Glider Flying

This section is designed as a technical manual for applicants who are preparing for glider category rating and for currently certificated glider pilots who wish to improve their knowledge. Certificated flight instructors will find this section a valuable training aid, since detailed coverage of aeronautical decision-making, components and systems, aerodynamics, flight instruments, performance limitations, ground operations, flight maneuvers, traffic patterns, emergencies, soaring weather, soaring techniques, and cross-country flight is included. Topics such as radio navigation and communication, use of flight information publications, and regulations are available in other Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publications.

  1. Gliders and Sailplanes
  2. Glider Components and Systems
  3. Aerodynamics of Flight – Gliders
  4. Glider Flight Instruments
  5. Glider Performance
  6. Glider Preflight and Ground Operations
  7. Glider Launch and Recovery Procedures and Flight Maneuvers
  8. Abnormal and Emergency Procedures
  9. Soaring Weather
  10. Soaring Techniques
  11. Cross-Country Soaring
  12. Glider Towing
  13. Human Factors – Gliders
  14. Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF): Safety Advisory 00-1, Glider Critical Assembly Procedures

The discussion and explanations reflect the most commonly used practices and principles. Occasionally, the word “must” or similar language is used where the desired action is deemed critical. The use of such language is not intended to add to, interpret, or relieve a duty imposed by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR). Persons working towards a glider rating are advised to review the references from the applicable practical test standards (FAA-G-8082-4, Sport Pilot and Flight Instructor with a Sport Pilot Rating Knowledge Test Guide, FAA-G-8082-5, Commercial Pilot Knowledge Test Guide, and FAA-G-8082-17, Recreational Pilot and Private Pilot Knowledge Test Guide). Resources for study include FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, FAA-H-8083-2, Risk Management Handbook, and Advisory Circular (AC) 00-6, Aviation Weather For Pilots and Flight Operations Personnel, AC 00-45, Aviation Weather Services, as these documents contain basic material not duplicated herein. All beginning applicants should refer to FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, for study and basic library reference.

It is essential for persons using this section to become familiar with and apply the pertinent parts of 14 CFR and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). The AIM is available online at

The current Flight Standards Service airman training and testing material and learning statements for all airman certificates and ratings can be obtained from

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