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GBSC Juniors Program
Students aged 14 to 18 are eligible to apply for membership in GBSC Juniors Organization.
Accepted Junior members will receive free flight instruction, and pay reduced tow fees while flying in the club's sailplanes. In return, Juniors work on the field for several hours a month, providing important ground assistance while learning about safe flight operations and spending time with other Junior and Senior members. The Juniors tend to have an active social life through the Club.
A trained and qualified person may fly solo in a glider at age 14, and may become an FAA-certified Private Pilot at age 16.
GBSC Junior membership is a remarkable opportunity for young people to acquire important skills in the science and sport of flying, as well as teamwork, and a life-long hobby, too. Once acclimated to their skills and responsibilities most of our Juniors demonstrate a remarkable maturity, safety-awareness, and presence-of-mind while executing their ground duties and flight training.
The following activities are part of the responsibilities juniors hold:
Q: Where can I find out about GBSC
Q: What is the Junior Wednesday Evening Group (JWEG)?
A: JWEG, Junior Wednesday Evening Group, normally runs from 5 pm to dusk every flyable Wednesday during summer school vacation. The objective of JWEG is to provide an instruction period dedicated only to Juniors. The environment is more relaxed, the atmosphere is less bumpy, and everyone is a lot happier. :-) Two very accomplished pilots, Roy Bourgois and Phil Gaisford, are at the field to instruct you at any level you need. Licensed Juniors can also benefit. Juniors should be there early enough to preflight their gliders and have them on the grid by 5 pm. Typically, this means arriving 4:30-4:40 or so. Check your email before leaving, however, to make sure there hasn't been a time shift or cancellation. Flying is first- come-first-serve. All participants should be there early enough to help prep a glider and should plan to stay late enough to put them away. When you fly, make sure your flight gets on the flight log. We're often closing up shop during peak mosquito time, so repellent is a good idea. Roy, Phil, and tow pilot Vitaly Zolotusky leave work early on Wednesdays and, instead of going home and having dinner, come to the field to help you become awesome pilots. All of us sometimes forget, but do try to remember to mention your appreciation to these guys on Wednesdays. Finally, please let me know if you plan to attend a JWEG. If there is insufficient interest in any given Wednesday, we can let one or both of the instructors (and tow pilot) go home and have dinner.
Q: Who can join the GBSC Juniors program?
A: Any young man or woman over 13 eligible, but there are a limited number of slots. The Juniors Coordinator can advise you concerning availability.
Q: How old do I have to be to get a license?
A: Per the FAA, you can solo a glider at 14 and get your pilot's license at 16.
Q: How do I learn to fly?
A: Show up on the weekends, take flights with GBSC instructors, talk with other pilots, read about how to fly, and then fly some more. Your GBSC instructors are excellent. Not only will you learn how to fly, you'll learn how to do it safely.
Q: Is it dangerous?
A: Yeah, pretty much. Anytime you take a thousand pounds of metal 3000' into the air and let it go, there is the is potential for bad things to happen. The danger should not be underestimated. But your training, beyond the basics of controlling the aircraft, is aimed almost exclusively at minimizing the risks involved and at handling tricky and dangerous situations. You'll be trained on how not to put yourself in bad situations and how to get out them should you find yourself in them. You'll probably want to look for another hobby if these thoughts terrify. You'll definitely want to look for another hobby if the danger sounds thrilling. Being very concerned about your safety and that of your passenger is a good way to fly.
Q: Is it a lot of work?
A: It requires a commitment in time and energy. Learning to fly is largely a practiced skill and is VERY fun to learn. There there is also a book and studying component. You'll find that reading makes your lessons much more productive and much more fun. Is that work? No, not really.
Q: I can join the club as a "Student" and qualify for lower membership rates than an adult member. What is the advantage of being a Junior?
A: You mean besides the cool hats and secret handshakes? You'll be working and learning to fly with a group of people very much like yourself in so many ways. The Juniors form a relatively close knit group of friends, many of whom form friendships that extend to off the field and throughout the year. In addition, there is a significant financial advantage to Junior membership: dues are less than Student level and instructional flights are completely free by performing "field duty".
Q: How much time is needed for field duty?
A: Minimum is one shift every other weekend during summer vacation. A shift is about five hours: 9-2 and 12-5. You can work more shifts if you want more flight credits, but only three juniors can be on shift at any given time. A schedule is put together in the springtime, before school lets out. If you cannot work a particular day for any reason, it is your responsibility to find a Junior replacement. This is usually not too difficult.
Q: What does this "working" entail?
A: Mostly ground operations - launching, retrieving, and towing gliders. Also, sometimes washing and helping fix gliders. Miscellaneous things like helping clean out the shacks, stepping in for the logger, etc. You'll be trained to do whatever you need training to do.
Q: How much do lessons cost?
A: There is no charge for lessons. There IS a charge for a launch: $11 for the hook up, $10/hr glider rental (2 hours maximum), $12/1000' of tow. As a student, you will typically tow to 3000' above ground (AGL). That's typically $57 per flight with or without an instructor. (Prior to receiving an instructor endorsement for solo, you'll always fly with somebody else, almost always it will be an instructor.) The Really Good Part: each shift you work is worth a 3K tow in any of the club ships. Essentially, you're making a bit over $10/hr doing fun work and hanging out with cool people.
Q: Does the club only operate on weekends?
A: All the regular operations occur on the weekends from mid-April to the end of November. Juniors also fly Wednesday evenings from 5:00 till dusk: two instructors and a towplane are dedicated to them during this time for training. It's a very sweet deal.
Q: Is it worth it?
A: Working around an airport and flying aircraft can be
dangerous so you have to pay attention. Getting your license requires a
More information is available by following this link.
For further information contact the Juniors' Coordinator.
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