To be eligible to fly a glider solo, an individual must be at least 14 years of age and demonstrate satisfactory aeronautical knowledge on a test developed by an instructor. A student must also have received and logged ground and flight training for the maneuvers and procedures in 14 CFR part 61 that are appropriate to the make and model of aircraft to be flown. A student pilot must demonstrate satisfactory proficiency and safety. Only after all of these requirements are met can an instructor endorse a student’s certificate and logbook for solo flight.
To be eligible for a private pilot certificate with a glider rating, an individual must be at least 16 years of age, complete the specific training and flight time requirements described in 14 CFR part 61, pass a knowledge test, and successfully complete a practical test.
To be eligible for a commercial or flight instructor glider certificate, an individual must be 18 years of age, complete the specific training requirements described in 14 CFR part 61, pass the required knowledge tests, and pass another practical test. If currently a pilot for a powered aircraft is adding a glider category rating on that certificate, the pilot is exempt from the knowledge test but must satisfactorily complete the practical test. Certificated glider pilots are not required to hold an airman medical certificate to operate a glider. However, they must not have any medical deficiencies.
The FAA Practical Test Standards (PTS) establish the standards for the knowledge and skills necessary for the issuance of a pilot certificate. It is important to reference the PTS, FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 60-22, Aeronautical Decision Making, Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25), and the Risk Management Handbook (FAA-H-8083-2) to understand the knowledge, skills, and experience required to obtain a pilot certificate to fly a glider. For more information on the certification of the gliders themselves, refer to 14 CFR part 21, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Certification Specifications (CS) 22.221, and the Weight and Balance Handbook (FAA-H-8083-1).