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Is it harder to get a first pilot certificate in a motorglider (glider - self launch) vs. normal powered aircraft near St. Paul, MN.

It seems like a self launch glider certificate would be a great way to start because of better stick and rudder skills, lower age requirements (for my son), cheaper operating costs, glider hours apply toward power aircraft requirements, etc but I'm concerned that it might be a bad path because it appears to be rare and hard to find instruction near St. Paul, MN.

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It will be harder to get initial training in a motor glider near St. Paul, because motor gliders are kind of rare around here.

However, consider this:

Instruction in a un-powered glider is mind-bogglingly cheap compared to power instruction. And it has the other mentioned benefits - stick and rudder skills, low age limits, etc.

After getting a first pilot certificate in a non-motor glider (and after suitable further training), one may add Motor Glider ("self-launch") privileges with only an instructor endorsement - no Designated Pilot Examiner needed!

One may also add Light Sport - Airplane privileges with a two-instructor endorsement process - also no Designated Pilot Examiner needed! If you or your son want to fly LSAs, starting with a glider rating can be a great bargain.

And you have options! Some clubs: Minnesota Soaring Club in Stanton, Red Wing Soaring Association in Osceola (* note NOT in Red Wing, despite the name); and a commercial operation: Cross Country Soaring in Faribault. Not to mention any private instructors you may ferret out in the community.

I personally am a member of RWSA and hope to get my self-launch and LSA endorsements one of these days, but I'm having plenty of fun soaring in towed gliders in the meantime.

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Though it is not part of your question, why are you not considering the conventional (Aerotow) soaring path for your son. My glider club, The Skyline Soaring Club has a rotating group of young folks that take advantage of the instruction the club offers. Last year, we had several fourteen year olds solo and a number of sixteen year olds have gotten their glider ratings through our club.

It looks like there is a club based in the St Paul area, the Minnesota Soaring Club, that likely does a similar thing. My suggestion is that you strongly consider this path for your son.

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