How much does it cost to join the Aero Club Albatross and get a glider pilot's license?


Annual dues are collected by April 1st.

Associate Members Dues
ACA Dues $66
SSA Dues $64


Full & Student Members Dues

ACA Dues – $66
SSA Dues – $64
Flight Fees – $372 if you do not own a glider yourself.
—or—– $186 if you own a glider or are 1/2 owner.
—or—– $248 if you are a 1/3 owner of a glider.
—or—– $279 if you are a 1/4 owner of a glider.
—or—– $89 if you are a student 22 years or younger.

There is also a one time initiation fee of $600 which can be paid over a 4 year term.Tows are paid to the commercial operation Jersey Ridge Soaring per flight. They can range between $30 and $60 per tow, depending on altitude. In short, if you do not own a glider, your first 4 years of membership will cost $652 per year and $502 per year after that. This is for unlimited flying. Of course dues can go up based on the club’s cost of insurance, tie downs, and maintenance.

I am a powered aircraft pilot. Does becoming a glider pilot help my flying?
Why Gliders?
The following articles describe the joys of soaring as well as the practical benefits of learning to fly gliders:
Log Books

Please use a glider specific log book to record your glider flying. As well as helping your instructors, you too will find it helpful in various practical ways to keep this form of flying type logged separately.

FAA Knowledge Test

Power pilots (Private or higher rating) do not need to take an additional FAA Knowledge Test. However, be prepared to answer verbal questions from the Examiner about all aspects of gliders and soaring.

Additional Rating

Power pilots (Private or above rating) can go solo with relatively little additional training (and fewer endorsements) and once solo are not subject to the same level of continuing instruction as student pilots. Power pilots are NOT students: they are rated pilots seeking an additional rating (glider). ACA does however strongly advocate taking the Practical Test without unnecessary delay – one advantage of the add-on Private/Commercial Glider Rating is being allowed to take passengers.

More Resources

Many prudent and experienced glider pilots have recorded their thoughts and wisdom in textbooks that make it easy for us to learn from the mistakes of others. Some textbooks have been written specifically for the power pilot transitioning from airplanes to glider. See the Resources section for links to great books.

How do gliders remain aloft for hours at a time and travel hundreds of miles?

Gliders, also known as sailplanes, can remain aloft for hours by utilizing the energy in the atmosphere. The sun is the ultimate cause for each of the following sources of rising air:


Thermals are rising columns of air that are caused by uneven solar heating of the ground. Most of the soaring conditions encountered in Texas are from thermals.
Slope Soaring


Ridge Soaring

Slope soaring refers to using updrafts produced by the mechanical lifting of air as it encounters the upwind slope of a hill, ridge or mountain. Slope soaring requires two ingredients: elevated terrain and wind.
Mountain Wave


Wave lift is created when stable air flows over a mountain or descends from the downwind side of a plateau. The air then “bounces” very high into the atmosphere. Altitudes of more than 50,000 feet have been achieved in gliders using mountain wave and distances of more than 2,000 kilometers flown using mountain wave system

How are gliders launched into the air?

What is it like to fly a glider?

What books can I read about learning to fly gliders?


Wing Runner Course required for all new members
“Glider Flight Training Manual”
by Thomas Knauff

This online resource provides guidance for your training at ACA.
FAA reference book. You can download the PDF at the link above or buy a paper copy here.

Federal Aviation Regulations
FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
reference books. You can view and/or download PDFs at the link above or buy a paper copy here.

Bob Wander makes excellent check ride prep books.

Further Reading

This list includes other great titles that are optional but can add different perspectives to your studies.
by Russell Holtz


Beginning Gliding
by Derek Piggott


Learning to Fly Gliders
by Bob Wander
Gliding Made Easy Series

Transition to Gliders
by Tom Knauff
Transition from airplanes to Gliders





Ground School Presentations

Link to Folder with PDF and Powerpoint presentations given at SCOH on the topics listed below and more...
  • Aeronautical Decision Making
  • Aerobatics
  • Aerodynamics
  • Aeronautical Information Manual by the FAA
  • Airspace
  • Checklists
  • Crew Resource Management for Glider Pilots
  • Federal Aviation Regulations for Glider Pilots
  • Flight Instruments
  • Performance
  • Radio Communication
  • Risk Management
  • Systems
  • Weather Data: METARs, TAFs, etc
  • Weather Theory
  • Weight & Balance

Video Tutorials from  pilottrainingsystem.com/

Private Pilot Tutorial 1: Introduction to Flying
Private Pilot Tutorial 2: Aircraft Structure
Private Pilot Tutorial 3: Principles of Flight
Private Pilot Tutorial 4: Aerodynamics (Part 1 of 3)
Private Pilot Tutorial 5: Flight Controls
Private Pilot Tutorial 6: Aircraft Systems (Part 1 of 2)
Private Pilot Tutorial 7: Flight Instruments (Part 1 of 3)
Private Pilot Tutorial 8: Flight Manuals and Documents
Private Pilot Tutorial 9: Weight & Balance
Private Pilot Tutorial 10: Aircraft Performance
Private Pilot Tutorial 11: Weather Theory (Part 1 of 3)
Private Pilot Tutorial 12: Aviation Weather Services (Part 1 of 3)
Private Pilot Tutorial 13: Airport Operations (Part 1 of 3)
Private Pilot Tutorial 14: Airspace
Private Pilot Tutorial 15: Navigation (Part 1 of 4)
Private Pilot Tutorial 16: Aeromedical Factors (Part 1 of 2)
Private Pilot Tutorial 17: Aeronautical Decision Making (Part 1 of 4)


Online Studies

FAA Knowledge Exam ("The Written")

What should be in your personal glider library?

Exams, Tests & Flight Reviews
FAA Knowledge Exam ("The Written")


Before you can take your flight test for your Private Glider Certificate, you need to pass an FAA knowledge test. You should start to prepare for this as soon as you go solo.

  • The test is computer-based multiple-choice derived from a large bank of questions. It is highly recommended that use online test prep as described on this page.
  • The bulk of preparation is conducted as self-study. But, you will need to engage with a specific instructor to help you with any difficulties in your studies.
  • The cost of the FAA Knowledge Test is at least $150 so you will want to be well prepared to avoid retaking the test in case you fail (70% required). List of FAA Knowledge Test Centers .
  • You must have an instructor's written endorsement before taking the exam.

After the Test

Even with a good pass mark you will need to go through, with your sign-off instructor, any areas you did not score perfectly on. He will sign your form once he is satisfied any deficiencies have been corrected. The test is not complete until your sign-off instructor has counter-signed the certificate.

FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test Guide

Test Description, number of questions, test taking tips, use of aids during test, references and other important information.LINK

There are many excellent online sources for preparing for the Knowledge Test listed on this page. We highly recommend that you prepare by using an online exam study program. 

  • This prep will tell you why the correct answer is correct and why the wrong answers are wrong. Studying using this method helps you understand the sometimes devious way that questions are posed and what the FAA is trying to get at.
  • The test prep exactly duplicates the look of the actual computer based testing interface. You can take practice tests multiple times and know how well you are likely going to do on the test before arriving at the testing center. Although the official pass mark is 70%, we aim to get scores of 95% or better.

FAA Practical Test
Preparing for the FAA Practical Test will require a significant  effort on your part. Your instructor will help guide and prepare you but it is your responsibility to study and ask questions. The following book is an excellent resource to help you be successful:

Gliding Made Easy Series
The list of books and resources that you need to study and have available on check ride day is rather long. Please refer to p81 of Bob Wander's book for the "Checklist For Your Private Pilot Glider Checkride" and build your personal library.

FAA Practical Test Standards

The FAA Practical Test Standards are a set of specific 'guidelines and rules' for the way the check ride is conducted. Print or buy a booklet of the PTS for your check-ride.


IACRA is the web-based certification/rating application that guides the user through the FAA's airman application process.

Rather than using a paper form (8710), most Designated Examiners will require you to have an account set up and information entered in IACRA before you meet them for the Practical Test.

Flight Review Preparation (BFR)
The following are excellent paper and online resources when you are preparing for a flight review:

Bob Wander
Book: "Safer Soaring...Made Easy"
Book: "Glider BFR and Spring Checkout...Made Easy"
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The above link will bring you to the FAA's online list of courses.The "Flight Review Prep Guide" course is an excellent summary of the part 91 regs as well as judgement based decisions. The content is oriented towards powered aircraft but most of it applies to glider flying. There is an exam at the end that allows you to answer the questions over and over until you get it right. Getting the correct answers is the only goal of the exam. You don't have to pass on the first try to get credit.

Federal Aviation Regulations


The FAR/AIM (Federal Aviation Regulations & Airmen Information Manual) is a very thick and dense book. But, we need to know the rules so you need to study pieces of the book. An instructor as well as the "FARs for Glider Pilots" as shown on this page can get you started.
Paper Copy

The only differences between publishers is the formatting and some formats are more readable than others. Here is a link to Amazon for ASA's version of the 2015 FAR/AIM. ASA is nice because they have bold headings for new sections which makes finding what you want easier out of all the noise of the "dense" regs.

Students should begin to wrap their head around a paper copy of the FAR/AIM because it is easier to bookmark sections and highlight items. If you want a free PDF from the FAA, here are some PDF and digital starting points:

FARs for Glider Pilots

Some regs highlighted in this PDF will help you begin to narrow down some of the regulations you need to know. The highlighted areas are intended to focus attention on some of the most commonly misunderstood or overlooked regulations.
This PDF is merely a starting point while students are trying to get their head around the regs. It is not an official reference. You should acquire a current FAR/AIM edition, paper or electronic. This collection of FARs for glider pilots is only a guide. It is not kept up to date. Some sections of the regulations may be missing. As a responsible pilot, you are expected to know more information than that which is highlighted and contained in this document.


Soaring Safety Foundation, SSF


Off Field Landings by Thomas Knauff
Gliding Safety by Derek Piggott
Safer Soaring by Bob Wander

Other Internet Resources

The FAA’s website contains a huge range of useful information, though finding your way round can be a challenge at times. Here are some direct links to commonly used documents:

FAA Glider Practical Test Standards (PTS)

FAA Glider Flying Handbook

Cumulus Soaring has perhaps, the most comprehensive range of gliding and soaring books (as well as soaring equipment). 
Bob Wander’s site also has an excellent range of glider training books.
Sectionals (Maps)
sportys.com to buy sectionals
skyvector.com to view online and/or buy sectionals
More. . .