Transition Pilots: Adding a Glider Rating

Adding a Glider category rating to your existing airman certificate is an enjoyable way to satisfy your FAR 61 Flight Review requirements, and historically many pilots have done just that.  The requirements imposed on transition pilots by the FARs are quite modest--for example, if you are adding a rating no higher than your existing grade of certificate (Private or Commercial) there is no written Knowledge Test required.  FARs also allow you to take the practical test with a Designated Pilot Examiner after as little as three hours of dual instruction.

 

However, learning to fly a sailplane is only a small part of the fascinating journey to becoming a soaring pilot.  A fully qualified sailplane pilot understands subtle aerodynamic considerations rarely taught in the world of powered flight, has much deeper insights into meteorology than his or her airplane-only colleagues, and practices "low-loss" energy management techniques unknown to other flight disciplines.  Many professional pilots have found their glider training to be very helpful in their airline or other compensated flying.

 

Best of all, soaring is recreational flying as it was meant to be!  It is basic VFR aviation, with minimal interaction with ATC, without crewmembers, usually without even passengers; it is hand-flying a simple, viceless aircraft with impeccable handling, testing yourself against the vagaries of nature, and camaraderie with fellow aviators who are as passionate about their airmanship as you are!

 

What kinds of pilots add glider ratings for the sheer enjoyment of it?  Airline pilots, former tactical pilots, NASA test pilots, even astronauts.