Besides regular weekend Flight Training, the Vancouver Soaring Association (VSA) offers its members week-long gliding courses designed for people with no previous flying experience or people with previous power/glider flying experience, who have an unfulfilled desire to learn to fly gliders and a passion for outdoor activities.
The VSA typically tries to plan for three one-week student courses in this season, but this is always subject to the availability of two instructors, tow pilots, and administrators, who all need to take leave from their day-jobs to volunteer their time for these courses. Confirmation that courses will be run may sometimes only be possible about 4 to 6 weeks out as they need to confirm leave from their employers.
The courses are popular, and space is limited. It is recommended that those students who have no glider flying experience have at least 4 glider flights before the course. This can be easily achieved by either:
- coming out to the Hope airfield a few weekends prior to the course and joining the VSA and enjoying regular weekend training, or
- by purchasing a 4-Flight Package. The 4 flights can be done over several days, and it is recommended that this is done over at least two weekends. The idea of the 4- flight package is for the prospective member/student to find out if this is really for him or her. A 4-Flight Package can be converted to full membership at any time in the same soaring season.
Doing a number of flights before the course will ensure that you are physically and mentally prepared for the gliding course, and that you are not starting off right at the beginning of your training. This way you will maximize your training while on the course towards becoming a licenced glider pilot.
Below is a list of the courses we typically try to have each season. The exact number of courses and the dates will be determined in early Spring when our season schedule is put together. This page will be updated at that time.
Course 1 Dates TBD Instructor Course
Course 2 Dates TBD May Student Course
Course 3 Dates TBD June Student Course
Course 4 Dates TBD Hope Camp
- Course Fees: See Pricing Page – Fees will be set in early Spring
- These courses are for VSA club members only, and get booked up very quickly (and are on a first come first served basis). Glider Rental and Tow fees are extra (see the Pricing Page)
- We can typically only accommodate 2 students per instructor, unless otherwise agreed to beforehand (dependent on student’s prior flying experience)
- Courses are dependent on the availability of volunteer members instructors, tow
pilots and administrators.
Ab-Initio Course Objective
These Ab-initio course offer intensive training which is designed to accelerate students’ flying skills toward the solo level. The objective of the course is to provide a thorough introduction all aspects of glider operation and glider flying and having fun experiencing flying in the mountains around Hope, and above all learning VSA’s Rule # 1 ” to have fun while flying gliders safely”. We will also provide the necessary guidance to obtain a Transport Canada – Student Pilot Permit More info: http://www.tc.gc.ca/CivilAviation/Regserv/Affairs/cars/Part4/Standards/ see section 421.19
Student Learning Expectations
On completion of the Ab-initio course the student pilot will have, under the guidance of an instructor, learnt:
- Glider pre-flight preparation.
- Launch point safety procedures.
- How to take-off a glider and release at altitude.
- Many of the flying maneuvers in the training syllabus.
- How to identify and use rising air to climb and travel in the mountains.
- How to approach the airfield and land.
- About the great sport of flying gliders in B.C.
Those students without an aeronautical radio licence have the opportunity to take a short course and the Licence Exam.
Student Pilot Requirements
- Must be 14 years minimum.
- Maximum student weight 242 lbs (glider design requirement)
- Must be in reasonably good health to meet the requirements for Transport Canada (Medical Category 4).
Two qualified gliding instructors will run the course. A minimum of 4 and maximum of 6 participants are required which will ensure 3 or 4 training flights each day. Training will follow the Transport Canada approved, Soaring Association of Canada (SAC) flying training syllabus. It is expected that all the basic flying training exercises will be covered and that by the end of the week the student will be doing most of the flying. It is generally not possible in a week for a student pilot to gain sufficient experience to fly to the required standard for solo flight.
Course Daily Schedule
Start 09:00 hours with a briefing on the day’s activities and a discussion of a flying topic (approximately 60 minutes), followed by readying the two 2 seat dual control training gliders, and then flying until approximately 18:00 hours. A lunch break is usually taken around 13:00 hrs. The intention is to have 2 to 3 training flights of up to ½ hour each before lunch and after lunch, when there is usually lift, make a 1 hour soaring flight in the local mountains. All flying is weather dependent which means that the day’s schedule may have to be adjusted if there is inclement weather.
All course participants are required to be full VSA members with a Season Flat Rate Flying card. Tows will be paid for through the purchase of a Tow card. A separate fee is charged for the course which includes a dinner on the first Sunday night, and a copy of the Operations Manual and a logbook (if required). Please refer to VSA’s Pricing Page for the current fee structure. Note: The expectation is that the number of hours flown in the course week will be between 10 and 12 hours, and if you took the advice to take a few flights before the between 2 ½ to 4 hours would be flown before the course. All students are encouraged to continue flying throughout the rest of the season in order to solidify and maintain the skills that they have acquired during the course.
Eating and Sleeping at Hope
RV’s, campers and travel trailers can be parked and camping is allowed on VSA airport property. Motel accommodation is available within a short driving/walking distance from the airfield. If you want to eat in, the clubhouse has a well equipped kitchen complete with cooking and eating utensils. For eating out there are cafes and restaurants in the town of Hope. Eating in or out is per individual preference. Services are not available for RV’s, campers or travel trailers.
We will be flying the Blanik (VSL) and the Grob 103 (VSA) for most of the training. The higher performance fiberglass DG 505, (VSI) is available for additional experience if required.
Information on Gliding
- Many books have been written about learning to glide. Local libraries usually have some.
- Aero Training Products – see: www.aerotraining.com
- Aviation World – see: www.aviationworld.net at YVR south side has a selection.
- You can purchase the official SAC training manual “Soar and learn to fly gliders” as well as other excellent books direct from SAC at this web address: www.sac.ca
- Cumulus Soaring at www.cumulus-soaring.com. They have a variety of books and guides
If you decide to sign-up, beware, soaring is infectious and you will have joined a true band of committed enthusiasts. You can fly gliders in most western countries. Gliding clubs usually have reciprocal flying privileges for experience licensed pilots. Gliding is an outdoor activity, as such is weather dependent. Basically if it’s not raining and we have a cloud base higher than 2,000 ft we will fly. It is suggested that participants arrive mid Sunday afternoon to meet the instructors and check out the facilities. Participants can bring a non-flying significant other, relative or friend along.
Request Information about our Gliding Courses
Sign-up by e-mail : We will contact you for more information. On receipt of the deposit an information package will be mailed to you.