The general progression in training is shown below. The steps can be rearranged somewhat depending on your priorities (i.e., cross-country which requires xc instruction versus carrying passengers which requires a license).

Flight training through solo

Before you can solo, you need a student license. You should expect to have some ground schooling as well as flight training in preparation for your solo.  CSA requires you to complete the Pre-Solo Quiz before you solo and review it with your Instructor. You will need a Student Pilot Licence as well. Try the following sources for student licenses:

When you are ready, your instructor can then sign you off to fly solo.  Until you get a Private Pilot's license you will have to fly under the supervision of an Instructor.

Study for the FAA Written Test

This will usually involve a bit of ground school as you need an Instructor sign-off before taking the written test. The written test is computer based and you will see your results immediately. To arrange the computer-based tests, contact:

The test will cost around $100.  Colorado Contrails at the Fort Collins-Loveland Airport (970-203-9980) is a certified LaserGrade Testing center.  Poudre Aviation, Inc. at the Greeley-Weld County Airport (970-530-0503) is a certified CATS testing center.

Solo Practice and Instruction for the FAA Flight Test

When flying with a student license you will need to be signed-off to continue solo flight every 90 days.  You will also have to get a new student pilot's license every two years. To take the flight test, you need a sign-off from an Instructor, evidence of passing the FAA written test, and a logbook showing the required solo flight time. Expect to get some intensive ground and flight instruction before your flight test. To get an idea of what will happen during the flight test, consult the Private Glider Pilot Practical Test Standards.

The flight test is administered by an FAA Designated Examiner who can test glider pilots. Here are current local examiners:

Expect the fligt test to cost around $350.

Checkout in Other Gliders

If your interest is in flying cross-country, get checked out in a single-place glider. If you want to take passengers as soon as you have your license, consider getting checked out in the G-103. Club rules require an instructor endorsement before flying any club glider as pilot in command (PIC).

Fly for Badges

Flying for badges will help you develop your soaring skills.  Instructors and other members of CSA who have more experience are usually very willing to help you advance.  Just talk to them and show your interest.

The following badges are awarded by an SSA Instructor:

The following badges are awarded by the Soaring Society of America on behalf of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale - FAI

Fly in Competitions

Believe it or not, sailplane competition flying is a great way to learn and hone your cross-country skills, even if you really aren't a competitive type.  Contests have all the facilities set up to help support you in your adventure for a concentrated period of time.  Plus, a lot of passionate sailplane pilots who will be very willing to help and advise you.  SSA sanctioned competitions require some silver or gold badge legs to be held to ensure you have some experience soaring cross-country.

Most of all, have fun!!


Updated 05/22/2014