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Make Sailplane Racing Great Again



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 4th 17, 04:17 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Posts: 61
Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

You will only improve if you are honest with yourself and admit your weaknesses. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A tow rope looses 50% of its strength with a knot it in.

For those who have tasted flight, their eyes will be forever turned skyward.. And for those who have tasted the excitement of racing alongside another sailplane, they will forever want to compete. Sailplane racing is a sport in which a 16 year old can compete against an 86 year old. It is the most pure form of aviation that exists. Hot air ballooning, helicopters, power aircraft to gyrocopters, can quickly reach a state where you feel you have mastered that craft. With Soaring, it takes a lifetime, an endless pursuit of winning a challeng that is always changing with the winds.

What are, in your opinion, the weakest links to sailplane racing?

My opinion is that the complexities of the game have become too overwhelming it takes the fun away.

Back in the old days, it was as simple as who can fly the furthest downwind.. That's simple to understand.

Technology, spot tracking, no more cameras at the points have changed our sport, but is it really for the better? Are we embracing these technological advancements to rise our sport or has it been used to demise our sport?

More than often in the past decade have we seen dismal turnouts for classes.. 12 pilots for the standard class national championship showed up! That's pathetic!

It makes me wonder, does the SSA leadership want a sold out contest? Or do they want a small turnout to reduce the competition they face? Actions speak louder than words! Or is it that this has become a good old boys club and we want to keep it small like a gentlemens hunting club.

It's shocking that a pilot can get a rating, buy a glider and finish last place in a regional contest and then with minimal qualifications qualify for a National Contest!

This alone clearly shows that what has been done to keep the sport the same size, or increase its participation levels has been a failure.
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  #2  
Old March 4th 17, 05:01 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
jfitch
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Posts: 1,134
Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

On Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 8:17:12 AM UTC-8, wrote:
You will only improve if you are honest with yourself and admit your weaknesses. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A tow rope looses 50% of its strength with a knot it in.

For those who have tasted flight, their eyes will be forever turned skyward. And for those who have tasted the excitement of racing alongside another sailplane, they will forever want to compete. Sailplane racing is a sport in which a 16 year old can compete against an 86 year old. It is the most pure form of aviation that exists. Hot air ballooning, helicopters, power aircraft to gyrocopters, can quickly reach a state where you feel you have mastered that craft. With Soaring, it takes a lifetime, an endless pursuit of winning a challeng that is always changing with the winds.

What are, in your opinion, the weakest links to sailplane racing?

My opinion is that the complexities of the game have become too overwhelming it takes the fun away.

Back in the old days, it was as simple as who can fly the furthest downwind. That's simple to understand.

Technology, spot tracking, no more cameras at the points have changed our sport, but is it really for the better? Are we embracing these technological advancements to rise our sport or has it been used to demise our sport?

More than often in the past decade have we seen dismal turnouts for classes. 12 pilots for the standard class national championship showed up! That's pathetic!

It makes me wonder, does the SSA leadership want a sold out contest? Or do they want a small turnout to reduce the competition they face? Actions speak louder than words! Or is it that this has become a good old boys club and we want to keep it small like a gentlemens hunting club.

It's shocking that a pilot can get a rating, buy a glider and finish last place in a regional contest and then with minimal qualifications qualify for a National Contest!

This alone clearly shows that what has been done to keep the sport the same size, or increase its participation levels has been a failure.


What a load of drivel....
  #3  
Old March 4th 17, 05:05 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
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Posts: 61
Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

^^^^^^^NAYSAYER IN DENIAL^^^^^^^


  #4  
Old March 4th 17, 05:11 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Michael Opitz
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Posts: 318
Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

At 16:17 04 March 2017, wrote:
You will only improve if you are honest with yourself and admit

your
weakne=
sses. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A tow rope

looses
50=
% of its strength with a knot it in.

For those who have tasted flight, their eyes will be forever turned
skyward=
.. And for those who have tasted the excitement of racing

alongside
another=
sailplane, they will forever want to compete. Sailplane racing is a
sport=
in which a 16 year old can compete against an 86 year old. It is

the
most=
pure form of aviation that exists. Hot air ballooning, helicopters,
power=
aircraft to gyrocopters, can quickly reach a state where you feel

you
have=
mastered that craft. With Soaring, it takes a lifetime, an endless
pursui=
t of winning a challeng that is always changing with the winds.

What are, in your opinion, the weakest links to sailplane racing?

My opinion is that the complexities of the game have become too
overwhelmin=
g it takes the fun away.

Back in the old days, it was as simple as who can fly the furthest
downwind=
.. That's simple to understand.

Technology, spot tracking, no more cameras at the points have

changed our
s=
port, but is it really for the better? Are we embracing these
technologica=
l advancements to rise our sport or has it been used to demise our

sport?

More than often in the past decade have we seen dismal turnouts

for
classes=
.. 12 pilots for the standard class national championship showed

up!
That'=
s pathetic!

It makes me wonder, does the SSA leadership want a sold out

contest? Or do
=
they want a small turnout to reduce the competition they face?

Actions
spe=
ak louder than words! Or is it that this has become a good old

boys club
a=
nd we want to keep it small like a gentlemens hunting club.

It's shocking that a pilot can get a rating, buy a glider and finish

last
p=
lace in a regional contest and then with minimal qualifications

qualify
for=
a National Contest! =20

This alone clearly shows that what has been done to keep the

sport the
same=
size, or increase its participation levels has been a failure.


As others have noted, only a small part of the USA soaring
population cares about racing. SSA membership has gone down
from 16,000 back in the 1980's to ~10,000 now, so the total
amount of people interested in racing is down as well proportionally.

Back in the 1980's there were only 3 racing classes (STD, 15m &
Open) to carry the load of anyone that wanted to race seriously.
Now, in addition to those 3 classes, we have Sports, Club, 18m,
and maybe 2-seater coming, not to mention 1-26, World, and
aerobatic contests to boot. That is why the number of contest
entrants (per class as well) is down from back in the 1980's. There
was a big drop in membership, and an explosion in different racing
classes.

On top of that, the prices of new gliders effectively doubled in US$
when they went from the German DM to the Euro, so who can afford
to buy a new competitive glider to race anymore?? That has
dropped the participation too. As the costs go up, the participation
numbers will go down.

There are a lot of tough nuts to crack here, and it doesn't all hinge
on what kind of format we use for the few of us that do race.

RO

  #5  
Old March 4th 17, 05:53 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Posts: 61
Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

You've said it best, there are lots of "tough nuts to crack."

I very much respect that you are not in denial. Essentially your statistics show a decline of almost 50% in soaring. That's sad.

In another 10 years, we will be lucky to even have the minimum entrants to have a race.

I get it, not everyone likes racing. People own ferrari's but don't necessarily want to race them. There's the cost of repairs from a wreck, etc. Likewise, not everyone who owns an ASG-29 wants to take a couple weeks off or a national race.

But we need to be asking those who are NOT interested in racing "Why are you not interested?"

There you will find the answers.
  #6  
Old March 4th 17, 06:25 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Bob Whelan[_3_]
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Posts: 400
Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

Sheesh. Where to begin? Critical thinking skills anyone?

On 3/4/2017 9:17 AM, wrote:

"Duh!" platitude snipped
For those who have tasted flight, their eyes will be forever turned
skyward.

Utter nonsense...no evident critical thinking skills associated with this
claim/wishful thinking.

And for those who have tasted the excitement of racing alongside
another sailplane, they will forever want to compete.

More utter nonsense. BTDT and enjoy other aspects associated with soaring
considerably more.

Sailplane racing is
a sport in which a 16 year old can compete against an 86 year old.

And...?

It is
the most pure form of aviation that exists.

So? This is important to those uninterested in flight exactly why?

Hot air ballooning,
helicopters, power aircraft to gyrocopters, can quickly reach a state where
you feel you have mastered that craft.

More utter (ignorant? intentionally dismissive?) nonsense. Another obvious,
likely irrelevant to the issue ostensibly under discussion, statement snipped...

What are, in your opinion, the weakest links to sailplane racing?

My opinion is that the complexities of the game have become too
overwhelming it takes the fun away.

Back in the old days, it was as simple as who can fly the furthest
downwind. That's simple to understand.

Technology, spot tracking, no more cameras at the points have changed our
sport, but is it really for the better? Are we embracing these
technological advancements to rise our sport or has it been used to demise
our sport?

More than often in the past decade have we seen dismal turnouts for
classes. 12 pilots for the standard class national championship showed up!
That's pathetic!

No question the above passionately-held
opinions/observations/implicit-questions contain real elements worthy of
thought, and, action (neither of which are in short supply in the SSA/US
soaring community, IMHO). But...

It makes me wonder, does the SSA leadership want a sold out contest? Or do
they want a small turnout to reduce the competition they face? Actions
speak louder than words! Or is it that this has become a good old boys
club and we want to keep it small like a gentlemens hunting club.

You left out, "Or do they like to rattle my cage because I hold my opinions so
strongly, even if my conclusions seem to some (more than me, I suspect)
simplistic beyond belief, if not outright off the (many) mark(s)? That's
independent of the implicit disrespect in said opinions - and I would make
that claim even were I in 100% agreement with you. Just because others hold
opinions differing from yours doesn't automatically make those others worthy
of sarcasm, anger, or ad-hominem dismissal. Reasonable people can agree to
reasonably disagree,

It's shocking that a pilot can get a rating, buy a glider and finish last
place in a regional contest and then with minimal qualifications qualify
for a National Contest!

This alone clearly shows that what has been done to keep the sport the same
size, or increase its participation levels has been a failure.

Indeed it would be "nice" if every qualifier for a National Contest might
seriously be ultimately envisioned as capable of competing for the podium at
the international levels. How to achieve that (if we assume it is possible) is
one (not THE) Big Question.

But the logical leap in-between your immediately-above two paragraphs is
(multiple choice): not patently obvious; breathtaking; illogical; unwarranted;
silly; ludicrous; etc.) Point being, to attempt to make a direct cause/effect
correlation between individual actions on the part of (SSA [e.g. a program],
an individual club [across the vast spectrum of the US and widely-varying
local circumstances], one person [acting on their opinions]) and the overall
health us U.S. soaring is at best hugely simplistic.

Lest I be accused of/dismissed as being a "naysayer" or some such, know
upfront that would be 100% incorrect. Au contraire, I consider reasoned
discussion a crucial part of intelligent, rational, illumination - and
ultimately definition - of a problem - *and* - associated decision making
designed to ameliorate or maybe even improve the situation.

Soaring (IMHO) is a wonderful, life-enhancing, sporting activity in which I've
enthusiastically (and gratefully) participated since discovering it
immediately post-college...and I sincerely hope it will continue to be long
after I am gone. Sailplane racing is (Duh!) a part of the sport.
Unquestionably - and I'll bet my retirement this is not an opinion held only
by me - while the health of sailplane racing in the U.S. would be enhanced by
an improvement in the health of sailplane racing, the correlation between the
health of sailplane racing in the U.S. and the health of *soaring* in the U.S.
is arguably very loose indeed.

May you have all the luck and good fortune you hope for in your quest to
improve the health of U.S. sailplane racing...and may - in that event - it
also prove to be more closely coupled to the overall health of U.S. soaring
than I suspect. But - I also suspect - making a greater effort to keep your
arguments (as distinct from opinions) focused, civil, mutually respectful (as
seen by both parties, not merely unilaterally), and excruciatingly non
ad-hominem will enhance the power of your arguments.

Respectfully,
Bob W.
  #7  
Old March 4th 17, 06:36 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Tango Whisky
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Posts: 402
Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

So, I'm not interested in racing.
Why?

Well, for me the challenge is to go out and return the furthest possible. When I'm departing from Fayence in Southern France, that means that I take off, admire the sight of the ships on the Mediterrenean Sea, go to the north east for some 300-400 km straight (you need to pass acouple of mountain passes of which the lowest is around 7500 ft, the highest about 10'000 ft), you pass at least 2 different weather zones, you do ridge soaring at 12'000 ft above glaciers, you pass the Matterhorn along the way to Central Switzerland.

And then you turn back, if all works well you start final approach about 100 miles out, passing the last low mountain pass with a clearing of 500 ft, and you'll be arriving around 8 pm, admiring the big boats out on the sea again.

So, why the hell would I spend 10 days on a competition over some dull flat lands, flying half of the days, and half of the possible time on each flying day?!

I want to fly, and I need to make sure that the few vacations I can take result in the best flying experience.

That excludes racing by definition.

  #8  
Old March 4th 17, 06:45 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

I, for one, am not interested in racing (but I admire those that do, and I do follow the results). I have 2,200 soaring hours (and another 2,500 in hang gliders) so I think I qualify as a reasonably experienced soaring pilot. I have competed exactly twice (in hang gliders) and I did not enjoy it.) I have also organized, run and scored many hang gliding contests, served on the competition committee of the USHGA and written rulebooks that are still in use.

When people ask why I do not compete, I tell them that I can make all the bad decisions I need without the help of a Contest Director. I know the person that posted the question is (or was) an avid sailing competitor. Once I heard another sailor say, "One sailboat is a pleasant pastime. Two boats are a race." I can see that, as two boats in proximity are using each other to evaluate the wind and conditions in order to maximize efficiency, and this gets competitive quickly.

Two sailplanes often are out of visual contact, and therefore the incentive is, for me at least, diminished. (Flarm leeching notwithstanding)

Basically, I like to fly in order to avoid yardwork, enjoy the scenery and challenge myself to utilize the best weather conditions for cross country flight. I also don't particularly enjoy outlandings. (Had enough adventures in the hang gliding days.) Apparently, this makes me socially unacceptable to Wilbur, but to tell you the truth, I don't care. I have plenty of soaring friends who agree, as well as a bunch of soaring friends who compete.
  #9  
Old March 4th 17, 07:01 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Craig Reinholt
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Posts: 121
Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

On Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 9:53:51 AM UTC-8, wrote:
You've said it best, there are lots of "tough nuts to crack."

I very much respect that you are not in denial. Essentially your statistics show a decline of almost 50% in soaring. That's sad.

In another 10 years, we will be lucky to even have the minimum entrants to have a race.

I get it, not everyone likes racing. People own ferrari's but don't necessarily want to race them. There's the cost of repairs from a wreck, etc. Likewise, not everyone who owns an ASG-29 wants to take a couple weeks off or a national race.

But we need to be asking those who are NOT interested in racing "Why are you not interested?"

There you will find the answers.


Sean,
Say you're 42 years old glider pilot. Have a loving spouse. Two kids. $100,000 annual family income. Three weeks vacation. House payments, college savings account, Friday night pizza. How many families will burn 33% to 67% vacation time and a lot of money on a competition? How many of the spouses and children love to go to a hot, dusty, out of the way airport for said soaring getaway? Certainly, most would prefer to be on the beach in FL, HA, or perhaps Disney World/Land and would be very vocal in that decision. An understandable tough sell on the part of the glider pilot to attend the Nationals or even Regionals.
Competition.... consider other sports. How many high school basketball, baseball, or tennis players compete locally in leagues at 40+ years old? The percentage is low.
In my club, there are about 4% regular competition pilots. Because we've pushed cross country the past few years, we have raised the percentage of regular XC pilots from about 8% to 20%. The remaining pilots come out for an afternoon outing within gliding distance of the gliderport. That is all the the soaring they want to do.
Regarding competition, a few at the club will go for a few years and then not participate for a few years. No matter how hard we sell how fun competition is, the average XC pilot doesn't buy into it for a plethora of reasons which have already been stated in multiple threads on RAS.
Your enthusiasm for competition is understandable, but please put yourself first in the shoes of the average glider pilot when carrying on about contest participation.
  #10  
Old March 4th 17, 07:07 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Renny[_2_]
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Posts: 241
Default Make Sailplane Racing Great Again

On Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 11:45:42 AM UTC-7, wrote:
I, for one, am not interested in racing (but I admire those that do, and I do follow the results). I have 2,200 soaring hours (and another 2,500 in hang gliders) so I think I qualify as a reasonably experienced soaring pilot. I have competed exactly twice (in hang gliders) and I did not enjoy it.) I have also organized, run and scored many hang gliding contests, served on the competition committee of the USHGA and written rulebooks that are still in use.

When people ask why I do not compete, I tell them that I can make all the bad decisions I need without the help of a Contest Director. I know the person that posted the question is (or was) an avid sailing competitor. Once I heard another sailor say, "One sailboat is a pleasant pastime. Two boats are a race." I can see that, as two boats in proximity are using each other to evaluate the wind and conditions in order to maximize efficiency, and this gets competitive quickly.

Two sailplanes often are out of visual contact, and therefore the incentive is, for me at least, diminished. (Flarm leeching notwithstanding)

Basically, I like to fly in order to avoid yardwork, enjoy the scenery and challenge myself to utilize the best weather conditions for cross country flight. I also don't particularly enjoy outlandings. (Had enough adventures in the hang gliding days.) Apparently, this makes me socially unacceptable to Wilbur, but to tell you the truth, I don't care. I have plenty of soaring friends who agree, as well as a bunch of soaring friends who compete.


What Mark said! In addition, I do not need:
1. the stress of contests
2. the significant additional costs of contests
3. to devote the many days required for a contest
4. the additional safety concerns of a contest
5. to fly in weak/marginal conditions that are often required in a contest

I really do have tremendous respect for those who compete and I closely follows contests, but it is just not something that personally interests me. I would much rather spend my time, money and effort flying OLC tasks with my friends!
Thanks - Renny
 




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