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To fly as the hawk and eagle has been mankind's dream for centuries. Modern sailplanes make soaring flight possible, and with them humans can fly higher, faster, and farther than the greatest of birds, using only an invisible force of nature to stay aloft.
The sport is called "soaring" and to pilot as well as spectator, it has universal appeal.
The terms gliding and soaring are used interchangeably.
There are many soaring clubs and commercial operations in the United States. Visit one and you are likely to find the pilots are men, women, and young people whose experience in sailplane flying may vary greatly, but who share a common bond in being participants in one of the world's most satisfying and exhilarating sports.
For sheer beauty, the sport of soaring is unsurpassed. Sailplanes may vary widely in design but they are all graceful - especially when moving through the sky.
Earning your Glider Rating - Your first step is to take an introductory flight in a sailplane. That flight will introduce you to a world you have never known. And it is so exciting that you will want to explore it, to learn more about it and to become part of it. Accept that challenge and you are on your way to becoming a part of the world of glider pilots.
As with any course of study, the more material you read on your own, the faster you'll learn and the more competent you'll be. The Soaring Society of America web site list the requirements to obtain your glider pilot license. Want more information about soaring? Contact one of the glider clubs or commercial operations in your area from the list below.
Bay Area Glider Rides- www.BayAreaGliderRides.com - Hollister Soaring Center - Two locations to serve you. Hollister Airport, Hollister, CA 95023, As well as at the South County Airport, San Martin, CA 95406. Bay Area Glider Rides is a scenic glider ride company that offers flights over the Monterey Bay area. All glider ride flights depart and return to the Hollister Municipal Airport. Flight options are scenic glider rides for 1 or 2 passengers and aerobatic glider rides. Glider ride gift certificates are available. BayAreaGliderRides@yahoo.com 888-467-6276.
Bay Area Soaring Associates, Inc. (BASA) - www.flybasa.org - Hollister Airport, Hollister CA; Truckee Airport, Truckee CA and AirSailing Gliderport, Sparks NV. BASA is a group of pilots who love to fly in high performance sailplanes. The Club owns six sailplanes, three of which are two-place ships. Contact Bryan 650-678-6417 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Central California Soaring Club - www.soaravenal.com - Avenal Airport, Avenal, CA. Central California Soaring Club Membership is open to anyone with an interest in soaring flight. From student pilots to diamond level cross country flying, CCSC membership accommodates everyone. Introductory flights to soaring and the CCSC are available for $99 with one of our certified pilots. You will start with a short briefing on the fundamentals of soaring and a briefing on your flight. Then you will board the glider flown by an experienced pilot. Read more on the Membership Info Page, or email: email@example.com.
Crazy Creek Air Adventures - www.crazycreekairadventures.com. Middletown, CA. Crazy Creek Glider Port lies in the center of a 500 acre privately owned ranch, and has a 4000x150 foot grass runway with a 2500x50 foot paved center section. The surrounding area is dotted with small landing strips, making for relatively easy "first" cross country flights. Soaring conditions are superb, with thermal soaring just about every day and winter wave soaring right overhead the gliderport. The elevation of the gliderport is 970 feet above sea level, there are 4000 foot mountains within ten miles of the airport and 7000 foot mountains 30 miles to the north. Ample space is available for privately owned gliders to be based on the field and you are welcome to fly your own powered aircraft in to visit. Rustic camping is encouraged and RV access is readily available. Unicom is 123.3.Open Friday through Monday. Call 707-987-9293. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hollister Soaring Center www.SoarHollister.com - Hollister Airport, Hollister, CA 95023. The Club offers professional glider flight instruction that will take you from your first flight to solo, and all the way through your FAA Private Pilot Glider certificate. Additional instruction in cross country soaring, and glider aerobatics is also available, as well as training for Commercial Glider and Certified Flight Instructor-Glider certificates. HollisterGlidingClub@yahoo.com 831-636-3799.
NCSA - Northern California Soaring Association - norcalsoaring.org NCSA is located at Byron Airport, near the Altamont Pass and Byron, CA. (See LOCATION on NCSA website) The NCSA is the only club in the bay area that offers its members basic instruction, as well as encouraging progression to cross country soaring. The club has six sailplanes, 4 two seaters and 2 single seaters, 7 instructors and owns a Tow Plane. NCSA operates out of Truckee as well as Byron during the summer season. Youth Scholarships Available. Contact Monique Weil, Vice-President, email@example.com, 510-547-0687. Please come & visit us, weekends only.
Mt. Diablo Soaring, Inc. - Rolf Peterson, Flight Instructor. 2618 Tahoe Drive, Livermore, CA 94550 (510)-447-5620, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Silverado Soaring, Inc. - www.silveradosoaring.org - Silverado is a fun club and is an affordable way to enjoy the sport of soaring - no hourly or per flight fees. Silverado operates out of Truckee, CA during the summer; then out of Minden, NV and Williams, CA during the winter. Silverado has three dual place sailplanes - two Grob 103's & a DG-505. Contact: Bryan Forsyth, President, email@example.com
Siskiyou Soaring - www.siskiyousoaring.com - Offering flight training from the Sport Pilot level through Flight Instructor. Also offering scenic flights. The 2-33 with it's high wing offers unparalleled visibility. The spacious cockpit is easy to get in and out of. It can accommodate weights ranging from 50 to 250 pounds. We operate year round (weather permitting). The winter months with cold stable air create a good environment for both training and scenic adventures. From spring through fall the thermals come alive giving us soaring opportunities. During the soaring season we try to schedule primary training and scenic rides in the morning hours when the air is more stable. More advanced students and experienced riders can enjoy longer more turbulent flights later in the day.
Contact: Vernon Fueston CFI - 530 842-6511 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Soar Truckee, Inc. NOW Truckee Tahoe Soaring Association - www.soartruckee.org Soar Truckee, located in scenic Lake Tahoe, California, just three miles south of Interstate 80, at an elevation of 5,900'. Staffed by experts in the sport of soaring, we offer glider rides over spectacular scenery. We also provide instruction, aero-tow, and other services for the clubs and individuals who love to fly with the eagles in this mountain environment. Soar Truckee also offers an on-site bunkhouse, shower, flush toilets and both on-site and adjacent camping facilities. OPEN: approximate dates mid-May - October 1; P.O. Box 2657, Truckee Airport, Truckee, CA 95734. 530-587-6702
Valley Soaring Association - VSA - www.valleysoaring.net - VSA is hosted by Williams Soaring Center, in Williams, California, about 45 miles north of Sacramento. VSA is an organization of pilots, the club does not own gliders. Although many pilots of the association fly from various gliderports throughout California and Nevada, we all have have a common interest in the William's Soaring Center., 2668 Husted Rd., Williams, CA. Contact Ginny Farnsworth President email@example.com Read WSC's Standard Operating Procedures.
Williams Soaring Center - www.williamssoaring.com -
Pilot Instruction by national award winning instructors. Cross Country
Training, Badges, FAA Examiner. Glider Rides. Full Service Gliderport
located on a private airstrip. FAA Certified Repair Station, Sailplane parts, Equipment,
Pilot Supplies. U.S.A. Dealer for Alexander Schleicher Sailplanes. From Sacramento
take I-5 North for 45 mins, take Williams Exit #577 off I-5, east 1/2
mile to airport. Bunk rooms available at no charge. The most modern all glass fleet of any glider operation. Open
all Year - Thursday through Monday.
Location: 2668 Husted Rd., Williams, CA 95987.
(530) 473-5600, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Honolulu Soaring - www.honolulusoaring.com - Planning a visit to Honolulu, Hawaii. Take a ride, or get checked out and soar the island ridges. Honolulu Soaring Club, Inc. was formed in 1970 and has operated continuously from Dillingham Airfield on Oahu's North Shore. (808)637-0207.
Soar Hawaii - www.soarhawaii.com - Soar Hawaii has been in business for over 24 years. We specialize in sailplane rides and flight training. With a staff of over 15 people, Soar Hawaii takes pride in giving high quality flight training and sailplane rides. Our sailplane operation is located at Dillingham Airfield on the North Shore of Oahu. (808)637-3147.
Air Sailing, Inc. - www.airsailing.org - Air Sailing Gliderport. Air Sailing, Inc. is a tax-exempt organization that owns and operates Air Sailing Gliderport located in Palomino Valley, just 25 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada. Members and non-members are welcome to fly at Air Sailing. Towing services are provided by Air Sailing and Nevada Soaring Association. Camping and RV facilities (hot showers, clubhouse, high-speed wireless internet service) and ample tie-downs are available on the gliderport. For current gliderport conditions and information, contact Lee Edling at (775)-722-9188 or email@example.com. For information regarding Air Sailing, Inc., including membership inquiries, contact Ty White at (510)-504-2217, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association - www.lvvsa.org - The Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association is a non-profit sport glider club dedicated to furthering the sport of soaring. The Club has been in existence since 1988 and includes members from all walks of life and all levels of flight experience. In order to keep costs low, the club is operated entirely by the club members, who donate their time to ensure the smooth operation of all the club functions. The LVVSA is a Chapter of the Soaring Society of America, and membership in the SSA is required of all LVVSA members.
Jean Airport, NV. Mailing address, P.O. Box 19902, Jean, NV 89019-1902, Phone (702) 874-1420 weekends and holidays.
Contact: Jay McDaniel email@example.com
Minden Soaring Club - mindensoaringclub.com - The Minden Soaring Club is a 501 (c)(3), non profit corporation whose purpose is to protect our soaring rights at Minden, and to promote the sport safely at the best gliding spot in the world!
Contact Minden Soaring Club at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Soaring NV hangar at 775.782.9595.
Nevada Soaring Association - NSA - - nevadasoaring.com - Reno, NV. Air Sailing Gliderport, NV. NSA is a non-profit club that operates from the Air Sailing Gliderport to provide economical, well equipped, well trained and supervised recreational soaring for the benefit of its membership. Guest and new memberships are welcome. Pre-solo, local, cross country and advanced soaring are both taught and encouraged. Contact Bob Spielman, email@example.com, 775-560-2406
Soar the Sierra LLC - www.soarthesierra.com - Reno, NV. Soar the Sierra LLC provides rides with views of Pyramid Lake and instruction in a beautiful ASK-21 at Air Sailing Gliderport in the Warm Springs Valley of Reno, NV.
We fly year round, giving instruction in basic soaring techniques, badge flying, cross country, ridge and wave flying. We provide Biennial Flight Reviews and a $99 introductory lesson is available.
Contact: Neita Montague at 775-742-5911 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NV - www.soaringnv.com -
SoaringNV provides rides, instruction, aero-tow, aero-retrieves, oxygen, flight currency reviews, weather briefings and more, in the friendly atmosphere of our hangar on the Minden-Tahoe Airport.
Read their great article the Sierra Nevada Geotourism Map guide website about the High Sierra Mountain Wave in a Glider.
Minden-Tahoe (Douglas County) Airport, 1140B Airport Rd, Minden, NV 89423 Call (775) 782-9595
Southern California - Region 12
Santa Barbara Soaring - www.sbsoaring.com - Santa Barbara Soaring (SBS) is located in the scenic Santa Ynez Valley just 20 miles from Santa Barbara. SBS bought the assets of Windhaven Gliders and combined those with our Schweitzer 232 and Piper Pawnee tow plane. We now have two tow planes supporting private glider operators as well as offering scenic rides over the "Ronald Reagon Ranch", Michael Jackson's former "Neverland" ranch, the Vandenberg AFB launch pads, and the beautiful coastlines around Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands. Phone (805) 688-2517.
Southern California Soaring Academy - www.SoaringAcademy.org - is the premier glider flight school in Southern California and is located at Crystalaire airport (46CN) in the high desert of Los Angeles, just over 1 hour driving time from L.A. At Crystalaire nearly everyday is flyable. Tucked against the north side of the San Gabriel mountains the best year round soaring in the U.S. is found here. We are the only glider port in L.A. County. Crystalaire Airport, 32810 165th St. East Llano, CA 93544. Phone 661-944-1090.
United States Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association - USHPA - www.ushpa.aero. The national association for both hang gliding and paragliding. (Similar to the SSA) It is a nonprofit membership association with 25 elected representatives. It provides many services such as pilot rating, instructor certification, and full color magazines. It maintains a membership in the FAI, the international governing body for all forms of private aviation, both powered and non powered. This allows Hang Glider and Paraglider pilots to apply for world records and compete and earn points in international competitions. Perhaps most important of all, it is the liaison with the FAA and is the main reason that no pilot license is required to fly either hang gliders or paragliders in this country (some other countries do actually require government licensing).
Airtime of San Francisco - http://paragliding-lessons.com - Professional Paragliding Instruction and Tandem Flights by Jeff Greenbaum who has been teaching paragliding in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988. phone Jeff Greenbaum (415) 310-7411.
Bay Area Paragliding Club - BAPA - http://www.sfbapa.org/ has members from all over the Bay Area and beyond. They meet on the first Wednesday of each month at the Round Table Pizza in Pacifica. Meeting times do change from summer to winter so check their web site for current times. They manage the Dumps, Stables, Mt. Diablo (PG permit only) and Mt. Tam (PG permit only) flying sites.
Marin County Hang Gliding Association - MCHGA - www.mchga.org - MCHGA draws members predominately from the North, upper East Bay and San Francisco. The majority of members are hang glider pilots but there several "bi-wingual" and paraglider pilot members as well. They meet on the third Thursday of every month, but the location varies, so check their web page for meeting location. They maintain the Mt. Tam hang gliding site.
Merlin Flight School - www.merlinflightschool.com - is a professional school specializing in customized foot launched flight instruction. Our students consistently are among the best trained and safest pilots around. (415) 456-3670 email@example.com
Mission Soaring - www.hang-gliding.com - Mission Soaring Center has been serving the Northern California hang gliding community since 1973. Owner Pat Denevan is a leader in the development of modern hang gliding training standards and the USHGA Instructor Certification. 1116 Wrigley Way Milpitas, CA 95035 Phone - (408) 262-1055 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sonoma Wings - www.sonomawings.com - Hosts members that fly both hang gliders and paragliders. Serving Sonoma, Mendocino, and Napa counties. They meet on the third Thursday of every month at 7:00pm at the Stony Point Round Table Pizza in Santa Rosa. Their sites are Hull Mt., Mt. St. Helena, Goat Rock State Park, and St. John. Several Hang Glider flights have been made from St. John to Yreka, CA (near Montague) and to Burney Mt.
Wings of Rogollo - WOR - www.wingsofrogallo.org WOR draws most of its membership from the East Bay, southern Peninsula and San Jose area. It has both hang glider and paraglider membership. They meet on the third Tuesday of every month at the Omega Restaurant. Social hour starts at 7:00pm and the meeting starts at 8:00pm. If you want to eat come early because the room usually fills up. They are responsible for the Ed Levin, Mission Ridge and Mt. Diablo (HG permit only) flying sites.