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 (Glider Pilot Ratings) are included in Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. The basic requirements are below. The Where To Fly Map is the easy way to locate your closest training center.


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:

  • Are at least 16 years of age; and
  • Have logged at least 10 hours of flight time in a glider and that flight time must include at least 20 total glider flights, and
  • Have 2 hours of solo flight time in a glider, and
  • Have passed the FAA written examination; and
  • Have passed the flight exam with a FAA Examiner.


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 must…

  • Hold a commercial rating
  • Pass a written and flight test
  • Have an endorsement from a qualified instructor of aeronautical knowledge and flight of proficiency


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.