Glider Flight Training

Glider Flight Training Starts Here

The Wright brothers first flew in 1903, and began flying on a regular basis about 1911. World War One saw the first organized flight training, but most of those pilots were expendable and many did not survive.  After the war, some pilots became crop dusters and stunt pilots, and gave flight instruction.  So if we use the year 1920 as the beginning of commercial flight schools, it has only been 85 to 90 years since flight training began.  Beginning with our soaring club in 1964 and the opening of Ridge Soaring Gliderport in 1975, we have been providing glider flight training for about half of this time.

Our soaring club had the benefit of a very good flight instructor from Germany, Peter Kummer. When we began our commercial flight school, we recognized the need and desirability of adopting the flight standards used in the USA.

We ordered flight training manuals that were promoted by the SSA at the time, and required our students to read these texts.  Almost immediately we discovered serious problems with published techniques and practices which were counter to those used by professionals.

After consideration of numerous moral, legal and liability issues, we sought advice of experts, and invited notable instructors such as Derek Piggott and Wolfgang Langeweische to Ridge Soaring Gliderport to help us develop what is now recognized as one of the best glider flight training programs.

In the early years, we developed a series of instructional handouts, which were required reading for our students. These handouts were then combined to form the foundation of the first edition of our popular glider flight training manual, “Glider Basics from First Flight to Solo”. Subsequent textbooks include “After Solo an Advanced Glider Flight Training Manual”, and “Transition to Gliders” a flight training manual for power pilots”.

We also realized no glider flight instructor manual existed, so we corresponded with a number of nationally and internationally recognized glider flight instructors.  With their good help, we developed our “Glider Flight Instructor Manual”, which has been upgraded several times. It includes lesson plans for ab-initio as well as power transition pilots, and explains how to teach each flying lesson.

This combination of flight training materials has proven to be very effective in producing pilots who have demonstrated superior piloting skills, and who have amassed an outstanding safety record. In fact, we have trained glider pilots for over 43 years with very few minor incidents, and no fatalities until recently when a seizure befell a very experienced transition pilot.

If you look carefully at the flight training materials we use in our school, you will discover we do nothing unusual. We simply comply with the FAA regulations by using the criterion implied in those regulations and flight test standards.

We have traveled to many countries of the world, and provided training to NASA, the Air Force Academy and several airline training centers. We trained several FAA inspectors. The FAA used our school to develop the first glider Practical Test Standards, and we wrote the glider judgment training manual, “Accident Prevention Manual for Glider Pilots”, at the request of the FAA in Washington DC.

By necessity we have produced training materials, and continue to provide them at a discount to glider clubs and commercial operations.
If you, your club or FBO have an interest in standardizing your flight training with proven, easy to understand training materials, please consider the following items:


Glider Flight training Manual
Transition to Gliders a Flight Training Manual for Power Pilots
Glider Flight Instructor Manual

Accident Prevention Manual for Glider Pilots
Accident Prevention Manual for Glider Flight Instructors
Private Glider Pilot Practical Test Standards
Commercial Glider Pilot Practical Test Standards
The Glider Flying Handbook (New, revised edition for 2012 also as an e-book from

Sectional Charts for Glider Pilots

Preventing Glider Accidents
Preventing Launching Accidents
Preventing Landing Accidents
Preventing Stall Accidents

Special Flight Training Courses

At Ridge Soaring Gliderport

Our beginning flight training course is designed to teach new student pilots (no previous flying experience) to fly in a “total immersion” environment.

Each day begins with morning classroom instruction. Flight training follows. 

Full-time, professional flight instructors provide personal instruction.

The student has two options:

  1. – Five days of training,four nights lodging, 15 flights $1,950
  2. – Seven days of training, six nights lodging, 25 flights $3,250

The 25-flight syllabus is a lot of training in only seven days, and weather can affect the schedule. Students should consider extending their training for this course to ten days.

All classroom instruction, and 5 or 7 nights free lodging in our bunkhouse is included. The solo flight-training syllabus is based on 25 flights. We do not guarantee solo in 25 flights because each student progresses at different rates. This concentrated course will help people solo in a minimum number of flights.

Glider Pilots who have soloed, or are licensed pilots, who wish to refresh the training they received or want to fill in missing training, will find the five-day, 15-flight course to be a valuable option. The flight instructor will tailor each day’s training to best insure coverage of weak or missing training.

A $500 advanced deposit is required. This deposit is refundable if you contact us no less than two weeks before the scheduled course.

A Great Aid To Soaring Clubs

Glider clubs often find pre-solo training to be particularly time consuming. Some club members do not solo during an entire season. A concentrated course will hasten the training and make the flying experience more satisfying.

In case of inclement weather, a refund will be made.

Beginning students should prepare for this course by reading the flight-training manual Glider Basics, From First Flight To Solo. Power pilots will read Transition To Gliders.

Licensed power pilots come to the gliderport with a variety of skills, experience and knowledge. For this reason, it is not possible to predict how many dual flights or flight time will be required to reach solo or license requirements. Because of this, we do not offer a set price for transition pilot training. Phone 814-355-2483


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