Hood River Soaring Youth Program

young glider pilot

The heart of Hood River Soaring is our commitment to youth.  To become a certified glider pilot is a tremendous accomplishment that fosters maturity and self discipline.  Many who begin with gliders go on to develop a career in professional aviation.  Most importantly, when young people learn to fly, their self confidence grows exponentially. We have students flying solo as young as 14 and fully-licensed pilots as young as 16.

Youth Program Wildwood Field Trip

A youth can start learning to fly at any age. At Hood River Soaring we accept students starting at age 13.  They begin their practical lessons on the airfield assisting in ground crew operations under the supervision of a qualified instructor.  Once they prove themselves to be attentive and capable of responsible decision making, they can advance to aerial instruction.

Gideon flying the K21

Many young people with the ambition to fly lack the financial resources to make it happen.  We believe this opportunity should be accessible to all people, regardless of economic means.  Through our Youth Program, we provide work-study opportunities to assist young people ages 13-25 in becoming glider pilots. Scholarships are also available for this same age group through the Soaring Society of America: https://www.ssa.org/junior-soaring/.

The Hood River Soaring Youth Program offers assistance in three ways:

Discounted Fees:  All youth members receive deep discounts on membership and glider rentals until their 26th birthday. HRS membership initiation fees and dues are reduced by more than 50%. All glider rental rates are discounted by 50% when flown by a youth member as a pre-solo, solo or certificated pilot.

Scholarships:  Youth members may apply for scholarships, which can be used to help pay for membership fees, instruction, and glider pilot certification. Scholarships are available to exceptional young people who can earn them through academic performance, essays, nominations and recommendations from sponsors, and demonstrations of specific accomplishments and skills.  To learn more, visit the SSA Junior Soaring page: https://www.ssa.org/junior-soaring/.

Work-Study:  After joining Hood River Soaring and being trained in glider ground operations, students may apply to participate in our work-study program. Qualified students may offset the cost of glider flying lessons with credits earned by serving on the ground crew at the gliderport and for other work that contributes to the general operation of the club, including help with our scenic rides activity, grounds maintenance, website, and social media development. To learn more, click Work-Study Program.

Cory with Wildwood students

Hood River Soaring collaborates with local schools, social agencies, and civic organizations that share our dedication to empowering young people to succeed.  We welcome your donations, contributions of ideas, and any other ways that you may want to help with our mission.

Want to learn more about how you can participate?

Call or email our Youth Program Coordinator.