Glider licenses are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and in that regard is similar to that issued to power pilots or balloon pilots. The FAA maintains a list of frequently asked questions for new pilots and requirements for pilot licensing are included in Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. The basic requirements are as follows:
Student pilots may solo at a minimum age of 14 with a student certificate endorsed for solo flight at the discretion of a FAA-Certified Flight Instructor for Gliders (CFIG). Generally, 30 to 40 flights with a CFIG are required to solo. This is roughly equivalent to 10-12 hours of flight time and is dependent upon the progress of the student.
After solo, student pilots may qualify as a Private Pilot-Glider provided they:
Commercial Pilots-Glider must be at least 18-years of age, pass a written FAA examination, hold a Private Pilot license with 25 hours of flight time in gliders and 100 glider flights as pilot-in-command, or a total of 200 hours of flight time in heavier-than-air aircraft including 20 glider flights as pilot-in-command, 3 hours or ten flights training in a glider, and five solo flights in a glider and pass a flight test.
Certified Flight Instructors-Glider
Certified Flight Instructors-Glider must hold a commercial rating, pass a written and flight test and have an endorsement from a qualified instructor of aeronautical knowledge and flight of proficiency.
Additional Pilot Rating
Holders of a valid FAA Power plane license with 40 hours as pilot-in-command need a minimum of 10 solo flights to qualify to take the glider flight test. No written exam is required to add a glider rating to a power license. In all cases, refer to the Federal Aviation Regulations for details on pilot licensing.