Advanced Training

Q: Is soaring safe?

A: It is as safe as a pilot wishes to make it.

We offer several training packages to upgrade your safety during flight. Please scroll down for courses.

Sailplanes are stronger and more maneuverable than airliners. They are fully controllable at nearly jogging speeds. There are very few cases of in-flight malfunctions of sailplanes, and the FAA regulates their maintenance on the same schedules as airliners or powered general aviation machinery.

We are allowed to teach and solo people in sailplanes at the tender age of fourteen. Youngsters cannot drive cars on public roadways at that age, yet they can fly with us. There is no mandatory retirement age from flying sailplanes. There are so few occasions of persons having medical problems in sailplanes that we are not required to get a doctor’s permission to fly gliders.

Can bad things happen flying sailplanes? Yes.

Bad things can happen when a person makes a poor decision. Many of those decisions are made when the pilot admits accepting increased risk for some perceived reward…. peer esteem ( ego), records ( ego), winning (ego).

Sometimes bad things happen because people want their “fun” to come easily. They are satisfied with the minimum training, the minimum recurrency testing, and they avoid any continuing training over time. Skills erode, judgment slips from inactivity, or perhaps the initial training wasn’t very rigorous or comprehensive.

We have not had a customer have an injury in one of our gliders in twenty years. We encourage intermittent training, offer skills-development courses, and operate in an open and invigorating intellectual climate. Soaring can offer as much or as little challenge as a pilot wishes to require of themselves. Pilots make soaring safe. Or not.

Landing Accuracy Course

Ten landings. One normal approach to ascertain your skills. Subsequent landings to hone your approach to pinpoint accuracy, identify your roundout point, guage the distance in flare to touchdown, know your precise touchdown attitude (main or tail wheel first).

Great package for seasonal rust removal, or to prepare for cross-country outlandings.

Two hours of ground school included before flight time. One very long or two days working on site. $ 750.

Landing Flexibility Course

Ten landings. Steep approach, full spoilers to touch. Shallow approach, slip to landing in high-performance through touchdown. Impact avoidance – in two styles: divert from flare to a parallel surface (lane change), deploy full spoilers in ground effect (panic stop). Configuration changes in ground effect. Speed changes and effect in landings. Cross-wind landings (if available).

After this course, you will know that a fuel truck on the airfield, an errant transient airplane, or a ditch in an outlanding pasture will not matter to your landing safety and confidence.

Two hours of ground school included before flight time. One long or two days working on site. $ 750.

Rough-Air Upset Training Course

Four flights in aerobatic recovery from unusual attitudes. Worried about rotor in wave flights or big desert thermals? Have the old salt “There I was ….” stories nibbled at your conscience? Do you wonder if you can figure out which way Up is supposed to be?

We can reassure you that we will not overwhelm you, not intimidate you, and have you calm enough to identify your orientation, and get back to right side up, safely, smoothly and without punishing the sailplane. You are the pilot in command at all times, and can push on or discontinue whenever you like. This package is limited to pilots under 215 pounds to allow for the required use of parachutes by both pilots.

Two hours of ground school included before flight time. One long or two days working on site. $ 750.

Soaring Myth-busters Course

Every sport has some favorite longstanding myths. Even soaring has them.

Have you had the tow pilot from New York -- the one that doesn’t respond to SSA signals, and is taking you to Tucumcari at 85 knots in your 1-26? You can break a rope. You can land on tow. You can learn how a “contest finish” doesn’t have to kill anyone. You can overcome the “dreaded slow tow”. You can wave into your tuggie’s side window, and then recover from that 140-foot of slack tow line.

Slack rope flight to 3000 ft. Land on tow flight to 1500 ft. Slow-tow & break rope 1500 feet. Contest finish fly-by to 2000 ft. Four flights, two hours of ground school included before flight time. One day working on site. $ 600.