Glider Pilot Ratings

FAA minimum requirements

Glider licenses are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and in that regard is similar to that issued to power pilots or balloon pilots. The FAA maintains a list of frequently asked questions for new pilots and requirements for pilot licensing are included in Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. The basic requirements are as follows:

Student Pilot

Student pilots may solo at a minimum age of 14 with a student certificate endorsed for solo flight at the discretion of a FAA Certificated Flight Instructor for Gliders (CFI-G). Generally, 30 to 40 flights with a CFI-G are required to solo. This is roughly equivalent to 10-12 hours of flight time and is dependent upon the progress of the student.

Private Pilot Glider

After solo, student pilots may qualify as a Private Pilot Glider provided they:

  • Are at least 16 years of age; and
  • Have logged at least 10 hours of flight time in a glider and that flight time must include at least 20 total glider flights, and
  • Have 2 hours of solo flight time in a glider, and
  • Have passed the FAA written examination; and
  • Have passed the flight exam with a FAA Examiner.

Commercial Pilot Glider

To be a Commercial Pilot Glider one:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Pass a written FAA examination
  • Hold a Private Pilot license with 25 hours of flight time in gliders and 100 glider flights as pilot-in-command OR a total of 200 hours of flight time in heavier-than-air aircraft including 20 glider flights as pilot-in-command, 3 hours or ten flights training in a glider, and five solo flights in a glider and pass a flight test.

Certificated Flight Instructor Glider

  • Must hold a commercial rating,
  • Pass a written and flight test,
  • Have an endorsement from a qualified instructor of aeronautical knowledge and flight of proficiency.

Additional Pilot Rating

Holders of a valid FAA power plane license with 40 hours as pilot-in-command need a minimum of 10 solo flights to qualify to take the glider flight test. No written exam is required to add a glider rating to a power license. In all cases, refer to the Federal Aviation Regulations for details on pilot licensing.

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