Learning To Fly PDF Print E-mail


Cu Nim offers introductory flights to let you experience the joys of soaring first hand. Try a flight, and if (like us) you find it to be the most fun you've ever had, come join our club.


Cu Nim uses a volunteer corps of instructors. These pilots are licensed by Transport Canada and bring a wealth of soaring knowledge and teaching experience to the club. They provide both "ab initio" (for those who haven't flown before) and power pilot conversion training. A glider pilot ground school is required to obtain a pilot's license. It is not necessary to have taken the ground school in order to fly as a student, or even fly solo with a student pilot's license. Students must be at least 14 years old. All Cu Nim licensed pilots must pass a Transport Canada category 3 medical exam.

Training Activities

Flight training is provided Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during our operating season, from May until September. As Cu Nim is an all-volunteer organization, student participation in ground operations is required. Ground activities include daily aircraft inspections, launch operations, glider retrieval and time keeping. A smooth-running operation means more flights per day for students, and there are formal incentives for early arrival at the field. A student will typically get two flights a day, depending on his arrival time and the efficiency of the operation. Summer days often end with instructors, pilots and students at a campfire in the club's campground or with pizza in Okotoks.


Ab initio students typically solo after 40-50 flights and license after 30-40 more, Typically it takes two seasons to license, although some keen students have done it in only one. Power conversion pilots usually take fewer flights to license. Flight tests are provided by the club's Chief Flying Instructor and the written test is provided by Transport Canada. The license grants legal privileges to fly any glider and to carry passengers.

Beyond the License

You've earned your license, now what? You may be content to pleasure fly around the field for a while, but most people want to move on. With more experience, you can get into passenger flying, instructing and cross-country flying.

Cross-country flying means flying beyond gliding distance of the airfield and can be roughly divided into pleasure flying, badge flying, contest flying and record attempts.

Badge flying involves achieving altitude and distance goals to obtain internationally recognized flying awards (the "badges").

Contest flying involves flying against other pilots on a particular day for speed and distance points.

There are also many soaring records to be broken, with classes for speed, distance and altitude. Any good soaring day will see some Cu Nim members soaring hundreds of kilometers and landing back at the home field.