The new Board
Ladies and gents,
As the new board we felt it appropriate to firstly introduce ourselves, share with you our mission and how we plan to achieve it. We would also like to share with you what we plan for this year at our US Soaring Nationals.
Larry is often referred to as the Grandfather of soaring, if it’s a RC glider Larry has either flown it or designed it. Larry has been flying RC sailplanes for nearly 50 years and has represented many US soaring Teams along his journey. Larry loves to be involved and we are thrilled to have Larry steering the ship for the LSF, his wisdom and experience will ensure the continued growth of this wonderful Special interest group, the LSF.
Pete is probably the most prolific RC enthusiast in the industry. He is instrumental in the promotion Horizon Hobby’s products, often referred to as the Face of Horizon. Like Larry Pete has been soaring all his life and is well versed in all forms of RC. Pete also has represented his country 5 times as a F3A pilot as well as flown in the famous TOC (Tournament of Champions). Although Pete fly’s all RC craft his core passion is soaring. Pete’s core skill set is marketing and he is looking forwards to being the marketing engine room for the LSF.
Skye is one of those people that is a quiet achiever. He, like all of our board, has been a sailplane enthusiast for many years and currently is the president of a large soaring club in Ohio. Skye loves all forms of soaring, he has competed in all of the traditional classes and also loves slope soaring. Skye is a detail guy, he is wonderfully organized and is the glue in ensuring tasks are kept on track. Skye manages the enormous list of LSF tasks so if you’re planning in getting back to your level achievements Skye will be your contact.
Jim or Jimbo, as his friends call him, is the voice of reason. Jim has an incredible ability to be efficient, strong bias for action yet do it in a way that doesn’t ruffle feathers. Jim has been a soaring pilot all his life and really enjoys the Man on Man environment of F3J. Jim is not limited to just sailplanes, Jim is an active RC Heli pilot as well. Jim’s gift to the LSF is he has a bias for action, if you need something done, Jims your guy.
As new board members it’s important for us to get a good understanding of where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go for the future. We have been busy surveying our membership through candid conversations, some of you may now understand why we were asking questions. Like with all surveys they are pretty much useless unless you act on the data. Based on the feed back we received there were several things that were common amongst our membership, some were good, some not so good. So our intent is to reach out to all Nats participants, and potential participants, and share what we will be doing this year.
Rules: Not to enter a long drawn out debate, we would like to consolidate the rules. The core event rules should be the same, this allows for people flying in different segments to all have some kind of familiarity as to what is expected of them. We will be sending out additional specific information on some of the changes however the Top points are as follows.
Safety line. After our survey the safety line, although implemented with good intentions, has not really achieved its goal. Pilots standing too far away from their models were having trouble judging their approach, plus depending on which event you flew in it wasn’t always there creating confusion and frustration.. It was also difficult to police consistently as there isn’t enough resources to manage launches, winch repairs and policing in our out line calls. The solution was to remove the safety line in the landing area and implement a zero flight if the pilot hits him or herself or anybody in that matter during their flight. It’s a self-policing change and brings consistency to our NATS. As competitors we are pretty sure this will ensure people will pay attention to approach speed etc. This change also brings us more inline with what other states and regions are doing. We will of course have a safety area, (The space between the winches and winch lanes) where obviously you can’t land.
On the subject of safety, the most dangerous part of a soaring flight is not so much the landing but the launch. This year we have added an additional person to help manage the flight line especially to help with launches, clearing winch lines and so on. Paying more attention to the launch will ensure a safer contest for all.
Landing zone: over the years we have seen a wide variety of landing areas, some as far as the eye can see, some, depending on your winch assignment are very restrictive. What we plane to do this year is follow in the F3J foot steps and introduce a 75m distance from the pilot’s landing tape. It’s the most fair and effective way to do this and, most importantly it will be the same for all classes. We will have a device on site for measuring those long landouts.
Introduce new pilots to soaring: As we are all members of the LSF it’s imperative we are all looking out for new pilots. As the LSF board we see this as our most important task. Some of the things we want to do this year are aimed at the new comer. Nothing is more rewarding than to see your new friend or student have a good experience in a hobby or sport you have introduced him to. This year we have a exciting new idea. It’s called the “Buddy” program. If any first time pilot entries the NATS, we will assign him or her a buddy, a experience soaring veteran to help them learn the ropes, mentor them to give them every chance to have a successful enjoyable time at the NATS. Most important this will help new pilots connect at a deeper level to our segment. If you all remember your first competition you understand the anxiety, we feel this will have a huge benefits so please rustle those trees for new pilots.
Along the same lines we also want to try and implement having you be able to sign up with a partner so you can have a timer available for the entire contest. This was another hot topic with our survey.
Getting your entries in: Although the AMA registration states 4 weeks out we have decided to allow registrations to be in by 7/15/2016. We do encourage you to get your entries in early however we understand that life is a lot more spontaneous these days so we want you have a little more time to get those entries in. And, for those emergency entries we will have in the matrix some open place holders. Of course you will have to still register with the AMA however that can be done on site. This change brings us more inline with other segments where later entries are accommodated.
Many of the people we surveyed said we use to have a lot of fun things going on at the NATS, like there was something going on every night. If we are truly honest with ourselves, the competition comes second to the social element of most of the events we attend. Not to waste good input we are planning to have something going on most nights. We are still in the planning stages and will get further details out in the coming months however here is what we have so far. We want to do a Whipit event, BBQ, hand launch event, seminars, and Aerotowing training.
Bring the family:
Yes the number one disappointment we have heard is the importance of including the family at the NATS, it’s a week long event so having the family involved makes it more fun for everybody. We need the kids to help out with the winches, wifes/girlfriends can be timers and so on, get your family involved, they will love it.
In summary we understand that your input critical to the success of the LSF, in a short time we have discovered many things, things that can easily fixed and improved on. We want feed back, please send it to us, we can’t promise immediate action on everything however if we see some keep patterns forming it will help us make better decisions. Our Job is to promote soaring, we are 4 people that speak for the many, and we want to be your voice.
Stayed tuned for more exciting news, until then, keep soaring,