Benz Aviation has been the Great Lakes regions largest commercial soaring center for over 50 years!
All Benz Aviation pilots are FAA certified "commercial" pilots. This provides our customers a higher level of pilot experience vs. soaring "clubs" that also offer public glider rides.
Scenic Glider Rides • Glider Instruction • Glider Towing • Glider Rental • Airplane Rides
Aircraft Rental • FAA Testing • Fuel • Tie Down • Hangars • Events
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you not find the answers to your questions on this page, we invite you to contact us, anytime.
What is a glider ride like? Soaring is amazing, as anyone who has done it will tell you. Once the glider is "cast off" from the towing airplane, or the engine is turned off on a glider with its own motor...it is a magical ride, as the glider quietly carves its path through the air. If lucky enough to catch a "thermal," (a broad column of rising warm air usually found in the afternoon) the magic is magnified as the sailplane accelerates upward like a smooth, powerful elevator. You may even soar within 50 feet of hawks, eagles, pelicans, and other birds, sharing the same amazing view.
Is it safe? Gliders have a proven track record worldwide as safe, enjoyable flying media. It does not carry fuel, and does not have heavy engines - they are built to exact specifications with strength and safety in mind. The long, graceful wings typically allow a slow descent of 100 to 300 feet per minute, and gliders are designed to land slowly in unimproved fields. Our pilots are experienced FAA Certified Pilots, and are happy to answer your questions and concerns.
Is there an age restriction? Anyone 8 years old and older can take a ride!
What is the weight limit? Weight limit is 270 lb. Additional weight may need to be added to plan for anyone under 100 lbs.
How long is the ride? Atmospheric conditions and time of day will determine the length of a glider ride. The best days are ones with clear skies, low winds, white, puffy cumulus clouds, and high barometric pressure. Morning and evening rides may be shorter but often mean smoother rides; mid-afternoon rides often last longer.
Would this be a good gift? Absolutely, especially for that hard-to-shop-for, already-has-everything person in your life - or as a treat for yourself. The thrill of soaring through the skies will be an unforgettable experience. We welcome you to visit the many options on our Gilder Rides page.
Can I train to pilot a glider? Yes, we offer training on our Schweizer 2-33 gliders. Training is offered in week-long camps, with convenient morning or late afternoon 4-hour sessions. Please contact us for the next session date.
CURRENT FAQ IS VERY GENERAL, PROBABLY WANT TO EDIT TO BENZ’ SPECIFIC OFFERINGS, I.E.
– STEP BY STEP SCENARIO (TALK TO CFI, SET GOALS, SIGN UP, GET MEDICAL, ETC.)
– OFFERING RECREATIONAL/PRIVATE/COMMERCIAL CERTIFICATES?
– CFI AVAILABILITY? AIRCRAFT AVAILABILITY?
– PART 141? 61?
How long does it take to get a private pilot certificate? How often you decide to fly and take instruction will determine the length of your path to your private pilot certificate. While the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) requires a minimum of 35 or 40 flight training hours (depending on the type of training center), for most people, it takes anywhere from 50 to 80 hours of training to earn their private pilot certificate. These hours do not include pre- and post- flight discussions with your CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), but are of course part of the training.
Do you offer access to high speed internet/wifi? Yes
Are there places to eat nearby? There are a number of sit-down and take-out options within minutes. Applebee’s, Big Boy’s, Jimmy John’s, McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Biggby’s, and more…
What kinds of stores are nearby? You’ll be able to find everything from tools to socks at these stores, all at our crossroad: Tractor Supply Company (TSC), Menard’s, Goodwill, Walmart, and Dollar Tree.
Where are you located?
By AIR: Y70 N 4256.3 W 08503.6
By LAND: 3147 S State Road, Ionia, MI 48846, USA
Do I need an appointment to visit? No, you are always welcome to stop by and speak to us in person.