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Old Oct 22, 2009, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Boone
Some people have come to believe this is a beginners program or a practice program for the LSF program. They're sadly mistaken. It seems to work well for that as well but it's not our purpose. We're just a bunch of guys who like to fly our off and don't feel we should be thought of as second best because we don't compete for whatever reason. We wanted a bit of structure to our flying and a bit of respect as pilots.
Now if you want to see the task more diversified good. Then coming out with the Silver Level now is a good thing. It gives me time to change it if so desired. But give me real tasks, not just practice runs of contests. We've done enough stuff you can use as practice. How about a way to work aero tow into the last level or two. How about figuring out a way to make the tri-athalon event work as a task. How about coming up with something nobody else is already doing. Something not only original but fun. Sometimes you have to jolt the crowd a bit to get some responses. I've gotten more feedback over this Silver level release than I've had in a long time. One more thing. As far as I'm concerned the program is more about trying new things whithin the realm of soaring than it is about each level being harder than the last. I would be just as happy with titanium requiring you to do multiple aspects of soaring, HL, DLG, aero-tow, slope, DS'ing, woodies and even building. You can learn a lot about flying when you build. Even if you don't, there's nothing like flying something you built yourself.
Hear! Hear! I too am in favor of diversity but once again you can easily make this program exclusive unintentionally by requiring soaring pilots to use certain models they can't afford with a class requirement. A lot of people don't like the LSF contest segment for this reason because they believe it takes too much money to buy the models necessary to win the contests.
I never wanted to get this involved in your SSP program Steve. To be truthful I just wanted to be selfish and use the program to practice and improve my contest skills. My point of view has recently changed though. Since attending the Nats and meeting Joe and many others affiliated with the LSF I have learned that soaring is not just about me. It's about being part of something much greater and helping others to take steps forward. I can't progress any further with my LSF tasks without bringing others along with me. Thats how the LSF is designed. Thats' why the witnesses need to be Level 2 pilots. I have to help others get to be Level 2's so I can progress. It takes the focus off yourself and opens your eyes up to the fact the you can actually train other pilots to get better if you give them your time - and it feels good doing it. They feel great having learned to thermal or land closer to a spot. That makes it so worthwhile.
Anyway the result is that the SSP needs to have similar goals if it is to be a success. I hope as a SIG we can help you and Joe make it work because you's have done an incredible job so far with little help.
Gordon
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Old Oct 22, 2009, 08:54 PM
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Oh YA! I like the idea of a build it before you fly it task. Can we make it something available as a plan only?? There are a lot of great plan's out there that we can pick 1 from. Say 2m span and R/E only. That way it will help to keep the cost down for those with limited fund's.

http://www.modelaircraft.org/plans/listing.aspx

http://www.myhobbystore.com/c/297/Pl...ol-Glider.html

http://www.rcmplans.com/index.php?ma...5b2gei3d5pc951


Ken
SSP #6
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Old Oct 22, 2009, 09:29 PM
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Come on guys. Steve is doing a heroic job even taking on such a task as putting together a program. This stuff isn't easy, believe me. I tried to modify the LSF SAP to suit, but Steve came up with a better idea much more quickly than the wheels of LSF could turn.

His silver level may be over the top at first glance. Nothing wrong with that, no one is there yet so there is time to modify it. Like he says, nothing is etched in stone and acceptance by the participants is critical to the success of any program. So voice your opinions in as constructive a manner as possible, give the man a chance to digest the input, then see what happens.

I may not choose to participate actively, but I am rooting on the sidelines. A program such as this is needed, and this program has the makings of a winner. Help it along.

JT
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Old Oct 22, 2009, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussief3b
Well mate - I'm glad we got past the first hurdle. I haven't pissed you off yet.
Let me reply. Lets start with the hours involved. I doubt there is a single dedicated flyer in this country that has the time to do all the Silver level tasks without getting divorced.
If you are really saying that you expect it to take 60 to 65 hours of actual flying I think you have it way short of the actual reality of this thing. Do the math.
It is exactly 55.75 hours of recorded successful flights of thermal duration tasks excluding XC.
There will be many many more failed flights than successful ones with
(a) the "Ladder" flights being required to be all completed on the same day. Many ladder attempts will ned to be re done through not completing in one day.
(b) the Intermediate "add em up" flights being required all on the same day. Once again many very experienced pilots would try to get 15 separate 10 minute flights on the same day and never ever achieve it - let alone 3 times in their life. (As well as 3 sets of 12 - 10 minute flights in a day and 3 more sets of 9 - 10 minute flights in a day.
(c) The "A Frame" requiring all flights be completed on the same day means also that many flights will not qualify towards this program and will need to be re-flown.

Conservatively - I would estimate based upon my recent LSF and SSP task flying that the average SSP contender may fly more than twice the minutes required to complete these sets of tasks as they are written. Maybe 100 to 150 hours of actual Thermal duration flying just to get to the start of Gold level.
In many parts of this country with a short season that will simply take years and years of simply heart breaking and marriage breaking effort.

I accept and understand the need for more flight time than the tasks in LSF to make up for the contests. But Steve - Not this much more. Many of these tasks you have set in Silver level will take excellent pilots multiple tries to get them done. - Let alone three times over. The program needs to be challenging for Sportsman (which each of the tasks already are) - not a marathon with no end in sight.

I don't want to be confrontational about this whole thing- just want to help get it right. I am concerned that the goal of this program is not the same as the goal of the LSF. Advancement of soaring skills and attracting others to join our hobby for fun. The program requires large participation to be successful. Not just a handful of people getting started and dropping out.

Looking forward to your Expert levels for later on I would suggest that ANY sort of "Ladder" or "A Frame" task etc requiring 5 or 7 consecutive TD flights - all landing within 9 inches of a spot (or you gotta start all over,) is not going to get done either.
It is simply just very difficult to do landings that many times consecutively. I have attended plenty of contests recently and read plenty of scoresheets of other contests I didn't attend and I have never seen anybody achieve that accuracy ever. No one did it in any class at the recent Nats. That's not to say it can't be done by someone somewhere, but few will ever get it done. In many cases you would have the success of a whole days flying riding on getting the plane back to a spot not much bigger than a dinner plate 7 times consecutively. Too hard mate. Go out and try it yourself. Very very tough.
It's the equivalent of a contest where the landing is "In or Out" but only 19.6" diameter circle for "In". Not a fair measure of skill as compared to a 100 point tape (at least based on the standard I have observed the RC soaring fraternity is at currently.)
Gordon
You know what I have been pretty quiet until now. I think you have missed the point of SSP its not about getting bronze, silver, gold or whatever its the journey. Steve has done a herculean job getting this program off the ground and running. My opinion "and you know the saying" I am happy with the flight time for the tasks.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 12:55 AM
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I guess this is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. It's time to call on that help offered by the LSF. So over the next couple of days I will contact Jim Deck. I'll ask him if he can give us some basic LSF stats for comparison. Let's start with some basics.
-LSF membership by % breakdown for each level
-average time to complete each level
fair enough?

Gordon & Tom: Please don't take offense, but let me pick on you a bit. You're LSF L IV & LV respectively. First off how did it take you to get to your current status? How long for each level? How many 7 or 10 minute flights with the same old tired landing tape system did you do to get your contest points? How many attempts to get your G&R's? Do you feel compared to other L IV & LV's you made good, average or below adverage time doing the levels, tasks?

Maybe I should finally take the time to do that web page on what I was thinking before I started this program. There actually was "some" thought into what to do before I opened my mouth and inserted my foot.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Boone
Maybe I should finally take the time to do that web page on what I was thinking before I started this program. There actually was "some" thought into what to do before I opened my mouth and inserted my foot.

Steve, Don't take these things wrong. You did not "opened my mouth and inserted my foot"

You did the best thing possible. You broke the blank page syndrome!

Everyone has opinions, but when asked to write a plan down, rarely does someone step up to the plate and stare down that blank sheet of paper and say. I'm going to get this started... I'm going to write my thoughts down for all to see.

Now all can see... and criticize.... But now there is something definite and "alive" to work on. As with so many plans that go through committee discussions, there will be many revisions. It all has to start somewhere and you started it. Thank you and congratulations, you've helped everyone in this process because it is always easier to revise and change then to create from nothing....

Thanks

Radian
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 07:08 AM
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How does one improve ones flying skill?
- Fly with purpose.
How does one have purpose?
-Fly the SSP.
Why is there so much flying involved?
-To improve ones flying skill.

I am 3 contest and 300 points short of LSF L IV, I have been at it for 20 plus years and enjoyed evey minute of it. I have also learned much, I no longer finish at the bottom of the pack at contest.
It may take me 20 plus years to almost be a Gold in the SSP, I'll enjoy every minute of that time to.
The only time limits are in the task not the completion of the program.

Joe

Who might have flown for the last time this year last Sunday, winter is on the way here.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermaler
How does one improve ones flying skill?
- Fly with purpose.
This is such a good point.

Some days I am just flying for fun and for sport. I am using my skills but not specifically working on them.

Other days I go to the field with the intention of working on a specific skill. The one that has been my main focus lately has been my landing accuracy. I fly a lot of contests and landing accuracy can be the difference between first place and 10th. But even as a sport pilot, having good landing skills and good landing accuracy will help you enjoy the day more.

Landing skills are not just about scoring points on the landing tape. They are important to safety, to convenienience and courtsey. If your landings are out of control, or all over the field, you can become a menace to other pilots and you can end up in the trees, the bushes or worse. So devote some time to landing accuracy and control.

When working on my landing skills I am not hunting thermals. On those days, I launch, then I will circle the field twice and line of for a landing. I set a spot, whether it is a hat, or the parachute from the hi-start, and I try to put the nose of the plane on that spot, every time. Until I can hit it consistently, my landing skills are not as good as they should be. A good goal is to put the nose of the plane in a circle with a 6 foot span. For sport pilots that should be more than enough. For competition pilots that is the bare minimum.

If you are flying with a friend, turn it into a game. Pilot with the most landings in the circle wins. Maybe the other guy buys lunch or something like that. Games always make skill building more fun.

The same can be said for launching, for hunting thermals, for working on ballasting skills, for flying in wind. I will go to the field with a plan, with a purpose which is to hone this skill today. And that will be my main focus for the day.

To some this might sound like "work" but actually it is a lot of fun and VERY satisfying and interesting as it always involves experimentation and learning new techniques. I may tune my landing mix, or change my landing approch or how I time the landing, or all of the above.

So a day of focused skill building is just as much fun as a day of just flying around. And the skills I develop that day enhance my sport flying the next time I go to the field.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 09:59 AM
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Perspective

Please keep in mind the pilots perspective in this. I started the SSP back in June and I am still not finished with Copper. As a beginning/inexperienced pilot the Copper level looks daunting, the Bronze looks virtually impossible. Perhaps some of the more experienced pilots out there are just now getting to the point in the program where you are saying "Wow this is hard", but I have been there from the very onset of the program.

I can tell you that the difficult nature of the Silver level is not disuading me from continuing the program. My flying skills will continue to grow and hopefully by the time I finish the Bronze level I will be ready for the Silver challenge. As to the comments that the difficult upper leves will push away new people, well let's look at other real world things. Does the 4th grade student say they are going to stop going to school when they first see what 12th grade math is going to be like? No. Do the beginner karate students drop out after seeing the 4th level karate master demonstrate his skills? No. Just the opposite is true. It usually inspires them to work to gain the necessary skills to rise to that level. How many times does a karate master perform a kick or punch to get obtain a black belt? Countless. Some people will never have the necessary skills or dedication to reach the very top of something. What is the ratio of LV to aspirants within LSF. Why should the SSP be any different.

If the Silver level is looking daunting to some of you well all I can say is welcome to my world. If there are parts that you have issue with I am certain that Steve would welcome some constructive input. Perhaps some of what you are feeling is that you are being pushed outside your comfort zone, perhaps not. I had some of the same misgivings about the repetitive nature of the tasks when I first looked at them. I asked myself why do I need to do so many of the similar types of task. To truely master something you need to be able to do it more than one time. 1 in 4 landings does not a master make. Will this program be hard? Yep. Will is push us to new personal bests? I hope so. Can each and every one of us have a voice in its structure? Yep. The current LSF program was not formed overnight, I am sure that there were alot of discussions on what the program would be and how hard to make it. Just think about how hard the 8 hour slope task was back in the early 70's. Battery technology was nothing compared to today. Modern transmitters can almost run that long on one charge but back in the day people were probably saying "Are you nuts?"

I may never obtain the silver level in the SSP and I may never be a L4 or L5 in LSF but I will work toward those goals as I continue my passion for soaring. To be a true master of something will require a lot of time and dedication and I am not afraid of that. I do not fear the difficult road. Keep up the good work Steve and to everyone who is expressing opinions here on this thread, keep it up. It will only make the program better. Steve.. as for getting suggestions for tasks, refer to post 403. You did get at least one.

Wayne
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Boone
Gordon & Tom: Please don't take offense, but let me pick on you a bit. You're LSF L IV & LV respectively. First off how did it take you to get to your current status? How long for each level? How many 7 or 10 minute flights with the same old tired landing tape system did you do to get your contest points? How many attempts to get your G&R's? Do you feel compared to other L IV & LV's you made good, average or below adverage time doing the levels, tasks?

Maybe I should finally take the time to do that web page on what I was thinking before I started this program. There actually was "some" thought into what to do before I opened my mouth and inserted my foot.
Hey Steve,
This is not a Steve bashing exercise - far from it. At all times I have been respectful and very appreciative of your efforts thus far. I have said before and I repeat that I don't want to see your efforts wasted. I am hoping this program will be a success and I am offering criticism of the program Silver Level at this point because I believe it is warranted. At no time would I criticise you or Joe personally. It is incredible what you have done that no one else wanted to do. We must now work together to ensure the effort you have put in is rewarded with acceptance of the program.
If we want it to work we should ask the opinion of those that matter - the soaring fraternity who we wish to improve there skills outside of contests.
To answer your questions above.
I joined the LSF in 1982 and had completed Level 2 sometime in 1983. I was working on Level3 but stopped flying in 1986 and didn't fly again until 2009. I began LSF3 on Feb 21 this year and competed it April 18. I completed Level4 on July 4 2009. Am working on Level5 hoping to complete it this year. I started the journey 27 years ago but publicly decided and announced on the RCSE forum in March this year that I would try to be the first to do the LSF in 12 months. (I intend to start at Level 1 again once Level 5 is complete.) I want a challenge and that is my challenge.
As far as contest flights I have flown this year chasing points for LSF - I have flown 31 days of contests. Includes 165 Rounds and 1270 minutes of flying. plus 29 rounds of DLG totalling another 200 or so minutes of flying. Total minutes attempted in contests was 1470.
Attempted my 1km G & R once and got it with about 12 minute flight.
Attempted my 2km G & R once and got it with about 18 minute flight.
I think I have got through Levels 3 and 4 and nearly through 5 faster than most because that is all I have lived and breathed since Feb.
I have flown for approx 27 hours in competition to complete the contest requirements for 2.5 levels of the LSF. I have been flying nearly every weekend and have flown many more hours practising tasks and achieving the TD requirements of LSF.
Hope this info helps.
Once again in closing - I think you need to ask questions like -

Is this program attractive to the majority of others who may want to improve their soaring skills?

Will the program be followed through the levels by participants or will they drop out after one level?

Can I attract others to the sport of RC soaring by promoting this program or will it scare them away?

Can we improve the program by making the early Levels more do- able?

Gordon
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 10:40 AM
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Don't give up!

Hello all -

I just want to chime in and say I'm glad this last round of discussion hasn't stalled the program. The open discussion is healthy and we'll end up with an appropriate balance.

In any case, I'm in - even though the Michigan weather cycle will spread things out for me. I've been staring at a single Copper task for over three weeks now, and any significant thermal work will have to wait 'til spring.

Tim
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 10:46 AM
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Like so many discussions in our hobby and others, this revolves around questions of inclusiveness and exclusivity.

Earlier this year there was a groundswell of commentary to the effect that LSF was excluding those who for one or another reason felt they could never fulfill the contest requirements. There was a demand for a program that had no contest requirements, so that participation could include more flyers. Later, some expressed a desire to allow electric launch as well, so as to include still more.

The SSP has already fulfilled one goal that is important to some: it has eliminated the pressure on the LSF board and membership to make any changes to the SAP.

We can't tell right now whether or not it will meet the goal of inclusiveness. The participation of opinion leaders and centers of influence in the soaring community will of course have a lot to do with that. The LSF was started by Le Gray and a coterie of pilots who were very active as leaders in many aspects of soaring, and its message spread from the contest fields of California to the rest of the country via opinion leaders like Dan Pruss and John Nielson, among others. This may happen with the SSP as well.

But only time will tell. One test of the program's success will be the number of aspirants; another will be their progress; still another will be the level of interest and activity taking place as aspirants go through their tasks. The task themselves are, in a way, secondary. Anybody can make the required LSF flights, given enough time. For that matter, anybody can get the required contest points too, given enough tries. But Gordon's comments above about the side-effects of LSF participation will ring true to many. The tasks require cooperation from buddies, planning, travel, witnesses, competitors, and so forth, which gives the LSF experience itself a life and meaning that you don't get just by flying around in a circle at 1000 feet.

It may turn out that the SSP produces its own version of such a journey for a group of people who are uniquely attracted to its requirements. That group may consist of a totally different group of pilots from those familiar names and faces who are active today on the contest circuit, in club activities, or on the slopes. Those guys may feel that the SSP requirements are in fact not inclusive, but actually are excluding possible participants. This may or may not prove to be true. In a year or so, all will become clear.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 12:42 PM
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Tim we will be out Sunday. So far the weather seems good (not great). I'll be working on my copper too.

Dennis
WMSS

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2motheus
Hello all -

In any case, I'm in - even though the Michigan weather cycle will spread things out for me. I've been staring at a single Copper task for over three weeks now, and any significant thermal work will have to wait 'til spring.

Tim
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 02:40 PM
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Gordon & Tom: I didn't mean to imply you were bashing me. You guys have always been respectful. Here's a bit of the reasoning I used in setting up the program to date.

I figured an adverage time to complete both copper and bronze around 1 1/2 years. For a newbie like me.
- Copper was to be easy for even a beginner and I think it is.
- Bronze should look tough to a beginner but by the time they get through with Copper they should be thinking more along the lines of this isn't as bad as I first thought it would be. However, it's still going to make me work for it.
I figured and adverage time to complete Silver & Gold 2 years each. Longer for us climate impared folks. Way longer for me as I plan to stop neglecting my heli's and large gas planes so my soaring time will be less.
- Silver and Gold I may have gotten turned around on. My thoughts were hit it hard in Silver as most guys by then are going to be getting serious in their flying. Then lighten it up a bit and have a bit of fun in Gold. Explore some different avenues like I previously talked about. Then back to work for those who really want to step it up. It would also buy us time to finish laying out the program as well. Hopefully before we needed it for someone to do. Maybe it would be better if we went the other way around. Silver to have a bit of fun and explore other aspects of soaring. Silver to get back in the saddle and get back to some serious work.
- Platinum would be on the order of LV. Not many would get there but the few who did would have earned their bones.
- My original thoughts on Titanium were for guys like you who are planning to do the LSF multiple times. Kind of, not too many will want to but if they do give them an instant way to show it kinda thing. Just a way for other people to recognize the effort. Recently I've been thinking more along the lines of building a ship or ships and using it/them to run the level exclusively. Many have suggested a requirement for helping the SSP grow through getting others involved. Plus other ideas that at this point are just floating around waiting their turn to get looked at. I have even considered dropping titanium all together as it's becoming increasingly hard to keep it fresh and not get too carried away in the task times.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Boone
I guess this is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. It's time to call on that help offered by the LSF. So over the next couple of days I will contact Jim Deck. I'll ask him if he can give us some basic LSF stats for comparison. Let's start with some basics.
-LSF membership by % breakdown for each level
-average time to complete each level
fair enough?

Gordon & Tom: Please don't take offense, but let me pick on you a bit. You're LSF L IV & LV respectively. First off how did it take you to get to your current status? How long for each level? How many 7 or 10 minute flights with the same old tired landing tape system did you do to get your contest points? How many attempts to get your G&R's? Do you feel compared to other L IV & LV's you made good, average or below adverage time doing the levels, tasks?

Maybe I should finally take the time to do that web page on what I was thinking before I started this program. There actually was "some" thought into what to do before I opened my mouth and inserted my foot.
I take no offense, you've worked hard. I've offered to help in anyway I can.

I've been flying 12 years. I started LSF in year 2. The first two levels went quickly. I got most of my contest points at the NATs. A week of flying with over a hundred participants moves that along fast. After III, it was a real job getting witnesses. I went out to Cumberland SFF to try my 8 hour 5 times in 5 years. Only once were conditions good enough to achieve it. I tried several times at the NATS to get my XC. Ended up traveling over 1500 miles round trip to do my XC where there would be witnesses and a good XC course. I did my 2 hr twice due to one witness leaving without signing the sheet. This year I did 2 one hour flights at Muncie the first day and finally the 2 hours the second day. It is very important that the tasks be challenging, but not too repetitive.

I think the LSF just saying "we'll use your program" instead of doing what they said they were going to, was a copout. A couple of us spent a good deal of time responding and sending in recommendations to the LSF -- which were ignored, even though requested.

The thing is, I know I could do the tasks, but doing 3 of each is not fun, nor does it really improve flying skills. As I said, I will gladly work with you to use the LSF format without the contests. That way the only thing we have to do is work out the contest replacement. Believe me, it is challenging enough considering only 125 V's since the first one 34 years ago. That's with over 7500 members.
Tom
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