Come Visit! - Here's how to find us

CSA Operations ShackIMPORTANT - Please park south of the wooden shed or our clubhouse. The airfield owners who live in the house at the end of the driveway are not part of the club, so please do not disturb them.

The private airfield we operate from (1AL4) belongs to a gracious couple who understand the value of having the only glider club within easy reach of Southern Alabama and Northwest Florida. Although it is their airfield, they are not involved in the day to day operations of the club. It is important that we take steps to minimize any disruptions to their daily lives. Please follow the above procedures when visiting the club for your first time.

Map - Elsanor Airport, Robertsdale, Al 36567

Soaring - flying in its finest form.

Every year more people are discovering the pleasure, satisfaction and enjoyment of piloting a sailplane. You realize a new sense of achievement as you glide your motorless craft smoothly and silently; powered by nature's boundless store of energy - the sun.

Saufly Field from a SchweizerIt's easy! If you've always wanted to try soaring, here's you opportunity. Coastal Soaring Association invites to to take an introductory ride.

From your vantage point you will experience the feeling of what it is like to be a pilot of your own aircraft, while your instructor explains the basic techniques of soaring. You will have an opportunity to view the beautiful Pensacola area. Often you can see Perdido Bay and the beaches. Be sure to take your camera. If you like, your pilot will allow you to take a turn at the controls.

Soaring has universal appeal. It is a safe and simple sport that isn't restricted to any special group or age. In fact, the Federal Administration Administratin (FAA) has set the minimum age to pilot a sailplane solo at 14-years-old. A day at Elsanor Airport near Pensacola learning to fly is a pleasure and soaring is a pastime that the entire family can become involved in and enjoy.

Why not give it a try and discover for yourself the freedom and satisfaction of the truest form of flight.

We'll Show You How! You Need No Previous Flight Experience!

It's east to start. Most people take a introductory sailplane ride to "see what it's like" and then buy a book on soaring to learn more about the sport. Before you start your formal training you should purchase a log book. We can help you do that. Your instructor will also show you how to get your student license. No physical exam is required, but you must be able to certify that you have no physical defects that would make you unable to pilot a glider safely.

The average person will take 30-35 lessons before he or she is permitted to fly solo. The average cost of flights and instruction is $1700. Current power pilots can normally transition into gliders and solo in 8 to 10 flights. Average cost for transition pilots is $550. These estimates do not include initiation and monthly dues.

Coastal Soaring's Yellow BlanikHow To Get Started

All you have to do is contact us and schedule a 95.00 introductory flight. After that, if you find yourself "hooked" - and you probably will... all you do is join the Coastal Soaring Association and we'll take it from there - working with you to schedule training in all the facets of club membership and airfield operation and flying..

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is it like to fly? Flying in a sailplane is nothing at all like flying in an airliner. The difference is perhaps something like that between a bus and a bicycle. You will sit in a small, close fitting cockpit. There will likely be many turns, what appear to be steep angles of bank, and turbulence. The view is superb, and the response to the pilot's control inputs is almost immediate.

What are the costs involved in learning to fly at CSA? Because we are a non-profit club, we do everything we can do to keep our prices at the lowest levels possible. We maintain our own aircraft and volunteer loads of time toward providing ourselves and anyone interested in learning to fly gliders with the opportunity to do what the majority of people will never get the opportunity to do. Our fees and prices are posted at the top of the right column.

Will I get airsick? Most people do not get airsick on short glider flights. However if you do start feeling uncomfortable, it is best not to be a hero about it. Tell the pilot and ask him if he can smooth out the flight and/or bring you back down.

What will I do during the flight? Relax and enjoy the view. Take photos if you have a camera. Be sure to keep hands off the control stick and feet off the rudder pedals unless instructed otherwise by the pilot. Many pilots like to talk and answer questions, but be sure to be quiet during the takeoff and the approach and landing, when all of the pilot's concentration must be on the task at hand.

How many passengers can go up? Only one on a flight. There are no three-place sailplanes at Coastal. In our two two-place planes, there is room only for a pilot and one passenger.

Are there weight limits? Yes. All sailplanes have weight limits for safety. The limit varies for different sailplanes, but it is likely that people weighing more than about 242 pounds will not be able to fly.

How long will the flight last? If there are no thermals (rising air currents), a typical flight will only last fifteen minutes or so. If there are thermals (most likely to found from 1-5 pm on sunny days), and the pilot is successful in using them, the flight might last up to about an hour. Most club sailplanes are limited to one hour of flying, if and when another club member is waiting to use the sailplane..

Are there other things to do at the field besides fly? If you like to watch sailplanes, you are guaranteed to be able to get a close up view of planes and operations. There will almost certainly also be pilots hanging around who will be glad to answer questions, brag, and swap stories.

Can I get something to eat at the field? Probably not. There will likely be water available at the field, but it is a good idea to bring some lunch and water if you plan to stay awhile.

Can I bring my children and/or my dog? Children are welcome if they are able to understand the importance of not running out on the runway or climbing on the gliders. Our runway is a big, inviting, grass field which may be hard for a child to resist. But the gliders come in silently and a serious accident is possible if an unsuspecting child or adult ventures out on the runway while one is landing. Dogs are more problematical. We ask you to exercise good judgement about them and, if you bring a dog, also bring a leash.

What should I bring with me? It can be sunny and hot. We suggest bringing a sun hat, sun block, and water bottle. If you plan to stay all day, you may want to bring a folding chair, food, and maybe a book. You can probably get some good shots if you bring a camera, especially with a telephoto lens. However, you must never go out on the runway to take a picture. You may think you can run off the runway in time to avoid an accident, but a landing pilot can't know that for sure.

Are there other places to get a glider ride? Unfortunately, other than the club faciltiy at Elsanor Airport there are no other nearby soaring sites. The Soaring Society of America maintains a searchable nationwide list of soaring locations at their website.

Clubhouse Deck and Stairs Fund

Our VP, Tom Johnson, has initiated a fund to build a deck and set of stairs for the clubhouse. The deck will have sunshades we can erect when we are in operation. You can donate via the “Fund, Deck” link on our clubhouse PC, or you can contact our Treasurer, Justin Gish, directly to have your donation invoiced.”

Tom Johnson
Club Vice President

Total Fund as of: 30Sep17

Intro Flights

If you're interested in learning what flying gliders is all about -- or know someone who is -- this is a great opportunity to experience the thrill of soaring like an eagle. CSA offers introductory flights that will take you through preflight, launch behind a tow plane, 20 to 30 minutes of flying, and, of course, a safe and exciting approach and landing.

Because we are a volunteer, non-profit club-- and are always trying to keep costs as low as possible -- we charge $95.00 for each Intro Flight... but they are truly worth every penny! You will not be disappointed.

Intro Flight Gift Certificates are also available at $95.00 each.

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Click Here For Our Full Price List

Club Officers:

  • President: Emmett Moran
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  • Vice President: Tom Johnson
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  • Secretary: John Bolyard
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  • Treasurer: Justin Gish
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Club Instructors:

Certified Flight Instructors - Glider (CFIG)
  • Dave Galloway
  • Roger Hinote
  • Rus Howard
  • Tom Johnson
  • Emmett Moran
  • Daniel Nezgoda
  • Carl Vimtrup
Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)
  • Dave Galloway
  • Carl Vimtrup

Find us at Elsanor Airport:

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Spot Weather Checks:

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