Soaring Badges2023-01-23T17:41:50-07:00

Badges & Records

Develop skills & experience necessary for safe flight.

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. Applicants must be current Soaring Society of America Members.


Is there a requirement for a GPS logger altitude calibration for a Diamond distance flight?2021-04-29T16:58:10-06:00

The answer is yes. For Diamond Distance tasks an official observer and flight recorder are required. Official Observer: An Official Observer is a member of SSA who holds at least an SSA B Badge, and has a working knowledge of the FAI Sporting Code as it pertains to gliders.

Are the start and finish points required to be in my declaration?2020-09-28T15:55:48-06:00

Start and finish points for badges are only required for diamond goal flights. For records, triangle flights and goal flights require you to cross the same 1 km line used at the start for your finish. For other records start and finish points should be declared but can be release or MOP stop or landing or MOP start. On free distance flights, your start and finish points are selected post flight.

How is the release point determined on my flight?2020-09-28T15:38:47-06:00

The standard hard right turn after release from tow plane or winch determines the release point. If using a motor glider – the MOP recording determines when the engine is stopped or started. Be sure to test that this variable is working correctly before attempting any badge or record flight. If your motor is running and not recording, your flight would be invalidated. This is especially an issue with electric engines that may not record.

Is OLC data valid for a badge or record flight?2020-09-28T15:54:39-06:00

OLC data cannot be used for badge or record flight. Original IGC file is required. OLC data is valid for Kolstad award flights.

When are flight recorder calibrations required?2020-09-28T15:34:17-06:00

Flight recorders must be calibrated every 5 years or within 2 months after every flight.

What are the time limits to send in applications.2020-09-28T15:53:48-06:00

Badge flights must be submitted within 6 months of the flight. State records must notify within 10 days of the flight and postmark or email documentation within 45 days of the flight or within 15 days of required post-flight calibration. US national and international record flights must notify within 48 hours of the flight and mail original documents postmarked within 45 days of the flight or within 15 days of required post-flight calibration.

Notification must include the following:
1) Names and SSA numbers for pilot(s) and observer
2) Start point location (city/airport and state)
3) Sailplane type
4) Record category and class
5) Record type
6) Record claim (include values)
7) Date of flight (UTC finish time)

May I claim more than one accomplishment per flight?2020-09-28T15:27:48-06:00

In most cases if you meet the minimum requirements for each task you can apply for multiple completions at different badge levels or different records in multiple record categories or types.

Who can be an observer for badge and state record flights?2020-09-28T15:58:03-06:00

Any SSA member with at least a B badge may act as observer, or be the airport manager, or be appointed by

How do I become a senior observer for international record flights?2020-09-28T15:52:22-06:00

Contact to complete an open book exam on sporting code. You must also have some experience as observer or show the completion of badges or records. You will be specifically authorized in writing for a period of three years and can be renewed on request.

May I bring a passenger on a flight for awards, badges, or records2020-09-28T15:57:08-06:00

A passenger is not allowed on badge and most award flights. A passenger is allowed on record flights and will be listed on the certificate or state records. If it’s for a US national or international record the passenger will be listed if both pilot and passenger have current sporting licenses. You may have a passenger on the Symons award flight and both will receive the pin if the fee has been paid.

Where may I find help for preflight planning of badges and records?2020-09-28T15:58:42-06:00

Your observer should be able to help with that, and for further information you can contact

Where do I find current sporting code, approved flight recorder information, and applications?2021-01-04T19:20:24-07:00

You can find them on the Badges or Awards Page. All information on Sporting code, approved flight recorders, applications for badges and records, Badge instructions, State record applications, Kolstad Application, SSA distance award application and World Distance award information and application. Be sure to refresh your browser to bring up the most current documentation and not an old one you used before.

When are sporting licenses required?2020-09-28T15:59:08-06:00

An FAI sporting license is required for all record attempts (except state records) and all FAI sanctioned events and competitions. Sporting license applicants must be a member of NAA and/or a current member of the appropriate NAA air sport organization. NAA members participating in competitions and/or record setting activities can receive a one-year FAI sporting license at no cost but must complete and application for the sporting license. You can apply for a sporting license here:

Are electronic declarations required?2023-12-08T14:37:52-07:00

Electronic flight data and a DECLARATION are required except where specifically exempt. For the details regarding each different type of badge claim, See the current FAI Sporting code for Gliding, Sections 1.4 and 2.3”.

If I want to complete a task from an airfield that is unattended and does not have any SSA members, how may I have an observer?2020-09-28T15:43:00-06:00

For badges, state and US national records, you may email with the name, address, email and phone number of anyone that will be with you – wife, friend, etc. and you will receive authorization to use that person as observer. Review the observer procedures in the sporting code.

Do I need to make declarations for silver distance badge legs?2020-09-28T15:41:45-06:00

There are no declarations required for any silver badge task.

ABC Bronze Training Program

A Soaring Badge Achievement soaring badges

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 Soaring Badge Achievement soaring badges

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 Soaring Badge Achievement soaring badges

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 soaring badges

Bronze Badge

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.

FAI Badges

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.

Fai Silver Badge soaring badges

FAI 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 soaring badges

FAI 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 soaring badges

FAI 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.
K Diplome Badge soaring badges
K Diplome Badge soaring badges

Diplome Badges – (750k & 1000k)

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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