Once you have decided that you want to learn to fly, the first step is to join a club.
The Vancouver Soaring Association (VSA), which operates at Hope, is a typical gliding club in Canada. We follow a strict learning syllabus that will take you right from the earliest stages through to becoming a fully qualified glider pilot.
Instruction is provided free of charge to VSA members by certified Soaring Association of Canada (SAC) Instructors.
All members are expected to help out with everything that has to be done to keep a club running and Instructors fulfil their duties this way.
Training takes place on weekends, but one-week courses are offered once a month (throughout the summer flying season) to accelerate the learning process. Please refer to the Courses page for more details.
Usually the practical side of gliding is concentrated on first – while the weather is flyable – and the theoretical training required to pass the GLIDE exam can be focused on during the winter months.
The training offered by VSA will help facilitate students to obtain their Student pilots permit. In addition to their permit, they’ll need to visit a local flight school to obtain their radio operators licence, however we offer resources and guidance on where to go to prepare for and write the GLIDE exam.
How long will it take?
How long it takes to obtain your Glider Pilots Licence (GPL) is not really that important – it’s how much fun you have doing it. Sharing a flight, and being able to discuss it afterwards, even if it is with your instructor, is often half the fun, and many pilots prefer to fly in twin gliders for that reason, even after they are capable of flying “solo”.
For students with prior flight experience, it’s often possible to solo within the first season.
For ab-initio students, it’s realistic to expect it to take two seasons. There is no typical or minimum number of flights; it’s entirely up to the student’s progress to determine how long it takes.
Flight simulator training, using programs such as Condor Soaring can be of a great help, and can shorten the overall duration for some. The club has built a flight simulator, and it’s been ready for member training use as of the 2016 season.
Your first target will be to fly solo. Don’t worry – you will only do this when your instructors are certain that you have all the necessary skills to safely take-off, fly and land the glider.
After you’ve successfully flown solo, you can continue your training syllabus to achieve the Bronze and Cross-Country endorsements. The specialist training will equip you with the skills to make informed decisions about your planned flying, navigate cross country and deal with unusual situations, such as landing off-site in a farmer’s field.
For further information on becoming a glider pilot, contact us by email: