Cost of Private Pilot Certificate

Typical costs to get a private pilot glider certificate (as part of our club):

Membership & 1 year dues = $950           ($300 for youth/student members)
Books & FAA written exam = $250           (no written required if you hold an airplane pilot certificate)
Tow fees for 30-35 glider flights = $1500   (cut that in half if you have an airplane pilot certificate)
Check ride fee = $300
(no fee for instruction or glider rental!)
Total = $3000   

The Sanford Soaring Club is also committed to helping our youth join the sport or career of aviation, offering deeply discounted memberships for high school students.

Adding on an airplane rating to your glider pilot certificate can also be done for another $5-6000 in training.  You will likely need another 15-20 hours of dual instruction for roughly $3250 plus another 5 hours solo for $750.  The additional ground school, books, and exams may total another $1000, for $5000 total.

Compare that to the typical cost to get a private pilot certificate in an airplane, which is now over $10,000.   And most pilots will agree that glider training is in many ways a much better way to start since the flying isn’t overwhelmed by distractions like autopilots and GPS navigation.

There are also scholarships available through the Soaring Society of America ad Soaring Safety Foundation as well as the Women Soaring Pilots Association.