Glider Instruction

Introductory Lesson Package
If you are a beginner to gliders (whether non-pilot or "add-on"), and wish to sample our training environment, we recommend this special. It includes two hours one-on-one with a Flight Instructor, up to an hour of flight time in a Schweizer 2-33 training glider, and up to 9,000 feet of aerotow spread over one to three tows. We'll even include a glider pilot logbook in which to keep a record of your training flights! $259 for one student. Not available for two people flying together.
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Five-Day Course
An intensive course of thirty flights, normally three in the morning and three more in the afternoon, for five consecutive days. Price is based on an average tow height of 2,500' and average duration of 20 minutes, and includes up to 10 hours Schweizer 2-33 rental, 10 hours flight instruction and 10 hours ground instruction. Extra long or higher performance sailplane flights may incurr a surcharge. Frequently sufficient to take the average individual with no flying experience to the solo stage, or from solo to the practical test for license. Also, often sufficient preparation for an experienced airplane pilot to add a glider rating. $2,650 for one student; not available for two people flying together. (Intended mainly for out-of-town visitors--see accommodation options at "Directions" button. Local students on a budget should consider our "Club membership" frequent customer subscription plan--click "Member Area" flag top right. )

Hourly Instruction
$ 50/hr ($ 36/hr for MHG Club members), in Flight
$ 50/hr ($ 36/hr for MHG Club members), on the Ground

No Flying Experience?
Great. You can start lessons with us and progress at your own pace until you receive an FAA Private Pilot Certificate with a Glider rating. Learning to fly is a step-by-step process that almost anyone can master, and gliders are simpler than airplanes. Most people take a few months to become certificated, scheduling one lesson per week. If you want to expedite your training and take several lessons every day, you can be finished in as little as two weeks given optimum weather. A Private Pilot Certificate qualifies you to carry passengers, rent gliders here and at other gliderports, or fly your own sailplane. Total cost including instruction, glider rental, tows and study materials will vary, but can be as low as $3,000. Time and cost to solo (FAA Student Pilot Certificate) is a little more than half.

Licensed Pilot?
Also great. Welcome to the great air sport of soaring! If you already have a Pilot Certificate with a Heavier than Air rating (e.g. Airplane), your prior flight experience will allow you to add a glider rating in a few days for as little as $2,650. In this case, The FAA waives the requirements for taking the Glider Knowledge Test and for holding a current Medical Certificate (however, you should "self-certify" yourself as healthy).

Specialized Services
Our instructors can provide advanced instruction on request in areas such as high-altitude wave flying, ridge and mountain soaring, competition, and aerobatics. We coach pilots in cross-country techniques year-round - see our Powerpoint sales pitch, or our Lecture outline. We also have a Grob 103 equipped with hands-only controls for handicapped students. For Knowledge Test preparation, we stock all the familiar books, including the glider-focused "Glider Pilots Ground School" texts from Dave Seymour and family. We recommend their traveling one day GPGS Test Prep Course, call 1-877-FLY-GPGS.

Youth Scholarships
Youth Scholarships are open to Northern Colorado residents. FAA glider ratings are available as young as 14, glider operations thrive with energetic teenagers, and soaring is a social, technical, nature sport that kids grasp readily to their own great benefit. Grants of up to $1,000 are available on a competitive basis for soaring study at Mile High Gliding. Applications and recommendations will be reviewed periodically by the Mile High Youth Gliding Association, Inc. (an IRS 501(C)3 organization). Rental income from their "Baby Grob" on lease-back at MHG accrues to the fund and they welcome tax-exempt donations from the public at any time. For more information, visit the MHYGA page. Occasional small "retention" grants are also available to impressive young MHG students in memory of Sylvia Bond, the mother of MHG's owner. SSB has a small youth grant for members. In addition, MHG students have had success in national flight scholarship competitions, such as those offered by SSA, CAP, 99s, EAA, and Cypress Soaring [368k .PDF].

Youth Employment
During the summer, our busier ground operations run more smoothly with line crew assistants. We hire teenagers interested in flying who can hustle better than we can. We pay $8/hr in flight credit redeemable at "MHG Club" rates. In practice this means about 1 training flight per day of gliderport work. Lessons learned "working the line" are free yet valuable. Interested youth should first take the "online Wing-runner course" at the Soaring Safety Foundation website. The quiz and completion diploma do not require CAP or SSA membership, click "SSA members click here" to take the quiz.

Our FAA Certificated Flight Instructor staff includes:

  • Elliot Crawford - Designated Pilot Examiner Glider
  • Doug Ball - Cheif Pilot



We have great success starting people in the Schweizer 2-33A glider, which is inexpensive, simple, stable, and forgiving. Quick progress to solo and PVT glider certificate can be made in these stick-and-rudder machines without radios or advanced systems. In the bargain, students develop conservative glide management habits to serve them well in higher performance adventures. With the 2-33 mastered, we can then offer worry-free transitions to more demanding 35:1 Grobs (G103, G102) and 40:1 state-of-the-art sailplanes (Duo Discus).

Although space is limited on the airport property, we have a small indoor classroom with DSL wireless internet access for Weather info and FAA IACRA processing. Our enclosed climate controlled deck has a soda-stocked refrigerator and briefing desk with charts. Student Pilot Certificates may be issued for a fee by visiting DPEs, or obtained at the FAA FSDO at DIA. Knowledge Tests may be taken with Christe LaserGrade across the airport.

Each year, we generate dozens of FAA glider Certificates, either initial or additional rating, ranging from Student to CFI. We are also a USA leader in awarding SSA ABC badges and filing FAI badge claims. See our photo gallery.

The Training Process

(for an overview of SSA to-solo and FAA to-PVT guidelines, view those pages from our MHG Logbook)

The usual lesson session lasts 2 hours and is one-on-one with your Instructor. It begins with ground instruction and a preflight briefing, then one or more glider flights are made, finishing up with a postflight critique. Lesson times should be reserved in advance. Instructors are on daily duty and it will be normal (and fruitful) for you to fly with different individual coaches as you progress.

Phases of Training 
Flight lessons are organized into five progressive groups of tasks that include all the areas of aeronautical knowledge and flight proficiency specified in the FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations). These phases are covered with every student. Licensed pilots transitioning to gliders will usually spend about half the time in each phase that a beginner would.

1. Basic Flying Phase
Here you will learn about the effects of the controls, and how to perform straight glides, turns, slips, slow flight and stalls, how to interpret flight instruments and maintain vigilance for air traffic, and how to take off and follow the towplane. Tow altitudes for these flights are 2,000 to 3,000 feet above ground level (AGL).

2. Landing Phase 
After your basic flying abilities have developed, a number of shorter flights are used to refine your judgment and skill in patterns and landings. In these lessons, you will take several tows to 1,200 feet AGL.

3. Review and Emergencies 
In this phase, your Instructor will teach you how to cope safely with abnormal occurrences such as incipient spins, towrope breaks, and returns to the airport at low altitude. You will also review maneuvers covered in the first two phases and take a short pre-solo written test before making your first solo flight!

4. Solo Flying Phase
During this period you will be flying mostly by yourself on a Student Pilot Certificate or logbook endorsement for solo in category, with periodic instruction flights to monitor your improvement and ensure good flying habits. To earn a Private Pilot Certificate which confers passenger carrying privileges, student pilots need a minimum of 20 glider flights totaling at least 10 hours in the air, including a minimum of 10 solo flights totaling at least 2 hours, and also must study for and pass the FAA glider Knowledge Test. Airplane pilots adding a glider rating need a minimum of 3 hours in gliders, including a minimum of 10 solo flights of any duration, and no Knowledge Test or current Medical Certificate are required.

5. Preparation for Practical Test 
In this final stage, your Instructor will work closely with you on both flight and ground lessons to make sure you are knowledgeable and proficient in all areas before signing you off to take the FAA Practical Test (an oral test and a flight test) with a pilot Examiner. The FARs require at least 3 training flights in this preparation phase. After passing the Practical Test, you will be issued your Private Pilot Certificate with glider rating.