Why learn to fly gliders?
The Wright brothers knew that the way to get into aviation was through gliders. Their experiments in design and practical application in flying gliders helped them to understand the complexities of powered flight. If you are new to aviation, learning to fly gliders provides basic skills valuable to any aviation pursuit.
If you are an experienced pilot, you could join the rank of glider pilots such as Steve Fossett, Neil Armstrong, Chesley Sullenberger and many other renowned aviators. Flying sailplanes may re-introduce you to the joy of basic flight which doesn’t require noisy, gas guzzling engines or complicated technology to fly.
Why join Caprock Soaring?
We are a private club and a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation under Texas law. The concept is that all members contribute whatever they can to help the club run efficiently in order to keep the costs down. Volunteers do everything from clubhouse maintenance, hangar help (inexperienced welcome) and hooking up gliders to acting as tow pilots or instructors. No one profits from the club or gets any compensation other than the fun of hanging out around airplanes and people who love them. This is a place for families to come and spend the day.
For the beginning pilot.
After joining the club and completing the orientation process, you will be assigned an instructor. However, you may fly with any instructor who is available. Your first goal will be to solo, which permits you to fly by yourself with an instructor supervising from the ground.
This is a fun activity, but not to be taken lightly. All aircraft and pilots are regulated, licensed and inspected under Federal Aviation Regulations.
The course of instruction requires study of regulations and other written materials. Plan on about $50 for purchase of books (available at the club) to help you along. The first emphasis at caprock soaring is safety. This is the commitment we expect from all members. In order to learn, you must keep some continuity in your training. Students who show up once a month to take a lesson will not progress at an acceptable rate and will almost certainly become frustrated and drop out. Although weather and other factors can get in the way, if you can’t plan on being at caprock soaring twice a month when learning, you may be wasting your time. Many members will come out to the club even when the weather is unflyable. We hang around airplanes, keep things working and tell tall tales.
Once soloed, you will work towards the Private Pilot Certificate. This releases you from several legal constraints on what and where you can fly and will give you the authority to take up passengers.
For the astronaut.
Commercial and ATP rated pilots need a sign-off to solo. For the Commercial or Private Glider practical test, you will not need to pass a written exam. Essentially, you just need 20 solo flights for a Commercial rating and 10 solo flights for a Private. See applicable regulations below.
How much will this cost me?
It’s difficult to put a very precise figure on costs since there are variables having to do with continuity, weather, different rates of learning, etc. Having said that, we’ll offer a wild guess. For the transition pilot: Not counting the initiation fee, probably less than $1,000 for glider rental and tows to get to the solo phase, and another $500 after that for the Private Pilot License. Count on double that amount or more for the beginning student. There will also be some additional fees for the Private Pilot check ride. Youth membership has a reduced initiation fee and allows students college age and below to work towards credit for glider flight time.
I want to tow.
Great. Come join us. First, get your glider instruction. For regulatory requirements, see FAR 61.69.
Applicable FAA Regulations
FAR 61.69 Tow Pilot Requirements
FAR 61.87(i) Solo requirements
FAR 61.107 (b) (6) Private Pilot Proficiency
FAR 61.109 (f) Private Pilot Aeronautical Experience
FAR 61.125 Commercial Pilot Aeronautical Knowledge
FAR 61.127 (b) (6) Commercial Pilot Proficiency
FAR 91.309 Glider Towing