Come Soar With Us...
Come soar with us over the beautiful and historic Shenandoah Valley. Skyline Soaring Club at the Front Royal - Warren County Airport (FRR) near Front Royal, Virginia. Located about 50 miles west of Dulles International Airport and about 70 miles west of downtown Washington, DC, we are situated conveniently to residents and visitors to the nation's capital.
Front Royal marks the northern end of the famous Skyline Drive, a splendid scenic route that runs south down the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Several of the Shenandoah Valley's famous limestone caverns are nearby, including Skyline Caverns just a few miles south of the airport. There are many other tourist attractions in the area, including dozens of Civil War battlefields - the town of Winchester, 17 miles north, changed hands more than a dozen times!
Located between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the northern tip of the Massanutten Ridge on the west, we have excellent soaring conditions - thermal, ridge, and wave; it's not unheard of for a soaring pilot to experience all three in a single flight!
Our membership includes FAA-Certified Glider Instructors who are skilled commercial pilots, some with thousands of both power and sailplane hours. Three have been designated by the FAA as Wright Brothers Master Pilots for accomplishing 50 years of safe and violation-free flying.
Our club operates four gliders, which are available for rental by members. Our fleet consists of two two-seaters, an ASK-21 and a Grob 103, and two single-seaters, a Schweizer 1-36 and a Discus CS. Additionally, many of our members own private gliders, either individually or in partnership with others. The privately-owned gliders include a an LS-1, two Shlempp-Hirth Duo Discuses, an ASG-29, an LS-4, an LS-3A, a DG-303 ELAN, five 1-26s, a Cirrus, a Bergfalke, a Shempp-Hirth Ventus A, an ASW-20C, an SZD-59, a Genesis, and a Centrair Pegasus.
All our members are eager to share their experience and love of soaring with students and visitors. Many members have published articles about soaring - check some of them out by clicking on the highlighted link!
As a trial member you can enjoy riding in a sailplane over beautiful Shenandoah Valley at a nominal cost, while deciding whether or not you want to become a regular member. You can experience the freedom of flying as the birds do. Temporary Members report good experiences from their first visits!
Are There Physical Limitations to Soaring?
Yes, there are. One of the most common is weight! For example, many of us are sensitive about our weights. Well, gliders are sensitive about that too. Safety parameters exist for pilot and passenger weights in all small aircraft. In general, individuals weighing more than 110 kg (242 lbs) may not be able to fly in gliders. These limitations exist for safety reasons.
Learning to Soar...
Hundreds of Americans from high school students to grandparents learn to soar each year. Nothing more than normal coordination and a love of the air is required. Members can learn to soar either as beginners or transition pilots. Flight training is in two-place sailplanes noted for their safety record and docile handling characteristics. All Club instructors are SSAI (Soaring Society of America Instructors) who administer the "ABC/Bronze" badge program which takes you through a carefully organized series of steps to being a competent and safe soaring pilot. (Of course, all instructors are certificated by the FAA.) While there is considerable variance in the speed with which individuals learn to fly, it takes an average of 35 flights to solo. At the right time in your training program, a designated FAA examiner (the Club's Chief Flight Instructor is also an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner) will fly with you to test your qualifications for a Private Airman's Certificate which will permit you to carry passengers in a glider.
For the Power Pilot...
Transition pilots are guided through the same training syllabus as ab initio pilots to assure that the training is thorough. Of course, the training usually goes much quicker, particularly if the candidate has taildragger experience. The addition of a glider rating to a private ASEL (or higher) pilot rating requires instruction in the characteristics unique to gliders and a minimum of 10 solo flights. An oral and flight exam is necessary but no written is required. While a glider rating requires no medical exam, you can not have any known medical problems that would be a hazard when flying.
Want to read more about training??
Check Us Out...
The North and South Forks of the Shenandoah river merge just north of the airport to form the beautiful and storied Shenandoah River. The Massanutten Ridge, ca. 4 miles west, provides a textbook example of ridge soaring. Weather conditions also often create very good wave soaring. If you want to experience the freedom of soaring over a stunning natural setting, come fly with us as a trial member. Then if you want to learn to fly sailplanes in a club atmosphere, you can become a regular member and receive instruction leading to a glider license. For the licensed power pilot transition instruction for a sailplane rating is available.
Skyline Soaring Club Inc. operates on weekends and some holidays, from the end of February through mid-December, from 10 am to whenever we stop. Occasional other weekday flying by prior arrangement. Please e-mail our VP for Membership Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For those flying in, see Front Royal - Warren County Airport (FRR), managed by Cass Aviation. Open 8:00 AM - 7:30 PM May through September, 8:30 AM - dusk October through April. Elevation 709, runways 10 and 28, dimensions: 3,008x75, asphalt, UNICOM/CTAF 123.0.
And if You're SERIOUS (or just nosy) . . .
You can check out the Club's Operations Manual [PDF] which provides all the nitty-gritty detail about membership types, rules & restrictions, procedures, etc. It's in a (large) PDF file which can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat by clicking on the hyperlink above.
Skyline Soaring Club Facilities...
The Club operates out of new, commodious hangars located on the north side of the airport about midfield. We fly the Schleicher ASK-21, Grob-103, Shempp-Hirth Discus CS, and the Schweizer 1-36 "Sprite". Towing is provided by a powerful Piper Pawnee, and an Aviat Husky. Tie-downs are available from the FBO, and very limited hangar space is available from the club.
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