Frequently Asked Questions

About Soaring

About Sky Sailing

About Your Adventure


About Soaring

Is It Safe?

Anything that moves can go bump! But with that said: Since 1959, Sky Sailing™ has not had a student or passenger injured. All flights are flown by FAA Certified Commercial pilots. It is extremely safe since the sailplane carries no fuel or heavy engine, and is designed to land slowly in unimproved fields. Also, the sailplane is built stronger than most small aircraft! Slow speeds, short landings, nothing volatile and strength make this sport one of the safest.

What happens if the wind quits?

As long as there is air and gravity the sailplane can safely fly! Actually, by using their long, graceful wings, the sailplane typically descends at approximately 100 to 300 feet every minute. By utilizing the weather the glider can stay up for very long periods of time and fly great distances, all without using gas or oil, sailplanes use solar power. Even though it is called a sailplane, it does not have a sail.

Is it a glider or a sailplane?

Technically speaking, we fly sailplanes but the terms gilder and sailplane are often interchanged. We think of a "glider" as having a glide ration of less than 20:1. This means for every foot that it goes down, it goes 20 feet forward. There are sailplanes with glide ratios of over 60:1. The highest glide ratio in our fleet is the Stemme Motorglider with a glide ratio of 50:1.

How long can the sailplane stay up?

The limiting factor is your bladder! By using the weather, sailplanes have flown over 1,500 miles and climbed to almost 50,000 feet. Our rides are approximately 20, 30 or 40 minutes long. Flights over 5 hours are not uncommon at Sky Sailing. Time is from the start of the take-off roll to landing.

How do the gliders get into the air?

The sailplane is towed into the air by a powered aircraft behind a 200 foot rope. When the pilot of the glider reaches the altitude he/she wants, they release the tow rope. The tow rope returns behind the tow plane. Usually, the glider releases in lift and works up higher. If there is no lift, the glider glides back to the airport.

About Sky Sailing

How long does it take to drive to Warner Springs?

That depends on where you are driving from and how fast you drive and who you get stuck behind! We are located in the beautiful Back Country which is the recreation area for San Diego and Los Angeles. From downtown San Diego, plan on a nice 1 1/2 hour drive. From LA about 2 hours and Under 2 hours from Palm Springs. Make a day of your Great Adventure and visit some of the many sites out here. For more detailed directions see our Maps page.

What is the cost of a sailplane?

Like cars, the range is great and depends on the age and condition of the vehicle. There are many great, fun sailplanes available from under $10,000. New, competitive ships are over $300,000. Our two seat trainers are valued at about $8-10,000 while the 3 seaters are around $60,000.

Why should we fly at Sky Sailing?

Sky Sailing™, Inc at Warner Springs Airport enjoys the best year round weather. Since 1959, Sky Sailing has been the world leader in the sport of soaring. We are a small, family run corporation. Bret, Karen, Garret, Boyd and the rest of the Sky Sailing family are very proud of our operation and invite you to join us in the world of soaring. Besides, we appreciate you, and want you as a part of our Sky Sailing family!

About Your Adventure

How long is the 20 minute ride?

Approximately, 20 minutes! The time on flights varies with the weather and type of flight. If you want a roller coaster type ride it will be more thrilling but shorter in time. If there is no lift, we tow to an altitude which would give the time aloft, assuming no roller coasters. Time aloft is approximate, each ride is different. Our rides average more than they are suppose to since our pilots are here to enjoy themselves also!

What are the ages to fly?

For the rides, there is no minimum age. However, if a child is too young he/she will not appreciate it. We find that 4 or 5 years is when the ride becomes more appreciated. To solo, one must be 14 years old. The oldest to solo at Sky Sailing was 82. That gives you a good range to work with.

What is meant by "average size/weight" for the rides for two?

The FAA considers a weight of 170 to be average. The maximum weight for the single ride in the normal trainer is 242 pounds. On the three seat ship a combined weight of the passengers is about 360 pounds. The biggest problem is hip room. The passengers sit side by side in 29". We do use grease and a shoe horn, but it may become uncomfortable and it may be best to split the rides into two rides or Intros for one.

When is the Best Time to Fly? Reservations?

The best time to fly is when you can get here! Earlier flights, before 11 am and after 3 pm are the smoothest. During the heat of the day we have more unstable air that means it is probably better soaring, but bumpier! So it is more your decision on the type of ride you want. If there is no lift, we will tow to an altitude, which gives the approximate time for the ride you are on. We are open 7 days a week from 9 to 5 (sometimes later by appointment only)

Making reservations. We definitely recommend making reservations on Weekdays because we only have a few pilots. On weekends reservations are recommended, but we have extra pilots just for walk-ins. Depending on the day we usually can get you in with no problem a few days ahead for you flight and often that day! However, the further ahead, the better to your first choice. Click Here to order online!

Should we Tip the Pilot and/or Crew?

Money is not the reason our pilots are here, however if you feel they did a great job and would like to tip, then by all means please do. Tips are not expected but they are very appreciated. It feels very good when someone gives us a tip!

The line crew (most are high school kids) and desk personnel are paid minimum wage and any tip makes them feel on top of the world and they talk about it for days!


GoPro System Requirements

For Windows-based computers, we require:
  • Windows Vista or later
  • 3.2 GHz Pentium 4 or faster
  • Direct X 9.0c or Later
  • At least 2 GB of system RAM
  • Video card with at least 256MB of RAM
For Mac OS-based computers, we require:
  • Mac OS X v10.4.11 or later
  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo or faster
  • At least 2 GB of system RAM
  • Video card with at least 256MB of RAM

GoPro SD Cards

Our video and still pictures are taken with the GoPro HD HERO cameras. We have had reports of problems viewing.

We have seen some computers will not read the files at all. Please try a different computer and put in the SD card. Possibly the lock is ON, on the side of the card. If another computer reads the card, be sure to copy the files. Another step would be to remove the Micro SD and insert it into the computer or use a different adapter.

On your card there should be a folder DCIM, then gopro, then your pictures or video. On your ride you were given the option of stills or video (additional charge on a larger SD card, the larger SD card is needed for video). The camera is then set to do one of them; we do not shoot both stills and video at the same time (not possible). You can take a picture from your video since the video is in HD.

If somehow the pictures did not get on the card, we do not have any way to make them appear, you have the only original. The still photos are a gift and included with your ride, there is no refund. Video is an option and we will refund your money as soon as we get your SD card returned. We need the card to see if there is anything we can do to try and not have this happen again in the future. On a couple we have found we can read the card and I just burned it onto a DVD and returned that to the customer.

We do everything we can to make your Soaring Adventure the best we can. Technology is beyond our control and if your video is not what you expected we are happy to refund your upgrade option. We only ask that you return the SD card and let us know what was not up to your expectation.

If all else fails, give the card to a teenager since they already know it all!

You can also look at GoPro's HD HERO Page.

My PC will not playback the .mp4 video files.

  • The camera records in MPEG4 (.mp4) files using h.264 compression
  • If using Windows Media Player or Movie Maker, make sure you download the latest HD-capable version and also download a H.264 decoder to update media or movie maker. CoreCodec CoreAVC is one company that offers a codec pack for h.264.
  • VLC media player is another video media player program that you can download for free, which supports .mp4 h.264 files. Find VLC Here.

I use a PC, what programs can be used to view and edit the videos?

Windows Media Player or Movie Maker (download the latest HD-capable version and also download a H.264 decoder to update media or movie maker).

VLC media player. Download this free video media player that supports .mp4 h.264 files.

For other PC based editing programs, we have had several customers give good reviews of the Pinnacle Studio HD editing software which is compatible with the MP4 files.

Adobe Premier Elements PC based program that is compatible with MP4 files.

If you have an existing program that does not support MP4 files, you also have the option of using a file conversion software such as Squared5 or VLC Media Player to convert your files into a format compatible with your particular editing program.

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