Flight Instruction

What to Expect


 Flight Instruction at HHSC

Thank you for your interest in the Harris Hill Soaring Corporation! We look forward to getting to know you. This letter is to explain what you can expect, and what is expected of you, to get your glider license with our club. The instructional courses offered at HHSC are:

Private Pilot Course
Introduction to Cross-Country Soaring (Optional)
Commercial License (Optional)
Certified Flight Instructor (Optional)

The Private Pilot Course is described here. Once it is completed you may decide to try cross-country soaring with one of our cross-country instructors. You may want to help the club by flying glider rides or instructing other students. These programs are completed by teaming up with the appropriate instructor and that person takes you through the necessary learning.

For each certificate, Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot, and Certified Flight Instructor you must pass a written test and a practical test (oral exam and flight test) with an FAA representative.

Opportunities for instruction are:

Weekend mornings from 10 am until 2 pm
Wednesday evenings during the soaring season
By individual appointment with a flight instructor

Expectations of You as a Student

The first thing that must be said about expectations at HHSC is that the instructors do not get paid - and you do not pay for instruction. The dedicated instructors teach because they love to fly and want to pass the experience on to you. Instructors who are not on the duty schedule on a given day may be too busy enjoying soaring themselves to fly with you. That's okay; just ask again at another time. Be pleasantly persistent. Many shy people have quit the club because nobody asked them to go flying. Don't be shy.

All club members who fly at Harris Hill are expected to obtain a private pilot license. As a student pilot (pre-solo or post solo), you are "under the wing" of a club instructor. When you become a certified private pilot, you are fully responsible for your own actions. It is not fair to our club instructors to hang on as a student pilot indefinitely. It does take time but keep moving toward certification.

You will see there is a fair amount of self study required to obtain your license. Do your homework, and be prepared for your flight lessons.

Of course, the usually rules of courtesy apply. Be on time for lessons.

Our club is a cooperative effort. Students who show up for their turn to fly and then disappear until next time will not be as successful as students who stay to help the operation. The instructors are giving of their time. They expect the same of you. Do something extra around the field to help the operation.

Approximate Cost and Time

A student who has never flown before can expect to fly 35 to 65 flights to learn to solo at HHSC and another 10-15 flight prepping for the FAA Private Pilot Test. There is a wide variability in the number of pre-solo flights due to age, ability and the frequency of the training flights.

Using a conservative estimate of 75 flights, and an average per flight cost of $25 (2010 rates) the flight costs would total $1875. Plan on having a total of $2500 available to also account for books and examiner fees. Significant discounts are available to junior members aged 14-18 years old.

It is not easy fly 75 flights in one soaring season in our club setting. Two soaring seasons would be a reasonable expectation for a motivated student.

Other Flight Training Options

As described above, the club environment is certainly not full service. If your life is busy or you wish to complete your training is a shorter time, you may get frustrated with our club's instructional program. There are commercial options available and can be found at either Let’sGoGliding.com or www.ssa.org or ask a club member for a recommendation.

Know that after obtaining your license you will still need to obtain some flight instruction through HHSC as there are local conditions with which you must become familiar. Each new glider type at HHSC will require a sign off from a club instructor.

Flight Instructors

The flight instructors at Harris Hill represent significant soaring experience. In a given month during the soaring season a different instructor will be on duty each weekend morning. A smaller group of instructors get together Wednesday nights to move things along faster. From mid June until Labor Day the summer operations crew will have one or two paid CFI's available. Fly with several instructors and find someone who you like to fly with and who has time for you. Eventually, students at Harris Hill need to find a primary instructor who will be the one who will complete the items in the Practical Test Standards and sign the student off for the practical test.

Checking the Squares

The knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for safe glider flight will be conveyed in three ways, self-study, flight instruction, and ground instruction.

For flight instruction, you should arrive early to help get the aircraft out of the hangar. This saves time so when the instructor arrives they can start talking about the various training items. It is more efficient to brief several students at once and then start flying a couple of flights each. When another training glider lands, pay attention to their landing. Help return the glider to the flight line. A lot of good teaching goes on during the push back to the line.

Group ground schools are offered during the winter. After such a ground school the presenting instructor will initial the attendees training records. Individual ground instruction can take place before or after a flight or in place of flying if the weather is not cooperating. Any instructor can cover any of the subjects.

Your pursuit of flight training as a member of the Harris Hill Soaring community will certainly be exciting, may get frustrating at times, and will be a lot of work. But your pride of accomplishment when you get your "ticket" will be unforgettable.


- Sean M. 03/2011

Sean Murphy

Certified Flight Instructor

Harris Hill