Please Note: The Vancouver Soaring Association (VSA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of safe soaring and is operated by the services of member-volunteers.

We encourage new members to join and we offer training to individuals who wish to participate in the sport as well as contribute to the long-term success and culture of the Association.

However, the VSA is not a commercial gliding school and does not offer training services to persons wishing to join solely for the purpose of obtaining a glider pilot licence.

Once you have decided that you want to join the VSA, the first step is to apply for membership.

The Vancouver Soaring Association (VSA), which operates at Hope, is a typical gliding club in Canada. We follow a strict learning syllabus that will take you right from the earliest stages through to becoming a fully qualified glider pilot.

Instruction is provided free of charge to VSA members by certified Soaring Association of Canada (SAC) Instructors.

All members are expected to help out with everything that has to be done to keep a club running and instructors fulfill their duties this way.

Training takes place on weekends, but one-week courses are offered two or three times in the season, depending on availability of instructors, to accelerate the learning process. Please refer to the Courses page for more details.

The training offered by VSA will help facilitate students to obtain their Student pilot permit. The student pilot permit is only required to fly solo and is therefore not immediately required during training leading up to the first solo flight. In addition to their student pilot permit, students will need to arrange to attend a flight school to attend Ground School and obtain their radio operators licence as well as write the GLIDE exam. We offer resources and guidance on where to go to for this.

Usually the practical side of gliding is concentrated on first – while the weather is flyable – and the theoretical “Ground School” training required to pass the GLIDE exam can be focused on during the winter months after your first season at the club.

How long will it take?

How long it takes to obtain your Glider Pilots Licence (GPL) is not really that important – it’s how much fun you have doing it. The skill required to flying gliders safely in the mountains is considerable and can take some longer than others to acquire. Don’t be disappointed if it takes at least two seasons. Sharing a flight, and being able to discuss it afterwards, even if it is with your instructor, is often half the fun, and many pilots prefer to fly in twin gliders for that reason, even after they are capable of flying “solo”.

For students with prior flight experience, it’s often possible to solo within the first season.

For ab-initio students, it’s realistic to expect it to take two seasons.  There is no typical or minimum number of flights; it’s entirely up to the student’s progress to determine how long it takes.

Flight simulator training, using programs such as Condor Soaring can be of a great help, and can shorten the overall duration for some.  The club has built a flight simulator, and it’s been ready for member training use as of the 2016 season, and a group within the club, the “VSA SIM Soarers” get together virtually to fly gliders in CONDOR2. Inquire about this at the club.

Your first target will be to fly solo. Don’t worry – you will only do this when your instructors are certain that you have all the necessary skills to safely take-off, fly and land the glider.

After you’ve successfully flown solo, you can continue your training syllabus to achieve the Bronze and Cross-Country endorsements. This specialist training will equip you with the skills to make informed decisions about your planned flying, navigate cross country and deal with unusual situations, such as landing off-site in a farmer’s field.

For further information on becoming a glider pilot, contact us by email.