|Region 9 - SSA Fall Report
The most important issue to arise since the last region 9 report is the beginning of communications with Luke AFB (Phoenix, AZ area). We had an incident in the middle of August 2010; three jets flew excessively close to a glider. A call went from the air squad commander to the local glider port, Estrella Airport owner, Jason Stephens to complain about glider intrusion into the TFR. After reviewing the flight logger for the glider in question, we found that the glider had not crossed into the restricted airspace. This brought several questions of concern to the glider, Air Force, and Jet Traffic community. Why did the jet’s not know that the glider was in allowable airspace, why didn’t the jet’s use their radio to check with the glider, why weren’t they viewing the squawk (the glider was squawking); why did three jets cross the path of the glider without informing the one behind them (three times).
Our first reaction was to check to make sure our glider pilot did not accidently move into the restricted space, and then to question what was the real problem? In order to investigate without strife, we contacted individuals that we knew from previous work in the area. One of the Prescott Soaring members, Ted Wagner, contacted some friends of his in the Air Force that were stationed at Luke, Charlie Minner, the Region 9 Director, contacted some friends at Davis Monthan Air Force Base and the Air Force Academy; Randy Acree contacted some Jet pilots that work out of Davis Monthan Air Force Base, and Jason Stephens called the commander that complained about the incursion. As a result, we now have seminars set up with the Safety and Airspace office of Luke AFB. He will be coming to an ASA (Arizona Soaring Association) meeting, and flying to Tucson to meet with the Tucson Soaring Club Pilots. The commander that they are sending to talk to these soaring clubs is himself a glider pilot. Currently there is no animosity, and we are working hard to set up and continue a good cooperative relationship. We did find that the AFB was surprised to find out that we have a regular training schedule, and most of our glider pilots have transponders, radios and flight loggers. The Air Force is planning to share their ingress/egress paths in and out of the restricted airspace, and review the MOA’s around their airspace. This should go a long way to provide safer airspace, and open avenues of communications for future soaring in Arizona.
Normally, this topic would not require its own section, but in Region 9, it is important. The entire region has been working very hard to recruit new members, and grow the sport of competition. However, the inverse problem is that we now have too many locations and places that want to run competitions every single season. (i.e., members of the Tucson Soaring club commented that they had no idea that a regional competition was so much more than competing.) Pilots showed up in great numbers for the morning classes, even though they were not enrolled in the competition. Pilots and families showed up in great numbers with students to watch and work the line. We had the same wonderful problem in Logan, many people came to watch, work, and show off gliders. At Logan, we had local business people, and workers take off their jobs during the day to come and watch the regional contest.
Even though this is exactly what each location planned and hoped for, it creates a problem with too many contests in one Region. As it stands at this moment, every year, Region 9 members wants to hold contests in Parowan, Utah; Logan, Utah; Hobbs, New Mexico; and Tucson, AZ. That does not even count last year’s 1-26 Nationals in Morarity, New Mexico, which is also Region 9. The soaring weather is great (normally) at all of these locations, and all these sites are well known in the racing community. However, there will have to be some consideration in the future about rotating different contests among the different locations within this one region.
There has been some discussion about having “camps” and setting up a region 9 safari, with one national and one regional within the five state area; but one after another to give a “tour” of region 9 soaring. Any creative ideas or solutions are appreciated.
PROMOTION of Soaring - Webinars, Training, Open Houses, Merchandising
We have had some great efforts with all of the governors we have in Region 9. We have Colorado’s “Touch the Sky” promotion; we have the Seminars/Conferences put on by Colorado and Utah. We also have the hugely successful Open Houses by Colorado and Arizona. We have the wonderful junior/training classes that are executed extremely well at Arizona’s Tucson Soaring club and New Mexico’s Albuquerque Soaring club. There has been consideration and talks about developing a Region 9 merchandise website, so that individuals can go on-line, purchase t-shirts, and merchandise with the Region 9 Club’s logos. This could also go a long way to providing more outreach and promotion for the sport, and benefit the individual states within Region 9.
Another huge promotional plus within Region 9 are the video’s that Bruno Vassel (Cedar Valley Soaring in Utah) has been posting on-line via You-Tube. Use of the new technology has created a GREAT avenue for promotion of soaring. The same with Frank Whiteley’s use of “Web Casting”. The region 9 director has received many phone calls, e-mail messages and information extolling the virtues and praise for these uses of new technology.
SSA Media Guides
We have had the opportunity to use the SSA Media guide this last racing season in several locations. It has been useful and extremely important to helping. We went on the internet and searched for all the media outlets at every contest location this summer. We then sent a copy (regular mail or e-mail) to each outlet, and all the outlets called to follow-up, or sent reporters out to the contest location. Those media guides were wonderful, as long as there was a letter or note with them with local contact information. With the success, we have had using the new media guides, I would recommend that all contest organizers use them. They should be sent out (one per contest approved) with every contest application approval. Use of these media guides should also be included in the contest manager’s guidebook that is currently being completed.
Transponder Code 1201 (SQUAWK):
We have had good response in Region 9 to the new designated squawk codes for glider traffic. Our Utah Governor, Dan Thirkill checked with the Salt Lake City TRACON, and made sure that they were aware of the new dedicated squawk code, and that everyone in Utah is using that code. This should increase the safety in Utah immeasurably. We have also made contact with the Phoenix and Tucson TRACON in Arizona. We are going to follow up with New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. Our talks with the Air Force will include reminders of this new dedicated squawk code.
Cross State Cooperation
One of the advantages to living and working within Region 9, is the comraderie and cooperation between all of the states to benefit soaring everywhere in the country. We have had Frank Whiteley, Colorado setting up Webinars with Utah. We have also had the Arizona pilots hosting the Utah pilots at training classes in both states. This type of cross-cooperation creates a great growth of soaring, and I am proud to have such a great group of governors and pilots in Region 9.
Colorado SSA State Governor Report 2010 Year to Date.
Attended 2010 SSA Convention, Little Rock, and manned Collegiate Soaring Association and Youth Booth with Ralph Kolstad.
2009 Colorado State Soaring Awards presented during Performance Soaring Seminar organized by Soaring Society of Boulder at NCAR Presentation Room February 27th. Publicized statewide. About 100 attendees. http://www.coloradosoaring.org/awards.htm
Made live webinar available to wider soaring community.
Assisted NUTSO (Northern Utah Soaring organization) Spring Seminar with web casting March 27th.
Assisted Greater Boston Soaring Club regional seminar with web casting April 22 and April 28.
Organized local Remembrance Gathering for John Campbell June 4th at Mile High Gliding. Since adopting Colorado as home in 1991, John was CFI-G for Black Forest Soaring Society, Denver Soaring Council, Colorado Soaring Association, and Mile High Gliding in addition to his many SSA activities, including two terms as Region 9 SSA director. Also in attendance with former students, both flight and academic, FAA representation, and his sister, Joan, via Skype video link from Cape Cod. The day was filled with memories, the sounds of Procol Harum, and the scent of barbeque.
Heavily involved with SSA governors and clubs/chapters from May through August regarding the IRS automatic revocation of tax-exempt status for clubs/chapters not having filed informational 990 returns for tax years 2007, 2008, and 2009. Also alerted about delinquent state reporting, as found. Attended board meeting for High Flights Soaring Club to discuss IRS delinquency and possible way forward in the future in converting from 501c(4) to 501c(3).
CAP glider activity down somewhat due to leadership void and glider repairs. Former wing glider program director and CFI-G, Sam Streger, diagnosed and under treatment for brain cancer and other complications.
National Flight Academy-Glider canceled a week prior for undisclosed reasons. New wing glider program
director appointed, Carl Keil.
Since L-13 AD's commenced, took ad hoc look at registrations and owners to validate number in use and impact on operations. Still no hard numbers, but estimate 80-100 may have been in regular use for training, rides, and recreation. Three Colorado operations are affected, the unaffiliated Denver Soaring Council, commercial operator Crawford Soaring, and SSA chapter High Flight Soaring Club.
No success in recruiting SSA Lt Governors for Colorado to date.
Best soaring month of the rather damp and duff Colorado season was interrupted by two forest fires that
essentially blocked launching from Boulder and later blocked flights to the north. Multiple TFRs have been effect beginning 9/7 with bases of FL210 forecast with 6kts over the region. This follows several recent flights of 600, 700, and even 900k.
A good number of Colorado pilots have actively and successfully participated in regional and national competitions. At the Logan Region 9 North contest, the Boulder club won several awards; . One for having the most participants from a single club; and the other was a FIRST TIME ever placement in the top 3 for a contest instructor and his students. Alfonso Ossario (SSB) has attended Region 9 contests for several years, and always brings students to learn how to compete. This year he brought Will Matthews, and Robert Kirmse. This not only grows competition soaring, it also gives the student a look at the many different types of soaring available.
Soaring Society of Boulder held a camp at Dalhart, Texas, and another at Salida, Colorado. High Flights Soaring Club had a badge camp and a remote camp and went to Moriarty on a Soaring Safari. Some Colorado Soaring Association pilots attend a King Mountain, Idaho, Safari, and flew also from Driggs, Idaho.
Two possible state junior records to be filed after badge claims are completed.
Sep 14, 2010
• Outstanding season prep at the beginning of the year with the Soaring Spring Seminar sponsored by the NUTSO (Northern Utah Soaring Organization) group. Excellent presentations on Cross Country Flying (first flights to advanced strategies), Weather Forecast strategies (NOAA, Blipmap), Mountain Flying (Uinta’s), as well as a detailed “how-to” presentation on XC Skies analysis tools. All presentations were well prepared and well received. Additionally, a flying Utah Eagle ‘capture’ award was presented to the Logan group to help inspire in state site-to-site flying.
• Note: A large number of individuals attended both on site as well as online through internet conference tools (thank you Frank-).
• An exceptional year for community interest and growth: Fifteen students in training at four sites: Logan, Morgan, Heber and Cedar valley. A very diverse group of individuals- young and old, small and tall, new and experienced.
• Note that a problem area remains in that a DPE for the area is not yet established. A candidate was promoted by the soaring community at the beginning of the year, however the FAA has been very slow to designate a new glider examiner. The need is high. Efforts continue and official interviews for DPE begin this month with the expectation that an individual will be named and tentatively assigned in October.
• An additional problem is the recent grounding of the Blanik L-13 fleet. A major issue for Logan operations as the L-13 is the principal trainer for the site. Coordination with other sites is considered, but as little time remains in the season, this issue will likely carry over into 2011.
• Excellent interaction and outreach between the soaring community, powered flight community and FAA planners as proposals were initiated to modify Class B airspace at the Salt Lake International airport. Soaring interests were voiced and represented by SSA representatives (including yours truly) with input received from all major soaring sites. Anticipate future changes to the SLC Class B site (increase in altitude, better routing for VFR traffic), and an increase in understanding of soaring activity. As an aside, a letter to airmen promoting flight safety is currently being prepared by the FAA to better alert local controllers to glider traffic around the Salt Lake area.
• Note: SLC TRACON is actively monitoring the new glider 1201 transponder code.
• Another big win! The Region 9 North competition was again superbly hosted and managed this year at Logan. Great event and very well received. Competitors were amazed at the terrain diversity and challenge that Logan’s geography provides. From thermals, ridge soaring and wave, plenty of flight options and challenges abound. Tim Taylor continues to lead the pack of competitors and provides excellent mentoring to new comers from all corners. The success and popularity of this year’s event paved the road for the 2011, 15 Meter Nationals awarded to Logan earlier this year.
• The Utah CAP’s youth flight operation program continued again this year flying multiple sorties with their ASK-21. To enhance operations, a Blanik L-23 was added to the fleet. An excellent bird, its addition to the Utah team was short in duration as severe wind gusts in August tore loose the gliders moorings totaling destroying the aircraft as it was tossed end-over-end. An unfortunate loss-
• Sadly, on a very low note, Utah lost a great friend, colleague and strong promoter of soaring this summer. Warren Evans, a pilot from the Morgan area, perished during a soaring flight in the mountains east of Morgan. A genuine lover of the sport, Warren’s was a man of quiet wisdom, unassuming generosity and genuine caring. We do very much miss him. Pilots at the Tucson Soaring Club will remember Warren as the fellow that came to fly with Garrett in his Stemme and all of us in Region 9 will miss him.
• In Utah, we had a mid-air collision at Parowan Sports Nationals this year. We can only be grateful that the expertise and experience of both glider pilots allowed the pilots to land safely. This experience has also caused much controversy and discussion about the difference between European and American contest rules. This is a much-needed discussion, as the rules in America currently do not have specifics guidelines for following up or grounding planes involved in a mid-air accident. Even though the experience was harrowing; this will cause discussion and a safer contest flying experience in the future.
SSA Governor for the State of Utah
2010 Arizona SSA Report
This was a very exciting year in Arizona. We started in November of 2009 with an Open House at El Tiro Glider port in Tucson. The Open House was from Friday the 13th through Sunday the 15th. Over 1200 people attended and we gave over 140 rides at a very reduced rate. We gained several new members and lots of local notoriety from it to include television and newspapers. We had Roman and his friends from SoCal soaring attend and 70 winch flights were conducted. Customs and Border Patrol helicopters flew in everyday and had static displays allowing visitors to get in the helicopters. Sorry, but no flights. Pete Stogsdill and James Lyne performed an excellent formation aerobatic routine in two SZD-59 Acro gliders.
Region 9 South 2010 was hosted by Tucson Soaring Club. Charlie and Micki Minner were Contest Director and Contest Manager and did their usual excellent job. The weather was good and the competitors were outstanding. I could not believe how happy everyone was and I did not see a single conflict resulting in anyone getting mad or having hurt feelings. I have been to 8 contests now and have never seen this not happen. We had corporate sponsorship from Raytheon thanks to the efforts of employees who are club members. Special thanks to Scott Jones for being instrumental in this. Embry Riddle University was generous with donations and thanks to David Lowe for that and his tireless efforts during the contest. $2,140 was raised for the World Team through donations and challenges. We have gotten requests to host another contest from several contestants and I feel that is the biggest measure of success.
2010 saw the addition of Arizona’s first glider repair facility. Paul Gaines moved Composite Solutions to Kingman, AZ from Georgia. Paul was in attendance at Region 9 South and able to help with some on the spot repairs.
AZ Soaring Association (ASA) Continues to have its race series within the state. This actually equates to a mini-regional every couple of weeks at various soaring sites with usually 12 to 15 contestants. Memorial Day weekend is always at Wilcox, AZ and was attended by 20 contestants for 4 days of excellent soaring and camaraderie. Southwest Championships is a 5 day contest over Labor Day weekend and the following weekend. It was held at El Tiro but unfortunately high cloud cover dampened some of the days soaring conditions.
Tucson Soaring Club continues to have it’s own race training on most weekends. It is really paying off with many first time participants in Region 9 South and Standard Class Nationals.
OLC is alive and well in Arizona. Tucson Soaring Club battled it out with Albuquerque for the League Championship but lost again. TuSC has posted more flights to OLC than any other club in the world. TuSC is currently 7th in the world with over 173,000 points and we hope to move into 5th place by the end of the contest year. One pilot from TuSC is #6 in the world for all flights and #3 in the world for all FAI flights. TuSC is #1 for the US for all flights. Also, 3 of the top 10 in the US for all flights are from Tusc. 4 of the top 10 in the US for all FAI flights hail from TuSC. No flight is too short and all participants are congratulated on their flights.
After flying a PW-5 in the region 9 contest, Mike Parker finally received delivery of his AH-31Mi in June. He did the first flights in Ohio at the 18 meter nationals, and then went directly to Parowan where he finished second to many-time winner Bill Gawthrop for the Stephenson trophy (motorglider championship). Mike also flew an OLC 2 ½ hour speed of 106.5 mph. This was during a 790 km flight at Parowan with 18 meter wingspan. It was his personal best speed and possibly the fastest flight by an Arizona pilot this year (maybe ever).
The Prescott Soaring Society, while completing approximately 3,000 winch launches this year had 3 pilots receive their Private glider rating, Dana Steely, Ed Campbell and John Alden. We had one pilot Rod Clark achieve his gold altitude and silver distance badge legs in a 1-26 while narrowly missing a silver distance due to GPS error. AC Goodwin, after several attempts managed to complete but not get credit for a Diamond goal flight in a standard cirrus due to EW logger failure.
Arizona’s commercial Operation in Phoenix, Estrella Air, run by Jason Stephens, has been training new glider pilots and successfully growing the sport. Jason has also been representing the USA in aerobatic gliders. Jason is representing the USA in England during the month of September in aerobatic competition. This is a source of pride to the Region and the state, to have such a well known aerobatic (and national champion several times over) flying with us. Jason has also been instrumental in helping us coordinate with Luke AFB in talks with their air space safety commander.
Randy Acree “AV8”
SSA Governor for AZ
2010 New Mexico SSA report
Soaring is alive and well in R9, especially competitive cross-country soaring. The first ever regional at Tucson’s El Tiro was a huge success in all respects. The flying was competitive, the organization exemplary and the social side of things widely admired. Money was also raised to help the US team. Many there – and many more who were not; but heard about it – and hope that there will be a repeat in 2011.
Logan also ran a successful second contest but I have no reports from there. Ditto Parowan Sports Nats, except that it was one of the “difficult” weather years for the site.
The OLC: R9 already has first and second in the US league (the speed contest) in Albuquerque and Tucson, and first in the world in the league (Albuquerque). Tucson looks set to get the club award for the US this year. Even though the soaring weather all over NM this year has been less than kind, there has been a lot of effort to fly cross country and “get the miles” for the local clubs. The impact of the OLC on club soaring continues to mount.
The annual OLC-US conference for 2010 will be held in Albuquerque on Feb 7, 2011, hosted by Albuquerque Soaring, to coincide with the club’s annual gala. Invitations to attend will be sent out shortly, nationwide.
Notable among other news: Bob Carlton’s jet gliders (Desert Aerospace) continue to point a new way forward for self-launchers. His aerobatic routines in the Jet Salto were a big hit at the recent Oshkosh – when gliding otherwise was mostly notable for its absence. His two-seater Bonus Jet is now fully certified and will soon enter service training glider pilots in flying a motor glider with a retractable jet. Its climb rate at density altitudes around 9,000ft can only be described as impressive. Interest in applying jets to other glider types is mounting. His tireless work is a major boost to gliding in the region – and through TV interviews and the like is spreading the word about gliding to a vast audience, in the US of course but also worldwide.
George Applebay goes from strength to strength. He has just been awarded the Bob White Bowl for contributions to aviation in New Mexico.
Club News: (as usual, no response to any query from White Sands, including to Frank’s passing round of the awful-sounding AD on Blaniks).
Hobbs soldiers on in the face of adversity. Jo Shaw, Hobbs Soaring treasurer, reports that the club’s one instructor is recovering from a broken femur, but since the club has no student pilots at the moment both he and the club’s 2-33 have seen little flying (just 50 minutes this year for the two-seater). The Club’s 1-26 has had heavy use however, but since there is no tow plane, it has been by auto-tow. Just $6 per launch (!) regularly gets the 1-26 to 1800ft off the 8000ft runway – not shabby.
Albuquerque Soaring has added nine new members so far this year. Two of them are CFIGs. Another, Susan Gregory, adds to the distaff strength at Albuquerque and arrived complete with her own glider.
Club member Robin Forster, who benefitted from the club’s junior program, has just been selected for the German Junior National Team.
New Mexico SSA Governor
Wyoming 2010 SSA Report
Activity in Wyoming this past year, is basically, the new soaring club, Big Horn Soaring in Cowley/Cody Wyoming. They are growing and as of this year, they own a 2-33, a 1-26 and a 1-35 for club use. The club is looking at hosting a cross-country camp next spring.
Wyoming SSA Governor
Region 9 director note:
Edre worked as a contest manager for the 18-meter and Open Nationals in Hobbs, New Mexico. It was delightful to see her return to competition soaring after an absence of several years. Even though this was an unusual year for Hobbs soaring, as they were flooded out of having the contest; the contest organizers utilized, trained, and indoctrinated the new office personnel at the SSA to competition soaring. There were many accolades to their organization and welcome to all the racing pilots. After an absence on the contest site scene for a few years, it was wonderful to see gliders on the ramp again at Hobbs, truly a home for soaring. Many thanks to Denise Layton, her staff, and Edre for bringing contests back to Hobbs.