, there is no minimum age. However, if a child is too young he/she will not appreciate it. We find that 4 or 5 years is when the ride becomes more appreciated. To solo, one must be 14 years old.

What is involved in learning to solo?

To solo means to fly by yourself. You must be at least 14 years old and pass a brief written test to solo a glider. We can begin training at the age of 12. Although these are the only age limitations imposed on the sport, most Centers will require that you be at least the legal age of consent. A physical exam is not required, but you must have no medical problem that would prevent safe operation of the glider. Before you solo, your instructor must certify that you have learned everything necessary for safe flight and landing.

What is a private glider license?

A Private Glider license, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), allows you to carry passengers and act as pilot in command without being under the close supervision of an instructor. You must be at least 16 years old, pass a comprehensive written test and take and oral and flight test with a certified FAA examiner.

When can I fly?

We are open seven days a week, year round, with our hours varying slightly depending on the season. Lessons are scheduled at your convenience and are conducted one-on-one with your instructor at your own pace.

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