There isn’t one anymore. The two words mean the same thing in the soaring (sailplane/glider) community. There is a difference between a “gliding” flight and a “soaring” flight, and that’s where the two terms originated.
A gliding flight is one where the glider/sailplane descends from its release altitude back to the earth without sustaining altitude using rising air currents. A soaring flight uses lifting air (thermals in our case around Cadillac) to extend the duration of the flight. Decades ago, gliders could only glide and a pilot needed a sailplane to soar, but they’re all capable of soaring now.
The FAA uses only “glider” in its regulations.
The cost for an Introductory Flight is $195.
The entire experience from entering to exiting the glider lasts about 45 minutes. The time from when the glider begins its takeoff roll behind the towplane until it stops upon landing is about 25 minutes. However, every flight is dependent upon what’s going on in the air around the airport. A flight might be a little shorter, or if there are thermals (rising columns of warm air), your pilot may treat you to an extended “soaring” flight. Fun!
We have a strict weight limit of 242 lbs for a passenger.
Although we do our best to stay on schedule, flying gliders is dependent upon many factors, especially in an all-volunteer club. Please understand that your scheduled flight time is approximate and you may be visiting with us for awhile before you fly.
We don’t have a minimum age limit. However, the passenger sits in the seat by themselves, so it’s critical that a child be able to understand and follow directions.
Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who can sign the permission form on their behalf.
No maximum age limit! Gliding is for the young and young at heart.
Yes, it’s the only way we conduct Introductory Flights. Use the “Book A Flight” button at the top the page to schedule your flight.
That’s not necessary. You may pay by cash or credit card at the field when you take your Introductory Flight.
The “Intro Flight” page on this website has detailed directions and a map.
Just dress as you would for any outdoor activity on the day you fly. The temperature at 3,000’ above the field, inside the glider, isn’t much colder than on the ground.
Many of us pilots have a fear of heights, but don’t experience this sensation when flying. The reason is because we are inside of an aircraft that will gently carry us back to where we started with no sensation of falling. Most likely, this will be the same for you as well.
Yes, they have a Private Pilot’s License for Gliders issued by the FAA. Student pilots are permitted to fly solo with a Student Pilot’s License if they meet the necessary knowledge and skill requirements, have their instructor’s permission, and their instructor is on the ground at the airport and able to observe their flight.