Study Material


by Russell Holtz
Winch training

Wing Runner Course required for all new members

FAA reference book. You can download the PDF at the link above or buy a paper copy here.

Federal Aviation Regulations
FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
reference books. You can view and/or download PDFs at the link above or buy a paper copy here.

Further Reading

This list includes other great titles that are optional but can add different perspectives to your studies.

Ground School Presentations

Video Tutorials from


Before you can take your flight test for your Private Glider Certificate, you need to pass an FAA knowledge test. You should start to prepare for this as soon as you go solo.

  • The test is computer-based multiple-choice derived from a large bank of questions. It is highly recommended that use online test prep as described on this page.
  • The bulk of preparation is conducted as self-study. But, you will need to engage with a specific instructor to help you with any difficulties in your studies.
  • The cost of the FAA Knowledge Test is at least $150 so you will want to be well prepared to avoid retaking the test in case you fail (70% required). List of FAA Knowledge Test Centers .
  • You must have an instructor’s written endorsement before taking the exam

After the Test

Even with a good pass mark you will need to go through, with your sign-off instructor, any areas you did not score perfectly on. He will sign your form once he is satisfied any deficiencies have been corrected. The test is not complete until your sign-off instructor has counter-signed the certificate.

FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test Guide

Test Description, number of questions, test taking tips, use of aids during test, references and other important information LINK


There are many excellent online sources for preparing for the Knowledge Test listed on this page. We highly recommend that you prepare by using an online exam study program.

  • This prep will tell you why the correct answer is correct and why the wrong answers are wrong. Studying using this method helps you understand the sometimes devious way that questions are posed and what the FAA is trying to get at.
  • The test prep exactly duplicates the look of the actual computer based testing interface. You can take practice tests multiple times and know how well you are likely going to do on the test before arriving at the testing center. Although the official pass mark is 70%, we aim to get scores of 95% or better.

FAA Practical Test
Preparing for the FAA Practical Test will require a significant  effort on your part. Your instructor will help guide and prepare you but it is your responsibility to study and ask questions. The following book is an excellent resource to help you be successful:

Gliding Made Easy Series
The list of books and resources that you need to study and have available on check ride day is rather long. Please refer to p81 of Bob Wander’s book for the “Checklist For Your Private Pilot Glider Checkride” and build your personal library.
FAA Practical Test Standards

The FAA Practical Test Standards are a set of specific ‘guidelines and rules’ for the way the check ride is conducted. Print or buy a booklet of the PTS for your check-ride.


IACRA is the web-based certification/rating application that guides the user through the FAA’s airman application process.

Rather than using a paper form (8710), most Designated Examiners will require you to have an account set up and information entered in IACRA before you meet them for the Practical Test.

Flight Review Preparation (BFR)
The following are excellent paper and online resources when you are preparing for a flight review:

Bob Wander
Book: “Safer Soaring…Made Easy”
Book: “Glider BFR and Spring Checkout…Made Easy”
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The above link will bring you to the FAA’s online list of courses.The “Flight Review Prep Guide” course is an excellent summary of the part 91 regs as well as judgement based decisions. The content is oriented towards powered aircraft but most of it applies to glider flying. There is an exam at the end that allows you to answer the questions over and over until you get it right. Getting the correct answers is the only goal of the exam. You don’t have to pass on the first try to get credit.

Federal Aviation Regulations


The FAR/AIM (Federal Aviation Regulations & Airmen Information Manual) is a very thick and dense book. But, we need to know the rules so you need to study pieces of the book. An instructor as well as the “FARs for Glider Pilots” as shown on this page can get you started.
Paper Copy

The only differences between publishers is the formatting and some formats are more readable than others. Here is a link to Amazon for ASA’s version of the 2015 FAR/AIM. ASA is nice because they have bold headings for new sections which makes finding what you want easier out of all the noise of the “dense” regs.

Students should begin to wrap their head around a paper copy of the FAR/AIM because it is easier to bookmark sections and highlight items. If you want a free PDF from the FAA, here are some PDF and digital starting points:

FARs for Glider Pilots

Some regs highlighted in this PDF will help you begin to narrow down some of the regulations you need to know. The highlighted areas are intended to focus attention on some of the most commonly misunderstood or overlooked regulations.
This PDF is merely a starting point while students are trying to get their head around the regs. It is not an official reference. You should acquire a current FAR/AIM edition, paper or electronic. This collection of FARs for glider pilots is only a guide. It is not kept up to date. Some sections of the regulations may be missing. As a responsible pilot, you are expected to know more information than that which is highlighted and contained in this document.


Soaring Safety Foundation, SSF


Off Field Landings by Thomas Knauff
Gliding Safety by Derek Piggott
Safer Soaring by Bob Wander

Other Internet Resources

The FAA’s website contains a huge range of useful information, though finding your way round can be a challenge at times. Here are some direct links to commonly used documents:

FAA Glider Practical Test Standards (PTS)

FAA Glider Flying Handbook

Cumulus Soaring has perhaps, the most comprehensive range of gliding and soaring books (as well as soaring equipment). 
Bob Wander’s site also has an excellent range of glider training books.
Sectionals (Maps) to buy sectionals to view online and/or buy sectionals