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CROSS COUNTRY SOARING, INC.


Having said that, asking HOW LONG and HOW MUCH are legitimate questions, and they are somewhat interconnected. Let's look at potential costs for you, the smiling someone just stepping out of the cockpit after your first ride in a glider. From that moment, without any prior flying experience, how long until you could be flying solo?

A month? With a serious effort, quite possibly.
Two months? Staying focused, quite probably.
Three months? More typically, given the demands on a student's free time by work, school, family, etc.
 
There are many factors that will affect the speed and cost of your flight training (weather, frequency of flight training, distractions in personal life, ambition, age, learning skills, retention, the quality of your instructor, etc.). So take this estimate as just that, an estimate.

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If you study the subject with interest and pack your training flights closely together (2-3 flights a day, 2 days a week, so you don't give yourself time to forget what you learned the last flight) AND you are in the faster under-30 years old learning curve (or perform as well), AND 35 flights is what it takes for you to meet standards for solo flight...then your costs might look like: 


Books ($65), five hours ground instruction over the course of training ($300), thirty five 30-minute (average time over the 35 flights) flights [glider+instructor+tow] = 35x30 (glider)+35x30(instructor)+35x55(tows)=($4025), which adds up to


 $65+$300+$4025=$4390

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If you conform to the learning curve that is typically seen in flight training (the older you are, the more you know, the longer it takes to INSERT new information/skills), then add a few flights if you are over 30, a few more if you are over 40, etc. It is not uncommon to see students taking 40-50 flights before being signed off for solo if the flight instruction regiment is spread out over an extended period of time or a student hits a snag of some sort. You'll usually have an idea of where you are on this curve after about 5 flights. Don't hesitate to ask your instructor.

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Instruction


For what it's worth, the U.S. Air Force starts lots of their top guns out in gliders when they are cadets. Here is a link if you are interested in the details USAF Glider Program. Sometimes a group of them will even show up at a glider contest with a nice two-place ship and have some fun with the rest of us. This is a picture of a graduating class.