By: Bob Reuter
Posted in: student experiences
Bob Reuter, student pilot
Ok so you've taken your introductory ride and you are wondering, now what??? You really want to
learn to fly that glider yourself... so NOW WHAT??
well first thing is get in touch with one of the fine folks at Freedoms Wings, your pilot or one of the
other members, all of them weather last week or 50 years ago were in the same position you are.
Since I am just a bit in front of you I hope I can help you can get an idea of what is in store for you
before you can fly one of these beauties as it soars on the breath of the wind.
I did contact one of the good folks and they told me the drill and how to do it. Nothing worth while
comes easy and this takes some effort on your part.
First you have to join the Soaring Society of America, they have some great teaching helps and a
magazine for inspiring your dreams.
Then you need to join the Freedoms Wings “club”
you will be given some lessons to study, takes a lot of studying to learn all the rules of the road and
how to read the “street” signs in the sky. Nothing impossible just new and different than anything
you've probably done before. After some beginning study you will meet your instructor and take your
first “Real” lesson.
A lot of things done by the pilot in charge before, you will now have to start doing, things like doing
the preflight inspections and preflight checklists and checks. Of course in the beginning the instructor
or what is called the “CFIG” or Certified Flight Instructor-Glider will be looking over your shoulder.
No matter how good you get, until you have passed the pilots exam you are still a “student” and will be the responsibility of your CFIG, so their going to be “on your case” and you will wonder if you can
ever do anything right, but when you take the sticks in your hand and “catch your first thermal” or do a take off on your own, or get the landing spot on. The feeling makes it worth while.
You will make mistakes and wonder if you will ever be able to get this “glas” bird to do what you want. And most will spend a lifetime trying to do just that. Slowly and some days it will seem impossibly slow, you will feel “I can do this” and then can't or the CFIG tells you to do something that they think
you can but your not sure... you will sweat and grin and sweat some more but during this time you will
meet some really neat people and learn that this club is more than work, a picnic and then it is your turn
to go to the introductory flights as a volunteer to help others experience what you have.
Oh yeah, it does cost a bit, dues in Freedoms wings are probably lower than any other glider club
around and the Club CFIG's are volunteers (be reasonably nice to em) but that tow plane burns
expensive gas and the guy flying it has to pay for the plane and insurance so he has to charge you for
the flight. Figure about $65 per flight... so you fly when you have saved up enough, maybe get some
organizations or others to help, holiday and birthday presents can be gift certificates for tows but the
view out the canopy of that sailplane and the feeling of freedom when you are soaring cannot be
described, your introductory flight is only a tiny sample.
I wish I could tell you more but that's all the further I've gotten, so as I get further along I will relate
more stories about how I'm doing and hopefully I will see you on the grid waiting for your flight.