Soaring silently high above the earth in a glider is truly an exhilarating experience. This is especially true in the Tahoe/Minden area where everywhere you look there is either a stunning lake or mountain view.
A typical flight starts with a briefing outlining the gliders basic controls and a pre-flight safety check. The pilot will help you into the glider and assure that you are strapped in and comfortable. The glider will then be connected to the tow plane and will start the take-off roll. You will become airborne before the tow plane as the glider is lighter and more efficient. After being towed to 5000 or more above ground level (AGL), your pilot will release from the towline and you will be flying freely.
If on this day there are Cumulus clouds, which indicate lift, the pilot will ask you if you would like to thermal. This means circling in columns of rising warm air allowing the glider to climb at up to 1000 per minute if the thermal is strong. Gliders are usually equipped with oxygen systems for flying above 12,000, though without a special clearance you are limited to 18,000 AGL.
Most pilots will perform mild aerobatics and allow you to fly the glider at altitude if you like. Flights generally last one hour and are definitely something you should experience at least once in your lifetime. There are two local agencies that offer glider rides with commercially rated pilots. If you really enjoy your flight and would like to take lessons to be a pilot they are also available. Below find a listing of local agencies that offer glider rides.
High Country Soaring
Douglas County Airport
Call for fees.
Driving time 40 minutes. Driving distance 30 miles.
Tahoe Truckee Airport
530.587.6702 (Operation starts after Memorial Day)
Driving time 30 minutes. Driving distance 20 miles.