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.

As we are first and foremost a club, we look for new students who have the potential to develop a long-term relationship with Sugarbush Soaring.  This season we anticipate first accepting students (primary or advanced) who have the ability to commit to regular lessons, and with a desire to become active members of the Club. Club membership benefits the student through reduced instruction rates, rental fees, and insurance coverage in SSA gliders.  As resources permit, we will gladly accept students who have short-term goals, are visiting for a limited amount of time, or are not interested in Club membership.

If you would like to pursue flight training with us this season, please complete the 2024 Prospective Student Application form to give us an understanding of your goals and availability, and a  member of our team will be in touch to discuss your interest.


  • 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.

beginner solo