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Should the USA have a soaring license, not a glider license?

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Old August 6th 04, 07:16 PM
Mark James Boyd
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Default Should the USA have a soaring license, not a glider license?

Paul Lynch wrote:

None of us have a power bias. Just the opposite.

Yep, I've noticed the same.

2-33s. They are exceptionally affordable for primary students.

Yep, this is a BIG deal. I agree.

Point 2. I have never really understood the point of a ground instructor
ticket. I found the hard part getting past the writtens. The flight checks
were not nearly as difficult. Why get a instructor ticket limited to
classroom work unless you are not qualified to get a full CFI?

Because one is not qualified to be a full CFI. For power, this takes
250 hours minimum. Some of these folks are schoolteachers or aspiring
full CFIs. Some are willing to train ground at half the price of a full
CFI. As one examiner has told me, often the newest CFI's are the
best for primary instruction because they did it recently themselves and
so have a better "common ground" with the student.

By the time they get 250hrs, or 100 glider flights or whatever, now they've
practiced lots of ground instruction (which is a BIG part of being
a good flight instructor).

The students, on the other hand, have gotten ground instruction for
free or at a reduced price from a "qualified" instructor. If your
argument is that this license isn't enough qualification, well that's just
a different argument, and the FAA disagrees. Of course, the students
have their own judgements to make (a ground or CFI license doesn't
make someone an instructor, and lack of same doesn't make
them not an instructor. A license is just an FAA license,
not a complete validation or invalidation. If you have a CFI
license, but have never seen a bar of soap or a breath mint,
nobody will EVER fly with you...)

There may
also be a credibility issue.

At $60 an hour, I sure hope so! If my experience, licenses, and track
record doesn't justify my rates, and somebody with two tests under
their belt can make $60 an hour, I'd be forlorn!

But a CFI may be great, and a ground instructor may be "good enough."
Personally, one of our pilots (who is also a good competition pilot)
gives ground instruction on X-C. He does it better than and
GI or CFI I can think of, but he doesn't have a GI. Too bad,
because I'd like to see that time logged in the students' books.

So credibility, I think, is sometimes a totally separate issue,
that the student can determine on a case-by-case basis. The GI
just creates an opportunity. Some opportunities are best left alone,
some are golden. Caveat emptor...

Point 3. Requiring cross-country experience would be silly for our
particular club. We do not have those kinds of conditions that often, and
certainly not for the club equipment. Would you rather have someone who
really knows how to teach but has not flown in every condition and type of
glider, or someone who has lots of experience but is a poor instructor, or
as one poster noted, exceptionally few instructors?

I'm inclined to leave the PPL, COMM, and CFI glider regs alone as
they are. The safety record backs this up: the fatalities from
X-C flights are almost exclusively pilots who have had significant X-C
experience before. The law of numbers just caught up to them and
they found themselves in unexpected sink.

If anything, at my club (where there are flat, plowed, open
fields for dozens of miles in every direction) early pilots are much too
meek about X-C. X-C presents almost no safety hazard, very minor
damage hazards, and the only thing holding us back is that
disassembly of a 2-33 or Blanik L-13 is a BIG pain in the
butt. Even the 1-26 ain't no cakewalk compared to the
PW-5 of the featherweight Russia...

Encourage X-C? Yes, to the extent your area provides safe landouts.
Require X-C? No! It's a glider license, and if pilots just want
to fly around the patch with their friends on sunset rides,
good for them!

Point 4. We see lift to 10K about once every 4 years. Sport Pilot might
make sense except that it is not much harder to get a PPG ticket. SP has
lots of limits compared to PPG. We are also fortunate to have a DPE in the
club. So for us, it appears to me to make more sense to go for a PPG.

A little off thread (that belongs in the PPG vs. SPG thread
But yes, some clubs simply won't elect for the SPG option.
But like I said, offer the SP endorsement (assuming the training included
a phase check with a second instructor too) for $10 when you
give your recommendation for the DPE checkride. I bet you'll
get a lot of takers...

Mark Boyd
Avenal, California, USA

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