Job with a View
"Glider Pilot"

Suzanne Connor on the ground

After 22 years of flying high inside the cockpits of glider planes, pilot Suzanne Connor still gets a charge out of her unusual job. The native German and single mom operates “Sun Valley Soaring”; a company that offers the general public a chance to soar over the panoramic views of Sun Valley in an airplane that has no engine.

No engine!? It’s a lot safer than it sounds.

Gliders differ from traditional prop driven planes in that they soar on air currents and wind. Gliders typically feature a wing-span one and a-half to two-times longer than the average prop plane. Once a glider is towed up to a safe altitude, it’s those extra long wings that allow it to silently soar for hours, in good conditions, all day.

Glider in the air

Connor enjoys her bird’s eye view of Sun Valley. And she says the birds pay attention to her, too. She says eagles and hawks often follow her ‘big white bird’ in search of thermal lift. “Thermals” are rising columns of warm air which help gliders—and birds—gain altitude.

Suzanne Connor offers glider rides year round, depending on the weather. She charges about $200 for two people to enjoy a 30 to 40 minute ride.