Every week, power pilots who otherwise seem to take aviation seriously inquire how quickly or how cheaply they can get their glider ‘add-on’ rating.  Failing to appreciate the profound virtues and benefits of flight without artificial thrust, some even say, facetiously, ‘punch the ticket’.  They see gliders as only a trivial novelty or a way to avoid more expensive biennial Flight Reviews.  Even sadder are those who have no real interest at all, but can no longer pass a medical…  

The common denominator:  for one reason or another they’re convinced it’s terribly important to get past that check ride ASAP!  And too many do.  This is one more variant of get-there-itis, yet another dread disease in which the infected risk making victims of more than just themselves.  Hide out by the runway some Sunday afternoon and watch; these ‘ad-on’ jockeys are also the ones who’ll try to land their bird as if it had… horsepower, and PIO. Statistics prove that you don’t have to blow yourself up or die of smoke inhalation to get hurt.  

The minimum requirement for previously licensed SELs to get a glider rating is ten solos for a private, and twenty for a commercial.  That’s nuts.  I should know, because I played this minimal game myself – and demonstrated how little any ‘ticket’ is worth without practical understanding and genuine skill.  

Next, there are those who’ve done exactly this, and after a few months on their own cannot wait to become instructors.  As if!  What they really need is to gain some actual experience, not be in a rush to expose how little they know.  But try telling them that.  

To teach anything, shouldn’t you want to know more than the allowable minimum about it?  True, the regs allow anybody to be a CFIG with no requirement for even some ability to keep the aircraft aloft, and that too is nuts.  Folks can spend all their precious time and money collecting ratings in short order, but without a little background each one has increasing potential to embarrass them (or worse) when they eventually try to apply it.  

Instead, why not take your time, indulge in some humility for once and enjoy learning a splendid new art?  Otherwise you’re fooling only yourself and going nowhere faster than need be, certificate or no. 

You, on the other hand, could do better…