There is quite a bit more to earning a private pilot certificate than simply knowing how to fly an aircraft. You must acquire the aeronautical knowledge needed to safely and competently act as pilot in command of an aircraft. The required knowledge areas are specified in 14 CFR 61.105 – Aeronautical Knowledge; knowledge which is both general, with respect to earning a private pilot certificate, and specific to the category of aircraft to be flown; in our case “glider”. Topics include regulation, aerodynamics, navigation, the nation airspace system, radio communication, aero-medical factors, weather, etc.. There is a lot to know.
You can acquire this knowledge by:
- working with an authorized ground instructor or certificated glider flight instructor (CFIG), either on an individual basis or in a group setting (ground school) and/or
- completing a home study course.
In my opinion, Russ Holtz’s Glider Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge is by far the best resource available for acquiring the required aeronautical knowledge.
The F.A.A.’s Glider Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-13A) is also commonly recommended. It is available commercially in print or may be downloaded at no cost from the FAA. While full of good information, I personally find this document somewhat poorly written and difficult to read. That said, I do recommend you read it.