For sheer grace of flight, the sport of soaring is unsurpassed. Sailplanes come in a variety of styles and sizes but they are all graceful in the air.
As the glider lifts off, the earth drops away and the horizon expands. A feeling of awe comes over you as the sailplane climbs toward the clouds.
The sailplane pilot enjoys a calm and quiet that the power pilot never can. The swish of the wind over the wings is the only sound. This is soaring the way the birds do it. Don't be surprised if a hawk joins you in the thermal.
Student pilots may solo a glider at an age 16. At the other extreme, seniors enjoy the pure fun of flying that sailplanes provide. The challenges and camaraderie of the sport will appeal to everyone.
Take an introductory flight in a sailplane. The Soaring Society of South Africa has a list of soaring sites to help you find one near you. We recommend calling ahead to make sure the weather is good and an instructor will be available to take you up.
If this is your first glider ride, the flight will introduce you to a world you have never known. The instructor will guide you through the maneuvers that will become a familiar part of your future training.
If you have an aviators soul, you will be hooked. You are on your way to becoming a part of the world of glider pilots.
Learning to fly gliders safely is not hard. Once you start your lessons, the instructor will teach you the basics of flying the sailplane in just a few lessons. You will learn how gliders are launched, how to control the aircraft under various conditions and how to bring it safely back to the ground.
How long it takes you to solo depends on a number of factors including any previous pilot experience you have had and how much time you can spend at the airport.
The type of sailplane you are flying will also make a difference. High performance sailplanes take a little longer to master. Don't worry about how long it is taking. After all, you are flying.
After solo, you can progress as far in the sport of soaring as your interest takes you.
As a private pilot, you will be able to carry passenger and share your passion with friends and family.
You can get involved in cross county soaring, contests or just fly around the airport on a pleasant Sunday.
The sky is, literally, the limit.