Learn to Fly
What is soaring?
Soaring is a safe, fun, cost-effective, and friendly form of recreational aviation.Soaring is different from other forms of aviation in that the sailplanes lack an engine. At first glance, this may seem like a serious limitation but a skilled sailplane pilot can fly for many hours and cover hundreds of miles by using subtle clues in their surroundings to locate updrafts. In other words, soaring is an ideal form of recreational sport aviation.
Who can learn to soar with the Illini Glider Club?
Soaring is one of the most accessible forms of recreational aviation available today. While flight instruction is open to anyone with the desire to to fly, pilots must meet the following criteria:
Glider pilots must gain the required flight experience, demonstrate sufficient proficiency and knowledge, and be at least 14 years old in order to solo a glider. In addition, pilots who have solo flight experience must be 16 years old, and pass both knowledge and practical tests in order to be issued a Private Pilot Glider certificate from the FAA.
Pilots must certify that they do not have any medical conditions which would prevent safe operation of an aircraft.
Pilots must follow the safety guidelines set forth by FAA, the Illini Gilder Club's insurance company, and the airport which hosts the club.
The Illini Glider Club invites student pilots of any age or experience level who want to learn and perfect airmanship skills. We would especially like to invite young people who may not have a chance to fly in other ways to join the club, along with anyone who has always wanted to experience the magic and the thrill of grass roots aviation.
We also invite pilots from other forms of aviation who would like add a glider rating to their certificate, as well as experienced glider pilots.
How long does it take to learn to fly?
Pilots transitioning from other kinds of aviation can train to solo in as few as 12 flights. Those who are new to flying can train to solo in as few as 23 flights (although 30 to 50 is typical).
Once you have reached solo status, you can complete your training by preparing for your written and practical exams. Transitioning pilots are not required to retake the written exam.
Once you have received you Private Pilot - Glider certificate, you can carry passengers, pursue achievement badges, and accumulate experience in cross-country flying. As you accumulate more flight time, you will be able to earn commercial and/or instructor ratings.
How much does it cost?
All of the associated costs (Dues, Tows, Materials, and Examinations) are discussed on our 'Membership' page. In addition, glider flight instructors who hold a Commercial rating may choose to charge a fee for flight instruction.
Total cost, from start to license will depend on your current status, skill level, abilities, and commitment.
Learning to fly sailplanes costs a fraction of private pilot training for powered aircraft, but it is still a substantial commitment. Be sure to discuss the costs with our instructors and with other members of the club when joining.