Beginner Training Course

SSA offers a beginner training course for aspiring pilots seeking to begin their journey towards FAA pilot certification. You will receive training from our highly experienced, FAA-certificated flight instructors towards a private pilot glider certificate, which allows you to carry passengers. The private pilot course starts with the basics, teaching you pre-flight inspections, straight and level flight, coordinated turns, airspeed control, and soaring in thermal, ridge and wave lift. As you become proficient at the basic maneuvers, you will move on to take-offs, tows, landing patterns, smooth safe landings, and eventually solo flight. With the exception of the occasional pattern tow to practice landings, and a simulated “rope break” at low altitude, every flight will be a “soaring” flight, meaning we will work on looking for, identifying, and sustaining flight in the lift conditions that prevail on any given day. Our friendly and professional staff strive to make flight training a fun and enjoyable experience. We recognize that everyone learns differently, and will adapt and customize your flight lessons to best suit your individual needs.

In order to obtain a private pilot certificate, you must log a certain number of flights (both dual and solo), pass a FAA written exam, and then pass an oral exam and practical test with a FAA-designated examiner. For more detailed information on minimum requirements for FAA pilot certificates, click here.

Initial instruction is typically conducted in our venerable 2-person Schweizer 2-33. On average, it costs approximately $4000 to $6000 to obtain a private pilot certificate, but this number varies widely depending on numerous factors (such as how quickly a student learns, how frequently he or she is able to fly and whether or not they are a SSA partner*). Click here to see rates on glider rentals and instruction.


  • The maximum passenger weight in SSA gliders is 242 lbs.
  • The minimum age is 10 years old providing he or she is big enough to be safely secured by the seat belts and he or she is mature and capable of following instructions from the pilot.
  • You need to be at least 14 years old before you can solo.
  • You need to be at least 16 years old before you can obtain your FAA private pilot glider certificate.
  • A FAA medical exam is not required for glider pilots. However FAA regulations prohibit pilots from flying if they know they have a medical condition which would make them unsafe to fly.

To learn more, please call our office at 802-496-2290 or email us at

Please be advised that flights may be postponed or cancelled if the weather conditions are unsuitable. If this happens, we will attempt to contact you as far in advance as possible.

*If you take lessons, it may be advantageous for you to become a SSA partner, as it qualifies you for reduced instruction and rental rates and insurance coverage in SSA gliders. To find out more, contact our office.

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