Burch The author of this study guide, Jim Burch, has been a pilot for 60 years, a flight instructor for 33 years, and a pilot examiner for 18 years. The material presented here is based on his experience in learning, teaching, and testing what one needs to know to fly gliders safely and to pass the related FAA tests. Little if any of the material is truly original. It comes from observing and questioning other pilots and instructors and from study of much aviation literature. Some of that literature is also part of the subject matter references used by the FAA in their knowledge tests. Those used in preparing this study aid are included in the adjacent table. You will find some direct quotes from them in the material when their words seem to express an idea particularly well or if the actual words appear in a test question or answer. Passing the FAA knowledge test and practical test is not the only objective of this study guide. It also is intended to impart knowledge of practical value to the glider pilot. These objectives are not mutually exclusive, but in many cases information not contained in the FAA references will be provided.
  • (1) Federal Aviation Regulations
  • (2) AC 00-6 Aviation Weather
  • (3) AC 00-45 Aviation Weather Services
  • (4) Aeronautical Information Manual
  • (5) AC 60-22 Aeronautical Decision Making
  • (6) Miscellaneous Advisory Circulars
  • (7) Soaring Flight Manual
  • (8) AC 61-23 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
  • (9) FAA-H-8083-3 Airplane Flying Handbook
  • (10) American Soaring Handbook
  • (11) AC 61-21 Flight Training Handbook
  • (12) Joy of Soaring
  • (13) Airport/Facility Directory
  • (14) Sectional Aeronautical Chart
  • (15) Terminal Area Chart
  • (16) Fluid-Dynamic Lift, Hoerner and Borst
  • (17) Stick and Rudder, Langewiesche
  • (18) FAA-H-8083-13 Glider Flying Handbook


The FAA has separate knowledge and practical tests for private pilots, commercial pilots, and flight instructors. The first ten sections of this guide apply to all three. The last will be of more interest to those preparing for flight instructor tests. Students are urged to study the material here and then review the applicable knowledge test questions. You can do that either of two ways. You can select the QUESTIONS column next to the chapter you have just reviewed and see all the private, commercial and flight instructor questions covered in that chapter, or you can select knowledge test format to review all questions that appear on either the private, commercial, instructor, or fundamentals of instructing test. You may want to look at the "knowledge test format" first in either case for an explanation of the question and answer format used for both.

The Atmosphere In Which We Fly Weather Questions
Glider Aerodynamics Aerodynamic Questions
Glider Instruments and Systems Systems Questions
Airports and Airspace Airspace Questions
Launching a Glider Launching Questions
Going Somewhere in a Glider Soaring Questions
Approach and Landing Landing Questions
Weather Forecasts and Reports Forecasts Questions
Regulations and Miscellaneous Stuff Regulations Questions
Aeronautical Decision Making ADM Questions
Fundamentals of Instructing Instructing Questions


adverse yaw landing illusions
advisory circulars landing long
aerobatic flight landing out
aerodynamics landing short
aeronautical decision making lateral stability
aeronautical information manual latitude and longitude
aerotow launching a glider
aerotow signals learning
aerotow takeoff learning plateau
aerotow turns learning transfer
air defense identification zones (adiz) lecture
air masses and fronts lesson plan
airfoils levels of learning
airmet (wa) lift and drag
airport marking and lighting light signals
airports load factor in turns
airspace equipment requirements load factor vs airspeed
airspeed adjustments for wind longitudinal stability
airspeed in a slip low level wind shear alert system (llwas)
airspeed indicator maccready speed-to-fly
alcohol and drugs magnetic compass
alert areas maintaining runway alignment
altimeter maintenance
angle-of-attack vs speed maneuvering speed
anxiety memory
application for certificate military operations areas
approach and landing minimum safe altitudes
arrival and departure routes minimum sink speed
attitude indicator moisture
automated surface observing system (asos/awos) motion sickness
automated terminal information service (atis) motivation
automatic direction finder (adf) national transportation safety board
aviation area forecast (fa) navigation
aviation routine weather report (metar) newton on gliders
aviation terminal forecast (taf) obstacles to learning
avionics oral quizzes
barograph overbanking and yaw in a turn
barriers to communication oxygen systems
behavioral traps parachutes
best glide speed parasite drag
boxing the wake pattern references
briefings pattern speeds
carbon monoxide perceptions
category and class personal checklist
centrifugal force, centripetal force, and lift phonetic alphabet
change of address pilotage
chord, camber and angle-of-attack pirep
class a airspace planning instruction
class b airspace plotting a course
class c airspace position lights
class d airspace preflight
class e airspace principles of learning
clearance private pilots
clearing turns professionalism
cloud height pseudo-adiabatic chart
clouds radar summary charts
collision avoidance and airspace radar traffic advisories
commercial pilots radio communication
communication radio navigation
composite moisture stability charts regulations
computer based training relative humidity and dew point
constant pressure analysis charts release from tow
convection remembering
convective outlook charts required certificates
convective sigmet (wst) restricted areas
coriolis ridge soaring
crabbing right-of-way
critique and evaluation rollout
crosswind landings scuba diving
currency requirements seat belts and harnesses
decide model side slip
decision making steps sigmet (ws)
defense mechanisms significant weather prognostic charts
dehydration signs and surface markings
demonstration-performance skew-t/log-p charts
density altitude skids vs slips
deviation from regulations slack line
dew and frost slips
directional stability soaring forecast
domains of learning spatial disorientation
downwind landing speed-to-fly for distance
dropping objects speed-to-fly for speed
e-6b computer spins
effect of drag on glide ratio spiral dive
effect of turning sport pilots
effect of weight stability
electrical systems stall
emergency locator transmitter (elt) standard atmosphere
final glide stress
flaps stress & fatigue
flight instructors student pilots
flight restrictions surface analysis charts
flutter syllabus
fog teaching
forces acting on an airfoil teaching methods
forces on the glider in straight flight telling and doing
forgetting temperature lapse rates
forward slip temporary flight restrictions (tfr)
glide ratio the atmosphere
glider assembly the pitot-static system
glider axes of motion thermaling speeds
glider controls thermaling techniques
glider polar curve thermals
global positioning system (gps) thunderstorms
go-ahead point time zones
going places total energy compensation
ground effect touchdown
ground instructors traffic pattern and landing
ground launch trailing vorticies
group learning transcribed weather broadcast (tweb)
guided discussion transponder
gyroscopic instruments trapped air
hazardous attitudes turn coordinator
hazardous inflight weather advisory service (hiwas) turns
heading indicator unstable air
hierarchy of needs variometer
high tow vs low tow vectors
highs and lows very high frequency omni-directional range (vor)
hyperventilation vfr visibility and cloud clearance requirements
hypoxia victor airways and mtrs
icing vision considerations
illusions visual approach slope indicators
in-flight aviation weather information wake turbulence
inclinometer and yaw string wave soaring
induced drag weather
insight weather chart symbols
inspections weather charts
instructional aids weather depiction charts
instructor responsibilities weather reports and forecasts
integrated flight instruction weight and balance
interception procedures wind shear
isobars and wind wind triangle
knowledge and practical tests winds and temperatures aloft (fd)
land and sea breezes written tests
landing gear

© 2005 Jim D. Burch 602-942-2734