Financial heath of Commercial Soaring Operations.
There was a post about making sailplane racing more popular again. I am wondering about the financial health and well being of the commercial and club operators in the US. I have noticed in my absence from Soaring we lost two glider operations in Southern Cal that I regularly flew from (Hemet, Cal City), I also used to regularly fly from Minden in the Summer, they used to support two commercial operation, now there is one, for sale and it doesn't operate the entire year.
I would put forth that having healthy commercial operations and club operations should be priority for all glider pilots. I see at the sites I regularly fly from now, the attendance it much lower, even with two local sites closed.
I wanted to thank all the clubs and commercial operations that service our sport and I hope all pilots are aware of our dwindling numbers and do what they can to promote our sport. Yesterday, leaving the airport I stoped to talked to a couple taking shade under a tree by the airport fence line, told them about what we do there and suggested they come back for a ride. I have probably done this to power pilots and civilians one hundred times and have only had 5 people take me up on rides, none of whom joined the sport. Don't be afraid to spend some money at the operation you fly from, they likely don't make much money but they help keep the sport in America alive. Our sport in this country is on the decline and while I don't have any answers, I guess I am asking glider pilots to be aware of the operation you fly from and do even little things to help out. Every glider pilot should have a goal of getting three people to the airport to try a flight this summer..
As a side note, I have been working on getting a friend back into soaring for the last two years, and he is a partner in a glider! He says he is two weekends away from starting soaring again, I have heard this before, but this year he is signed up for Nephi).