Thread: Learn to glide?
View Single Post
Old 9th Oct 2018, 17:42
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Augusta, Georgia, USA (back from Germany again)
Posts: 133

Good question. Short answer is "yes." As is the longer answer. I fly gliders and airplanes. Enjoy them both for different purposes. I had been flying airplanes for 33 years before my first real glider training. I've been flying gliders for almost eight years now.

Long term, soaring is likely cheaper than airplane flying. In my club I pay $5 plus tow* for the flight - whether it's five minutes or 90. Everything about flying a glider translates to flying an airplane. Airplane-only instructors will comment about how good I am using the rudder instead of leaving my feet on the floor.

*A winch launch makes for rather inexpensive flights.

An instructor I hadn't flown with before pulled the power on downwind in a 172 once. I put in 10 degrees of flaps on downwind, 10 more on base, and the final 10 on final. He commented "most pilots wait until they have the runway made to put in flaps." I replied, "I had the runway made one downwind." It's not bragging if it's true...

Soaring in most places is done in a club environment. This is a pleasant though labor intensive process. It's not great for people with small kids and spouses with big "honey do" lists. With an airplane you can do the washing up after breakfast and be home for lunch.

I've been spoiled flying bubble canopy airplanes in Europe. Much nicer view than the Arrow or 172 I usually fly now. Gliders have a wonderful view. Imagine looking down on snow covered mountains from 18,000 feet! Modern light sport/ultralight planes have great visibility in many cases.

You can start with a glider and add on Touring Motor Glider. You can do microlights. You have LAPL and PPL options that all have their own rules. The glider experience will make for a better power pilot even if all the hours don't "count" towards the minimum for some powered license. Most people don't make it in the minimums but you might starting with a glider.

There are great clubs in Scotland. (I got to fly one afternoon with club near Loch Levin last summer. Actually flew over the water for a bit. Beautiful. My wife wants to emigrate.)

Flying anything is a great experience. You will learn new facts and skills regardless of your choice.

Did you see that someone just flew from Scotland to N. Ireland a few days ago? In a glider... And flew back!

Be safe and have fun.

LTCTerry is offline