Glider Total Time?
In short, yes - logging hours flying gliders absolutely counts as total time. Pilots can log accumulated glider time and apply it to the minimum requirements for Private Pilot, Commercial, and ATP ratings.
Glider flying, commonly referred to as soaring by glider pilots, provides student and experienced pilots alike with unique challenges. Unlike other general aviation aircraft, gliders do not have an engine. This forces glider pilots to exercise astute power management. Flight in unpowered aircraft also encourages the refinement of stick and rudder skills.
Can I Count Glider Time Towards my Private Pilot License?
Many glider pilots transitioning to powered Airplane Single Engine Land (ASEL) will be able to apply some of their glider flight time towards the Private Pilot Certificate minimums.
The FAA requires a minimum of 10 hours of dual instruction and 10 hours solo in a single engine aircraft. As the FAA regulations require a minimum of 40 hours of flight time for the Private Pilot, a glider pilot may be able to attain the rating with just 20 hours flight time in an ASEL. As always, review the Private Pilot requirements for additional information.
In practice, this is unlikely - even with refined stick and rudder skills, most students need more than the minimum flight time to become a Private Pilot.
Can I Count Glider Time Towards Commercial or ATP Ratings?
Yes. And, it is wise for pilots to do so. Pilots pursuing an ASEL Commercial rating can apply up to 150 hours of glider time to their total time. Depending on glider access and cost, this may dramatically reduce commercial time building costs while improving pilot skills - a win-win.
Pilots building up to the 1,500 hours total time required for the ATP can also apply glider time.
Aside from allowing pilots to check another box on airlines’ applications, soaring builds valuable aviation experiencing. Power aircraft pilots building glider time enhance their aeronautical decision making and their logbook.