Junior program FAQ

  • How old do I have to be to join the junior program?

    Juniors are 14 – 18 years old.  You can solo a glider at 14, and obtain your private pilot license at 16.

  • What are my responsibilities as a junior member?
    • Attend monthly meetings
    • Work 1 – 2 monthly 4-hour duty shifts on weekends during the flying season
    • Help to keep the airplanes, clubhouse, and hangers organized and clean

    For each instructional flight, you are expected to contribute 4 hours of work around the club.

  • How much does the junior program cost?

    Application fee is $144.00, which includes membership to Harris Hill Soaring, NSN, and SSA.  It also includes a logbook and a flight training manual.

    Pre-solo, each instructional flight is only $7.00 (that’s not a typo).  Post-solo, each flight is approximately $14.00.

  • How do I obtain flight training materials?

    We provide the training materials (books, flight logs).

  • How many flights does it take to solo?

    Typically, our juniors take 30 – 50 instructional flights before they are ready to solo at Harris Hill.

  • How are the juniors supervised when they are at Harris Hill?

    Our instructors keep a watchful eye over our junior pilots and ensure that their training is conducted with safety as a top priority.  Juniors fly solo only when they repeatedly demonstrate they can do so  safely.  Even after solo, junior pilots receive frequent flight checks from instructors to ensure that they continue to develop as proficiently and safely as possible.

    A junior cannot fly solo without daily permission from an instructor.  The decision to fly is continually re-evaluated, taking into account the weather conditions and the student’s experience and proficiency.

    When they are at Harris Hill and not flying, there is adult supervision at the airport.  However, we expect that our juniors demonstrate a high level of maturity and independence.

  • Why learn to fly gliders instead of powered aircraft?

    Flying gliders is the experience of pure flight.  The fundamental skills you develop as a glider pilot will pay dividends in any plane you eventually fly.  It’s much easier to get a license, is more cost-effective, and is a stepping stone to powered flight training.

  • What do juniors do on bad weather days?
    • Clean gliders
    • Clean hangars
    • Clean the the clubhouse
  • Do juniors ever go on to careers in aviation?

    Yes!  Many of our former junior members are now aviation professionals, commercial pilots, flight instructors, and world class competition sailplane pilots.

  • How is the junior program supported?

    The junior program is heavily subsidized by our commercial ride program. 

  • What are some of the main benefits of being a junior member?

    Our juniors learn far more than aviation skills.  They learn about decision-making and being responsible for their own and others’ safety.  They also learn critical thinking skills.  As they work with adult pilots at the airport, they also learn to conduct themselves professionally and with a high degree of social maturity.