Intro Flight Info

Thank you for your interest in learning to fly gliders with NCSA. The way to start is to set up an Introductory Glider Flight with an NCSA flight instructor. To arrange an introductory flight on a given weekend day (we are a club, not an FBO, so we generally fly only on weekends) you will need to directly contact the club’s flight instructor who is on duty that day. The duty instructors are listed on our operations schedule which can be found at  The duty instructor on a given day is highlighted in yellow and his email address is next to the name.  Each instructor maintains his own schedule.  Instructor schedules can fill up many days ahead of time so there may or may not be an open slot for your preferred day.  Your flight instructor will send out a schedule indicating who is flying when a few days before the day of the flight. 


The usual process is that, if you like the flight, the instruction, and what you see of the club on that introductory flight, you would become a "trial member" which entitles you to a month's worth of flying days (typically up to 8 flying days in a five or six week span); to continue after that you must take a regular membership to remain eligible to take lessons from NCSA instructors and fly NCSA equipment.


Details, and an application, are on our club website (, and you should work with John Randazzo ( who handles the membership process.


If you have any problem making contact, problems scheduling a flight, or for any questions not answered below, please send email to


Here is some useful information for your introductory flight: 


Please try to arrive at the airport at least an hour before you scheduled time that so you can help out at the flight line and become familiar with our operations.


Wear something appropriate for the weather.  In summer it can get very hot at Byron, often in the high nineties or even into triple digits.  In the winter it can be cool to cold. And it can be windy around the airport in any season. You will be standing around the flightline, observing and perhaps helping push gliders around, possibly for some time before your flight. There is no source of food.  Bring water, and if you will be there a considerable time bring a snack as well.  There is no protection from heat, cold, or sun, so wear appropriate clothing and have protection from the sun, including sunglasses. If you plan to wear a baseball hat while flying, take off the button on the top. That button can crack a canopy. Big hats with brims are OK although your flight instructor, who sits in the back, may ask you to remove it to improve their visibility during take-off and landing.


Once you are flying, it will also be around 10 degrees cooler at altitude, but that will be mostly offset by the greenhouse effect of being under a plexiglass canopy.


As mentioned on our main page, there is a $95 fee for introductory flights to cover the aerotow to 3500' and glider usage. If there's lift (and we hope there is) you could be up for an hour. If there's no lift, you'll be on the ground about 25 minutes after take-off.


Please be aware that there is a range of passenger weights we can accommodate. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate individuals who weigh more than 220 pounds, due to weight-and-balance safety limitations on the glider.  Also, individuals who weigh less than 110 pounds may need to fly in the back seat. Please let us know right away if passenger weight is an issue.

Directions: Park in the lot by the airport terminal located at:,-119.306607&sspn=9.158915,19.138184&hq=c83&t=m&z=15

You can go thru the terminal building onto the airport. You'll see the gliders parked across the tarmac and off to the right. Often, you can just walk out to the gliders tie-down area and find someone from the club. However, airport regulations prohibit individuals from walking beyond the tie-down area so please don't walk beyond the tie-downs. To get to our launch area you'll need a ride in one of our golf carts (unless the Airport Operations Specialist is willing to give you a ride to our launch area).  To arrange a ride in one of our golf carts try the following:


1.     If there's someone around the gliders, ask if they can call on the radio for a ride (or if you have a handheld, call Byron Glider Ground on 123.05)


2.     Text and/or call the duty instructor (ask for his cell phone number). Please be patient. He may be flying.


3.     Ask the Airport Operations Specialist if he can give you a ride

Safety moment: Airplanes have the right of way over automobiles and foot traffic, so step well aside if one comes while you're walking around the tie-down area. If walking around the tie-down area, be aware that the cables we tie the gliders and trailers to make great tripping hazards. Do not walk on the taxiways. Once you're at the launch area, do not go onto a runway except when you're being shown how to launch and retrieve a glider. Never approach the tow plane (or any plane) from the front, even if the propeller is not moving. Stay well clear of all propellers at all times. They can be lethal.  

If you’d like to learn a bit more about gliding before your intro flight, take a look at  


Look at chapters 2 & 3. (Note: there’s a lot more in there than will be covered in your first flight).


I hope you have a blast!


Van Emden Henson

President (Acting)

Northern California Soaring Association