Glider Program

Introduction

The primary purpose of the Civil Air Patrol Glider Program is to give as many cadets as possible the opportunity to experience soaring through orientation flights and glider flight training. A secondary purpose is to make the gliders available to senior members, when the cadets are not using them, to provide opportunity for senior member orientation rides, initial flight training, and glider rating add-on as well.  The goals of the program are to reach as many CAP Cadets as possible with the opportunity to participate in the glider program, both orientation flights and flight training, maintain a strong and effective ground and air safety program, promote current, proficient and professional airmanship, and maintain a high level of custodial care and maintenance.


The Tennessee Wing Glider Program operates out of the Tullahoma Regional Airport [THA] in Tullahoma, TN.  (Click here to get driving directions)   Generally soaring operations are conducted on most weekends, weather permitting.  The TNWG Glider Team is made up of motivated members from several different squadrons who make safety, learning, and fun the hallmarks of the program.  See below for more information on orientation flights, flight training, and on how to check availability & schedule your glider flights.

Cadet Orientation Flights

As in powered airplanes, CAP cadets under 18 years old each receive up to 5 glider orientation flights.  These flights directly support the CAP mission of Aerospace Education and are funded by the USAF, thus are completely free to the cadet.  CAP qualified Glider Orientation Pilots conduct these flights pursuant to CAP Pamphlet 52-7 which ensures upon the completion of the 5 flights that each cadet will understand basic principles of soaring, airmanship, and glider safety.

To ensure that each cadet's fun meter remains pegged throughout the day, it is requested that each squadron limit the number of cadets they bring to THA for orientation rides if they will be staying for an entire day.  Experience has shown that four cadets per operational glider is optimal.  While it may seem counter-intuitive to limit the number of cadets exposed to soaring, a fewer number of cadets on site ensures each cadet spends more of the day in the air and less time waiting around either for their flight or the end of the day.  

There are many considerations that go in to a successful and safe day of glider operations, especially involving people who have never worked such operations before.  A complete list pre-brief items, which should be reviewed thoroughly before arriving in Tullahoma is found on the menu to the left. (Or click here.) To schedule cadet orientation flights for your unit, please see the Scheduling Link on the website menu.

Senior Member Orientation Flights

Senior Members also have the opportunity to take orientation flights in a glider.  For the certificated airplane pilot and non-pilot alike, experiencing flight in an unpowered aircraft is like nothing else. These flights are member funded and, depending on the height of the tow, generally cost around $40-$50.  To schedule senior member orientation flights for your unit, please see the  Scheduling Link on the website menu.

Glider Flight Training

Cadets and senior members alike are afforded the opportunity to conduct flight training in a CAP glider.  Unlike in CAP powered aircraft, senior members can train toward a first pilots license or any advanced rating without the requirement of already having a private (powered airplane) pilots license. Cadets can also work toward attaining a first pilots license or any advanced rating in a glider, just like in a powered airplane.  Flight training is done by an FAA CFI-G (Certificated Flight Instructor - Glider) to FAA standards and, upon successful completion of flight training, will result a check-ride with an FAA DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner) and the award of an FAA Glider Pilots License.

All flight training is member funded by the member undergoing the training.  The cost structure of the CAP glider program is very reasonable and is one of the best benefits of membership in the Civil Air Patrol.  Members are charged on a per flight basis based on the actual cost of each sortie.  Both the tow plane and the glider have an operational cost associated with them that is passed on to the member.  Cost is calculated based on actual flight time using tenths of an hour, since most glider flights are less than an hour in duration.  The cost of the glider is $1 per tenth of a flight hour.  This covers program expenses such as tow ropes and hangar rental.  The cost of the tow plane is $11.50 per tenth of an hour.  A "standard" tow to 2,500 feet generally requires 0.2 - 0.3 hours of tow plane time. A "high" tow to 4,000 feet usually requires 0.3 - 0.4 hours of tow time.  As with all CAP flight instruction, the instructor, as well as tow pilots, are donating their valuable time and receive no compensation other than the joy of participating.

To schedule your glider flight training, please click the Scheduling Link on the website menu.

Team Members

All of the TNWG Glider Program team members are committed volunteers to believe in the Civil Air Patrol mission of Aerospace Education.  Safety is always at the forefront of each team members' mind.  The opportunity to motivate and teach in this unique classroom drives the entire team to spend long hours and many weekends doing this activity that they all love.
  • Program Manager - Col Bill Lane, TN-1
  • Operations Manager & Tow Pilot - LtCol Ralph Bard, TN-1
  • CFI-G & Orientation Pilot - 2Lt Leo Benetti-Longhini, TN-36
  • Orientation Pilot & Tow Pilot - LtCol John Humphries, TN-36
  • Orientation Pilot - 2Lt Dan Collyer, TN-192
  • Orientation Pilot & Tow Pilot - Capt Demming Gray, TN-192
  • Tow Pilot - Maj Ande Boyer, TN-1
  • Flight Release Officer - Maj Gary Fiser, TN-17

Last edit 12/18/14