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How much will it cost me to go Solo?
We reckon that typically it will cost somewhere between 650 - 1250 to get to solo standard but this varies enormously depending on a number of factors the two main ones being:-
  1. Your aptitude for learning the skills involved in gliding and
  2. How frequently you undertake training sessions (referred to as your degree of "currency")
Learning to glide is a bit like learning to drive a car. Hand-eye co-ordination, judgement, awareness and the like are all needed. An understanding of mechanics is not needed to drive a car, just a basic knowledge of the functions of the controls. Gliding is the same - you don't need to know very much about how a glider works, just what the controls do. If you found it easy to learn to drive, you will probably find it easy to learn to glide. Age has an influence. The younger you are the easier you may find it to learn - this is the same as for most things. However, age is no barrier. We have had many newcomers to gliding starting after reaching retirement age and becoming competent solo pilots. In fact some of the country's best competition pilots are not in their "first flush of youth".
The less time between your lessons the less you will forget between each. If you can only come gliding say 2 mornings a month then you will spend a lot of time trying to pick up on the skills you have let get rusty since your previous lesson. Conversely, if you can attend regularly on a weekly basis say or come on a week's course then you will make better progress.

So, bearing in mind the above, the table below gives the cost likely to be incurred to get to solo standard based on the current cost of annual membership, joining fee, winch launches and cost per minute of the club's two seat training gliders.

Number of Launches 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110
Likelihood of going solo in this time Very unlikely Unlikely Possible Possible Typical Typical Typical Typical Possible Unusual
Average Flight Time (mins) Cost in s (as of 22/07/2008)
5 474 544 634 714 794 874 954 1034 1114 1194
10 508 605 702 799 896 993 1090 1187 1284 1381
15 542 656 770 884 998 1112 1226 1340 1454 1568

Where the unit costs* are:-

Winch Launch 6.30* The cost of the winch to get you off the ground
Glider cost per minute 34.2p* The hire charge of the club glider
Membership per year 275 The anual cost of membership of the SGC
Capitation Fee 39.50** The BGA use this to administer the sport

* (Including following year club rebate).
**Because we are a Scottish club we are members of both the British Gliding Association and the Scottish Gliding Association

Note the actual unit costs vary according to various factors such as whether you are a student (cheaper) and whether you continue your club membership into the following year (rebate scheme). See the club tariff for full details.

For comparison purposes, one instructor's records show that over 1000 instructional winch launches, the average flight time was 12.2 minutes. Again this can vary enormously - from less than 1 minute duration when launch emergencies are being taught to over 3 hours when the opportunity to fly cross country is taken.

To summarise, learning to fly a glider will probably cost you 650-1250 compared to learning to fly a powered aircraft where the cost is likely to be nearer to 3000-5000.

But remember, the bottom line is that the costs given above are likely estimates and are not guaranteed and depend mostly on yourself.
Portmoak Airfield, Scotlandwell, Near Kinross KY13 9JJ    Tel. 01592 840543    Office Hours   Contact Us