Soaring your way to freedom

Ever since a little kid I was fascinated with flying. Everything related with airplanes was a source of great inspiration for me for many years. Finally in year 2004 I have enlisted in UTVA Flying School for glider pilot training. I took a first step to my dream and this is a story about it.

Soaring is a sport in which you pilot a light aircraft known as glider or sailplane. Gliders do not have means of propulsion of their own and the pilot has to rely on an airplane or a winch to take it off to the skies. From then on, using only thermal and other sources of lift, you try to keep in the air as long as possible.

Since you have no means of propulsion, soaring is an extremely demanding sport from pilot's perspective. The margin for error is very low and slightest mistake can mean you lose precious height. That is why soaring produces best pilots and often you can find in the statistics of commercial airliners that pilots who begun the training on gliders save up to 15% fuel more then their colleagues who didn't.


Cockpit of Blanik L-13 glider

Glider pilot training consists of theoretical and practical training (flying). During theoretical lessons you will study classes like meteorology, theory of flight and aerodynamics, construction and materials, airplane instruments, navigation, parachuting and rules and regulations. The knowledge you will gain will allow you to be more confident and capable pilot.

During flying lessons you will learn the principles of flight, taking off, landing and basic maneuvers. Gliding is learned in two seater sailplanes and your instructor will be there all the time to correct your mistakes and teach you how to fly safely.


You will also gain some muscle during training since you often have to push the glider on the airfield

I already said that gliders do not have an engine which make them less forgiving to your mistakes (you do not have means to have an another go at landing etc). But also that means that there is lot less to go wrong compared to motor aircraft. Basically you will be completely in charge of everything.

Flying lessons can typically be finished in a month's time - probably less then you'll need for driver's license. Basic course incorporates 60 flights (this may vary from country to country). I have flown solo first time on my 35-th flight I believe. The cost of the course is around 1,500 euro (again this may vary). After you get the pilot's license, you can fly anywhere in the world.


With gliding you will spend most time in the air and in the nature



Video of Blanik glider take off on student's first flight



Video of Blanik glider landing on student's first flight

Soaring is a beautiful sport for all flying enthusiasts. When you are up there in the air, in the quietness of only air and the wind, you will have the feeling you are among the rare privileged humans enjoying the sensation of flying.

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One Comment

  1. Apr 10th, 2008 12:13 PM


    Landing was the best part!!!

    PS. Even I was scared!

    Ivan |