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SSA FAI Badge Record Home Page

  • Click here to find information about Badge and Record Links, Contacts, and Sporting Code
  • Click here to see available forms for badges and records
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  • If your questions are not answered here then e-mail badgeandrecords@ssa.org
  • E-MAILING OF Applications and files. Only Badge and State Record Flights  I will accept e-mails of .igc files and Applications scanned as PDF if sent together.  I cannot accept separate mailings or emails of files and applications. If you are sending documents, they must be scanned as PDF files.

Posted: 1/27/2007

Badges and Records of the SSA


The SSA ABC Training Program was developed at the prompting of Society members to have a standard of training available. It is designed to provide a basic approach to flying for the student glider pilot as well as to give the accomplished power pilots the necessary points unique to soaring so that the transition may be made safely.

This program is administered by designated SSA Instructors who must have 50 hours of glider time with 100 flights and hold a current CFI-Glider.

The SSA Instructor is responsible for ascertaining that the training requirements have been met. The appropriate pins and blue cards are awarded to the students who achieve the level indicated by A, B, C, and Bronze, each designated to develop skills and experience necessary for future safe flight and FAI Badge attempts.

Requirements (All Badges):

Applicant Must be a Current Member of the Soaring Society of America, or the membership dues should accompany the badge application form.

A Badge Requirements:     Photo #7170 | A BAdge
Preflight Phase

Applicant Demonstrates Knowledge of:

  • Sailplane Nomenclature
  • Sailplane Handling Procedures
  • Sailplane Pre-flight Check
  • Airport Rules and Federal Aviation Regulations
  • Tow Equipment, Signals, and Procedures
  • Hook-up of Towline
  • Launch Signals
  • Pilot Responsibilities

Applicant Possesses:

  • Valid FAA Pilot Certificate
  • Pilot Logbook or Suitable Permanent Record

Presolo Phase

Applicant Has Completed the Following Minimum Flight Training Program:

  • Familiarization Flight
  • Cockpit Check Procedure
  • Effects of Controls - Ground and Flight
  • Takeoff Procedures - Normal and Crosswind
  • Flight During Tow
  • Straight Gliding Flight
  • Shallow Turns
  • Circuit Procedures and Landing Patterns
  • Landing Procedures - Normal, Downwind, and Crosswind
  • Moderate and Steep Turns Up to 720 Degrees in Both Directions
  • Stall Recognition and Recovery
  • Conditions of Spin Entry and Recovery
  • Effective Use of Spoilers/Flaps/Slips
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Oral Examination on Federal Aviation Regulations
  • Solo Flight

B Badge Requirements:     Photo #7171 | B Badge
Practice Phase

Applicant Demonstrates:

  • Soaring ability by a solo flight of at least 30 minutes duration after release from a 2,000-foot tow (add 1½ minutes per 100 foot tow altitude above 2,000 feet).

C Badge Requirements:     Photo #7172 | C Badge
Pre Cross-country Phase

Applicant Has Completed the Following Flight Training:

    • Dual Soaring Practice, including instruction in techniques for soaring thermals, ridge soaring, and wave (simulated flight and/or ground instruction may be used when suitable conditions do not exist).
    • Has Knowledge of:
      • Cross-country Procedures
      • Sailplane Assembly, Disassembly, and Retrieves
      • Hazards of Cross-country Flying
    • Demonstrates Soaring Ability by Solo Flight of at Least 60 Minutes Duration After Release From 2,000 Foot Tow (add 1½ minutes per 100 foot of tow above 2,000 feet).
    • While Accompanied by an SSA Instructor, Demonstrate the Following:
      • Make a Simulated Off-field Landing From the Approach Without Reference to the Altimeter
      • Perform an Accuracy Landing From the Approach, Touching Down and Coming to a Complete Stop Within an Area No Greater Than 500 Feet in Length.


Bronze Badge Requirements      Photo #7173 | Bronze Badge
(study guide available here):

Cross-Country Readiness

Applicant Must:

  • Complete the ABC Training Program with the C Badge Awarded.
  • Log at Least 15 Solo Hours in Gliders. This Time Must Include 30 Solo Flights with at Least 10 Flights Flown in a Single-Place Glider if Possible.
  • Log at Least 2 Flights, Each Having Duration of Two Hours or More.
  • Perform at Least 3 Solo Spot Landings in a Glider Witnessed by an SSAI. The Accuracy and Distance Parameters Established Should be Based on Glider Performance Data, Current Winds, Runway Surface, and Density Altitude. As a Guideline, a Maximum Distance of 400 Feet Would be Acceptable for a Schweizer 2-33 Glider.
  • Log Dual Time in Gliders with an Instructor during which at Least 2 Accuracy Landings are Made without Reference to the Altimeter to Simulate Off-field Landings.
  • Pass a Closed Book Written Examination Covering Cross-country Techniques and Knowledge. The Minimum Passing Score is 80%. This Examination is Administered Only by an SSAI.

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Established in the 1930's, Federation Aeronautique Internationale ("FAI") Badges acknowledge internationally-recognized levels of soaring achievement. The hundreds of Badge applications reviewed by SSA's Badge and Record office each year reflect the popularity of this challenging and rewarding program, administered in compliance with the FAI Sporting Code.

Detailed information about the program and requirements can be obtained directly from The Soaring Society of America.

FAI Silver Badge     Photo #7174 | Silver Badge

The FAI Silver Badge involves 3 required elements. Silver Altitude is a 1,000-meter (3,281-foot) altitude gain above an in-flight low point; Silver Duration is a 5-hour flight time after tow release and Silver Distance is A straight distance flight from a start at release to a finish fix located at least 50 km from release and at least 50 km from the fix recorded at the beginning of the take-off roll.

FAI Gold Badge     Photo #7175 | Gold Badge

The FAI Gold Badge involves 2 required elements. Gold Altitude is a 3,000-meter (9,843-foot) altitude gain above an in-flight low point; Gold Distance is a 300-km (186.42-mile) cross country flight.

FAI Diamond Badge    Photo #7181 | Diamond Badge

The FAI Diamond Badge involves 3 required elements. Diamond Altitude is a 5,000-meter (16,404-foot) altitude gain above an in-flight low point; Diamond Goal is a 300-km (186.42-mile) cross country flight using a pre-declared Out and Return or Triangle course; Diamond Distance is a 500-km (310.7-mile) cross country flight.

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Diplome Badges - (750k and 1000k badges shown)

Photo #7176 | 750k BadgePhoto #7177 | 100k Badge


FAI Diploma flights begin with a minimum distance of 750 km and increase
in 250 km increments.


A Diploma is awarded once only for the incremental distance immediately less than the distance flown.

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In 1995, The Soaring Society of America adopted the SSA Distance Award. Pilots' accumulated cross-country soaring miles add up in the SSA Distance Award Program, which uses the Carl Herold Handicap system to equalize distances for glider performance. Written notice of flight claims must be submitted within 7 days and flight documentation must be turned in within 45 days of the flight. In every other way, application procedures parallel those in place for FAI Badge flights. Applicants may submit any number of documented cross country flight claims, each accompanied by a $10 processing fee.

The SSA Distance Award winner, second- and third-place pilots are determined each calendar year, based on the SSA Distance Award points granted for each pilot's best flight in each of four flight categories: Straight Distance to a Goal; Out and Return; Triangle Distance and Free Distance.

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Photo #7178 | Wave 1Photo #7179 | Wave 2Photo #7180 | Wave 3

Lennie Pins

In the late 1940's when Robert F. Symons, a mountain pilot and wave pilot pioneer, was working out of the airport at Bishop, California, he instigated a new and unique system of awards for wave flying which he called "lennie" pins. Pilots who soared to great heights in the Sierra Wave received a one-lennie pin for attaining an altitude of 25,000 to 35,000 feet, a two-lennie pin for reaching 35,000 to 40,000 feet, and a three-lennie pin for exceeding 40,000 feet.

Very early, Symons recognized the excellent soaring conditions in the Owens Valley and helped organize a soaring group in 1938. As a professional pilot engaged in cloud seeding, he learned first hand of the power generated in the Sierra Wave and became well-known for his studies and lectures on mountain wave phenomena. Although his lists are incomplete, it is believed that he issued some 35 one-lennie, 16 two-lennie, and 10 three-lennie pins. The awarding of these pins ceased in 1958, when Symons lost is life in a glider accident.

In 1962, Carl Burson Jr., saw one of these pins and upon learning of its history, became interested in re-establishing their issuance as a memorial to Bob Symons. In 1963, the program was re-established under the official auspices of SSA, with each new pin holder also receiving a handsome wall plaque. The pin itself is 7mm in diameter (the same as the FAI Gold Badge) and has one, two or three white lenticular clouds set off against a blue background with a silver rim. Each pin is consecutively numbered.

All applications for lennie pins should be made on the standard SSA badge application form. More detailed information can be obtained by contacting the SSA directly.

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World Distance Award     Photo #7184 | World Distance Award

On Jan 1, 1992, The Soaring Society of America Board of Directors approved the World Distance Award. The purpose of the award is to promote and encourage cross-country soaring on a long term basis. The award is presented to pilots who accumulate through a series of cross-country soaring flights a total of 40,000 km, the distance around the earth. There is no time limit for accumulating the total distance.

This award is conducted on the honor system. Turnpoints do no have to be declared prior to take off. No barograph or GPS trace is rquired. Any reported flight distance must be greater that 50 km after being corrected for the difference between start and finish altitude as stated in the Guidelines. There is no documentation to submit other than the pilots yearly distance accumulation. The distance accumulation is to be reported to the WDA Administrator when each 5,000 km level is achieved or at least the end of each year. A one time registration fee of $20 is required at the time of registration.

Certificates will be awarded to participants for each 5,000 km distance level achieved distance and name of pilot will be reported in Soaring Magazine.. Upon achieving 40,000 km, a ring, representing an orbit of the earth, will be made available to the pilot at a nominal cost. This ring is designed to attach to any FAI Silver, Gold, or Diamond badge. A photo of the ring mounted to a Gold badge is on the bottom of the WDA Guidelines.

Posted: 7/16/2007

FAI Badge and Records Committee 

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