Two weeks ago, I was spending another family vacation in Lake Tahoe, California. It was my 5th time out West to Lake Tahoe for a summer vacation, but the 1st time I had done it as a newly minted pilot. If you’ve been following the blog, you know that I completed my first solo flight the week I turned 16 with 4.5 total flight hours. In June, I did my first solo “cross-country” flight with 15 flight hours. You can find articles and videos from these flights by clicking on this link, which will take you to the “Flight Training” section of the site: Flight Training

 

Lake Tahoe is essentially a 22×12 mile long granite bowl surrounded by snow covered mountains, in the high Sierras. It sits on the border of California and Nevada. Needless to say, after years of vacationing there, I was excited to see everything from a different angle! There are two general aviation airports serving Lake Tahoe (Truckee-Tahoe, and South Lake Tahoe). In addition, the Reno International Airport serves commercial traffic to the area. You can read flight reports from my commercial flying into Reno here: Flight Reports

Originally, the plan was for me to take a Cessna 172 mountain training lesson out of the Truckee Tahoe Airport (KTRK). That morphed into a glider lesson with Soar Truckee out of the same airport. I decided that it would be more valuable to learn a little bit about gliding and get some mountain training vs. flying in the normal C172.

The Truckee-Tahoe Airport:

You can read the full article about my first glider flight lesson here: First Glider Flight Lesson with Soar Truckee

Here is the full video of our flight with added music (click on this link if viewing from an email: First Glider Flight Lesson KTRK):

The Truckee-Tahoe Airport is Northwest of Lake Tahoe, close to the town of Truckee, California. It has two runways; Runway 10/28 (7,000ft x 100ft) and Runway 1/19 (4,650ft x 75ft). When looking at the main terminal during vacation months, one can see upwards of 15 private jets ranging from Phenom 100’s to Gulfstream 5’s. Gliders land and depart via Runway 19, which is adjacent to the Soar Truckee Glider FBO.

The Soar Truckee FBO, where I took my glider lesson, is located in an isolated, quiet part of the airport. The surrounding mountains are famous for gliding, thus, there are numerous gliders on the ramp, in storage, etc. This was the first airport FBO I had ever reached by dirt road! It was comprised of just one small building against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevadas.

Arriving at the Soar Truckee site, I met my instructor, Jan Driessen. He flew with the Belgian Air Force in some of the first military fighters around. Jan has been flying gliders for 59 years, amassing over 22,000 hours in gliders alone! Knowing that my instructor has so much experience was comforting to me since this was my first glider flight.

The Truckee-Tahoe Airport is one of, if not the most scenic airports I’ve ever flown out of. It’s surrounded on all sides by mountains, some of which in the summer still have snow. Very shortly after taking off from the airport, you’ll have great views of Lake Tahoe and some of the most famous skiing resorts in the world.

Here is the video of our glider takeoff and release from the Truckee-Tahoe Airport:

Flying over KTRK, my instructor and I counted 15+ private jets, an unusual amount of very expensive traffic for even this vacation destination! Every now and then, you could see one take off or land a few thousand feet below us. Here are some ariel views:

As I said before, flying out of the Truckee Airport is highly scenic. Here are a few shots I took flying around the area:

Here is the video of our glider landing at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport:

Overall, I had an awesome experience flying into and out of the Truckee-Tahoe Airport. The people there were friendly, always making sure you were enjoying yourself. Hopefully I’ll be going back sometime soon and will take another flight around the area!

Thanks for reading and watching!,
Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

About The Author

Swayne Martin

I started this website to show you why you'll love becoming a pilot. As an owner and editor of Boldmethod Pilot Training, I've spent years working with pilots all around the world to make their dreams a reality. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

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