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Old Nov 22, 2009, 08:42 PM
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Yesterday I completed a final training session with a friend. He went home with his 2m RE Aspire in one piece. He said he will look at the SSP.

Between his flights I was able to do my first 10-min timed flight for Bronze. This was again with the DLG, which continues to be the first out of the quiver due to convenience.

To expand a little on my idea in the post above, I'm thinking that within a level there could be a way of measuring progress. Let's say that the Bronze level has 100 task points built into it. I estimated this from the roughly 10 hours of flight required. Each task in Bronze could be assigned points, with points for all tasks adding up to the 100. Let's say the 8 landings are worth 5 points and the two 10-min timed flights are another 5. I've completed my landings and one of the 10-min flights, so I can say I'm 7.5% through Bronze.

I know this doesn't address the larger issue of total flight time, but it does provide a way to define progress within a level.

---

Charles/elcoba, I'm just now digesting what you posted. This is something like T-shirt sizing is done here in the US. Initial measures are pretty self-explanatory - S, M, L. Then you start adding more Xs - XL, XXL, etc. Applying this to the SSP, the first levels would be basic stepping stones, with degrees of Titanium added to the end. This would allow beginners to feel like they're progressing but also allow the best of the best to continue to be challenged and bring others along.

I think this is worth considering.

Tim
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2motheus View Post
To expand a little on my idea in the post above, I'm thinking that within a level there could be a way of measuring progress. ---

Charles/elcoba, I'm just now digesting what you posted. -----
I think this is worth considering.

Tim
Hi Tim,
I like your ideas on measuring progress. Having now got back from the holiday I will be coordinating our ideas for a slope program and I am sure that you are likely to see both of the above ideas appearing in due course in one form or another
Charles
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 08:22 AM
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By the lack of responses, I assume that no one has another Gold Level plan for us? Then I guess it's back to Joe and I to figure out. We still plan on finishing this program's layout by the end of the year. So we basically have a month to get it done.
Joe and I have discussed making the silver level a little easier. Something we can do to please the "it's too hard crowd" and maker it look more "do-able" to the people just looking at the program starting out. It won't effect anything since nobody is to that point yet. Then we would make Gold and platinum as we wanted, hard.
Let me address a few other things that have come up:
As for landings getting too hard
Well they're going to get harder just like we always planned. I don't dork my planes and fly electrics as well. I can hit them safely. Is it a bit more difficult than dorking, yes. As Joe said though, spoilers and flaps make the difference.
Make it back to the field is good enough.
Maybe for a beginners course, but this isn't a beginners course
This is looking like a special intrest group thing
Uh yeah, if it wasn't we would have helicopters doing it
It's too hard
It was never suppposed to be easy. Once again, it's not a beginners program
This program won't fit everyones needs so it will fail
Maybe, maybe not. Only time can tell. The LSF didn't fail and it doesn't fit everyone's needs.
Ask the competition guys for their nod of approval so we know it's good
Since when did going to competitions make you all seeing, all knowing? Just because you compete doesn't mean you're a better pilot or have more knowledge of soaring in general.
We need another program to help the beginners
Not a bad idea. Who's going to design it? Who's going to help run it? All you have to do is step up.
We need a way to show our progress through a level
Who's going to do all of the extra paperwork? Besides, that's what this thread is for.
How do we know if we start the program it will be here in 50 years so we don't lose our progress?
Maybe start by stepping up and volunteering. You think this is easy? Try it.
Cory: I was sorry to lose you so soon in the program. I hope you get involved with the guys who are working on the slope part of the program. It would be a good thing as they're on the other side of the big blue ball. That way they have a better chance of creating a well rounded program.
Slope guys:Please keep up your efforts. A proper slope program would be a nice addition to the Sportsmans program.
Finally:Even if we make a program a raw beginner can do with a RE ship in 1 month. We still wouldn't please everyone. I've given up on trying. This program is what it is. Too hard? Make us a beginners program and help out. Want a competition class. Same thing, make one. Also, be willing to help out and run it.
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 08:42 AM
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You haven't lost me for good. Also I meant Bronze level in my post, not copper. Since I am a slope head at heart though, getting past Bronze will definately take some effort, especially the cross country tasks.

Meanwhile I do plan on banging out some tasks later this week. Weather here has been gorgeous and I need to take a break from the basement finishing. Will post what I get done. Most of it will be the thermal and landing stuff. hack, cough, spit..... That hurt to type/think the "th" word.
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 08:47 AM
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I SUGGEST YOU PAUSE TO REFLECT ON YOUR GOALS


Since I am not a member of the program I am not sure I should voice opinions here, but that has never stopped me before. I have been lurking in the background. I was following closely for the first 200 posts, then dropped back for a while, but I have been back into following the discussions. So I will share some thoughts.

Building

I have the greatest respect for builders and designers. But as I understood it, this was supposed to be a pilot's accomplishment program. So I would suggest that any thoughts of adding building to the program, as a requirement for any level, be abandoned. Any reference to the "history" of the hobby or the "birth of flight" is nice and romantic and has nothing to do with a pilot's accomplishment program. Just my opinion.



THE PROGRAM HAS GOTTEN TOO BIG AND TOO HARD FOR A SPORTSMAN PROGRAM



As stated earlier by someone else, for a sportsman program, the ability to put the nose of a glider inside a 3M diameter circle is as precise a landing as is needed at any level of a sportsman's program. Beyond that and you are probably adding skegs and dork landings especially if the landing is required in order to validate a flight.

At your bronze level, only level 2, you require some pretty daunting tasks. Miss the landing, and a 45 minute flight is invalid. You better be ready to dork that plane. I am not saying this is a bad task, but this is only level 2 in your program. That is a pretty stiff requirement.

Bronze

1 – 45 MINUTE TD FLIGHT
LANDING WITHIN 1.5 M


At the silver level:

TD FLIGHTS LANDING WITHIN 1M
1 – 30 MINUTE
1 – 45 MINUTE
1 - 1 HOUR


Too stiff for me. I have been flying gliders for 6 years, 40+ days a year with 15-30 launches a day. I fly over 20 TD contests a year, many based on traveling up and down the east coast. I am flying a Supra and AVA off a winch. I also fly other pure and electric gliders. I fly a lot!

In all those thousands of flights, I have had only 1 thermal flight over 1 hour long, and maybe 10 over 45 minutes. and I LOVE long flights. To have to finish that with a landing within 1M is too rich for my blood. Now either I am a lousy pilot, or I just don't get these kinds of thermal conditions in my area very often, but if I did, I would be happy I have a plane that can tollerate that kind of landing.

How about the other pilots in our club? Our club has an annual competition that runs for the whole year. You can fly any time you like as long as you have a witness. You have about 350 days a year to fly in this contest. We call it the Big Sky Longest Duration contest. Out of a club of 60 pilots, perhaps a quarter of which are active competition glider pilots, many flying top of the line planes. We might get 1 or 2 who manage a 1 hour flight per year. Some years no one breaks an hour. And that is across 7 categories including pure, electric and hand launched gliders from 1.5M to unlimited span.

My point is that I think you are trying to make the program too big, too long and too hard. What is the point?

In my opinion, a sportsman's program should be something that a pilot can work and learn and accomplish in a reasonable amount of time. Each task should have a clear learning value and a clear goal that the pilot can see and understand.

Keep it simple, keep it achievable and let the pilot see the finish line or he will never enter the race. A motivated frequent flyer should be able to finish a sportsman's program in 2-4 years. An occasional pilot, maybe 5-7. I don't think this should be a "life long journey" type program.

Gentlemen, you are on your way to becoming another LSF Task program, a program that is so hard and demanding that only 8000 pilots have even bothered to finish level 1, in 40 years. Is that what you want? To me that is not a lot of participation.

For a Sportsman's program, you should hope to have that many in 5 years. Every new pilot should want to enter your program because they see the learning, they see the growth and they can see the finish line.

From what I see, everything past your Bronze level is just busy work. Ladder tasks are great, but what new skill are you demonstrating? It is a game to add interest, but there are no new skills. You could spend 8 hours doing that task, but unless you are doing it against someone else, what skill have you proven?

If someone can finish your Bronze level they have demonstrated all the skills any sportsman pilot would need to know. I would drop your silver level and spread out the bronze to make 2 levels. After that, they really need to compete against other pilots to know if they have advanced or not.

Competition does not require new skills, it requires consistency. It is not whether you can thermal for 10 minutes and hit a 3M circle, but can you do it on demand, in the same air that other pilots are working. That is the only difference between a sportsman program and a competition program.

I like the concept of your Titanium level, as it introduces the role of the teacher, the coach the advocate. Excellent concept.

I have the greatest respect for the work you guys are doing but don't get yourselves into the same category as the LSF task program. Focus on helping turn out accomplished sportsman pilots and you will have a much better program. If they want to go beyond that, then let them join the LSF program.

Just some thoughts from a casual observer and a supporter.
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeajr View Post
I SUGGEST YOU PAUSE TO REFLECT ON YOUR GOALS


Since I am not a member of the program I am not sure I should voice opinions here, but that has never stopped me before. I have been lurking in the background. I was following closely for the first 200 posts, then dropped back for a while, but I have been back into following the discussions. So I will share some thoughts.

Building

I have the greatest respect for builders and designers. But as I understood it, this was supposed to be a pilot's accomplishment program. So I would suggest that any thoughts of adding building to the program, as a requirement for any level, be abandoned. Any reference to the "history" of the hobby or the "birth of flight" is nice and romantic and has nothing to do with a pilot's accomplishment program. Just my opinion.



THE PROGRAM HAS GOTTEN TOO BIG AND TOO HARD FOR A SPORTSMAN PROGRAM



As stated earlier by someone else, for a sportsman program, the ability to put the nose of a glider inside a 3M diameter circle is as precise a landing as is needed at any level of a sportsman's program. Beyond that and you are probably adding skegs and dork landings especially if the landing is required in order to validate a flight.

At your bronze level, only level 2, you require some pretty daunting tasks. Miss the landing, and a 45 minute flight is invalid. You better be ready to dork that plane. I am not saying this is a bad task, but this is only level 2 in your program. That is a pretty stiff requirement.

Bronze

1 45 MINUTE TD FLIGHT
LANDING WITHIN 1.5 M


At the silver level:

TD FLIGHTS LANDING WITHIN 1M
1 30 MINUTE
1 45 MINUTE
1 - 1 HOUR


Too stiff for me. I have been flying gliders for 6 years, 40+ days a year with 15-30 launches a day. I fly over 20 TD contests a year, many based on traveling up and down the east coast. I am flying a Supra and AVA off a winch. I also fly other pure and electric gliders. I fly a lot!

In all those thousands of flights, I have had only 1 thermal flight over 1 hour long, and maybe 10 over 45 minutes. and I LOVE long flights. To have to finish that with a landing within 1M is too rich for my blood. Now either I am a lousy pilot, or I just don't get these kinds of thermal conditions in my area very often, but if I did, I would be happy I have a plane that can tollerate that kind of landing.

How about the other pilots in our club? Our club has an annual competition that runs for the whole year. You can fly any time you like as long as you have a witness. You have about 350 days a year to fly in this contest. We call it the Big Sky Longest Duration contest. Out of a club of 60 pilots, perhaps a quarter of which are active competition glider pilots, many flying top of the line planes. We might get 1 or 2 who manage a 1 hour flight per year. Some years no one breaks an hour. And that is across 7 categories including pure, electric and hand launched gliders from 1.5M to unlimited span.

My point is that I think you are trying to make the program too big, too long and too hard. What is the point?

In my opinion, a sportsman's program should be something that a pilot can work and learn and accomplish in a reasonable amount of time. Each task should have a clear learning value and a clear goal that the pilot can see and understand.

Keep it simple, keep it achievable and let the pilot see the finish line or he will never enter the race. A motivated frequent flyer should be able to finish a sportsman's program in 2-4 years. An occasional pilot, maybe 5-7. I don't think this should be a "life long journey" type program.

Gentlemen, you are on your way to becoming another LSF Task program, a program that is so hard and demanding that only 8000 pilots have even bothered to finish level 1, in 40 years. Is that what you want? To me that is not a lot of participation.

For a Sportsman's program, you should hope to have that many in 5 years. Every new pilot should want to enter your program because they see the learning, they see the growth and they can see the finish line.

From what I see, everything past your Bronze level is just busy work. Ladder tasks are great, but what new skill are you demonstrating? It is a game to add interest, but there are no new skills. You could spend 8 hours doing that task, but unless you are doing it against someone else, what skill have you proven?

If someone can finish your Bronze level they have demonstrated all the skills any sportsman pilot would need to know. I would drop your silver level and spread out the bronze to make 2 levels. After that, they really need to compete against other pilots to know if they have advanced or not.

Competition does not require new skills, it requires consistency. It is not whether you can thermal for 10 minutes and hit a 3M circle, but can you do it on demand, in the same air that other pilots are working. That is the only difference between a sportsman program and a competition program.

I like the concept of your Titanium level, as it introduces the role of the teacher, the coach the advocate. Excellent concept.

I have the greatest respect for the work you guys are doing but don't get yourselves into the same category as the LSF task program. Focus on helping turn out accomplished sportsman pilots and you will have a much better program. If they want to go beyond that, then let them join the LSF program.

Just some thoughts from a casual observer and a supporter.
Here!Here!
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 03:08 PM
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I heartily agree with all you have said. I would enjoy a good sportsman program. The suggested tasks so far seem more to prove that"We are as good as a competition pilot," without having to enter a competition. I don't really care what competition pilots think of my flying and I do not fly with the idea of impressing somebody else with my skill as a pilot!I do like the idea of completing some set tasks, but not if it means "dorking" my model. Anybody watching me who was not a modeller would think I needed some lessons in how to land a glider! One Metre is the smallest circle I would try for.I am looking forward to doing my copper level, but the following Bronze level would be as far as I would go.
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 06:36 AM
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Actually there are only 4 things to do in soaring. Launch, fly, find thermal and land. Everything else is just some form of one of the above. So at the point of not over doing, not repeating or only doing something new, that would leave the program at:
launch sailplane
fly sailplane
find 1 thermal (any size/duration)
land sailplane in one piece
I can write it up. Have it ready in a couple of minutes. You can all send me $1 for a decal. Slap it on something and call yourselves a "Sportsman". I'm sure we'll get more participants that way and even have most of them complete the program in short order.
Then, if you decide you want a program that requires a some effort, can't be done in a couple of days, truely improves your skills and earns you a bit of pride of accomplishment along the way. We can have another decal made to put over the first that says, "ADVANCED".
OR
You can step up, help us complete one of these:
- The advanced program we're trying to build
- A primer program for people who want to have a program that's not as hard or involved as the advanced program
- A competition program for us to use that rivals the best for those that like to compete
- Or help develope the slope program that's already being worked on
Then you could be part of a truely rounded soaring program that would be a real SIG for the soaring community.
OR
You could tell me to just give up, quit banging my head against a wall and go enjoy my life. Then when this topic of a sportsmans program comes around again, leave me out of it.
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Boone View Post
OR
You could tell me to just give up, quit banging my head against a wall and go enjoy my life. Then when this topic of a sportsmans program comes around again, leave me out of it.
Come on Steve - you seem to be missing the point. Not a single person has posted ANYTHING on this thread that tells you to give up - quite the contrary. Many are interested in the success of your program. (But not nearly enough.) Many are contributing here with their thoughts and opinions. They all want to see you and your SSP program succeed.
With respect - Problem is you're not listening. We have all been very encouraging throughout this process. You have started something that can be incredibly useful in the world of RC soaring - but only if it IS popular with many fliers. It CAN be!
The fact that we don't always agree with you doesn't mean we don't appreciate all you have done and the effort you have put in.
To put my opinion simply -
This program can either be:

(a) An SSP training program adopted and endorsed around the world by clubs and sport sailplane flyers of all skill levels as THE program to improve their skills.

OR (b) The Red Hen SSP.
Respectfully
Gordon
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 07:37 AM
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One more thing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Boone View Post
Actually there are only 4 things to do in soaring. Launch, fly, find thermal and land. Everything else is just some form of one of the above.
Actually Steve - There is a 5th thing to do that's more important than all of the 4 above.

That is to HAVE FUN.

The current program as proposed is definitely not FUN.

Those impossible and repetitive tasks will make it frustrating instead.
Gordon

PS. I did do my first ladder of Bronze level last Saturday. 4,8,12,16,20.
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussief3b View Post
Come on Steve - you seem to be missing the point. Not a single person has posted ANYTHING on this thread that tells you to give up - quite the contrary. Many are interested in the success of your program. (But not nearly enough.) Many are contributing here with their thoughts and opinions. They all want to see you and your SSP program succeed. With respect - Problem is you're not listening. We have all been very encouraging throughout this process. You have started something that can be incredibly useful in the world of RC soaring - but only if it IS popular with many fliers. It CAN be!
The fact that we don't always agree with you doesn't mean we don't appreciate all you have done and the effort you have put in. To put my opinion simply -
This program can either be:

(a) An SSP training program adopted and endorsed around the world by clubs and sport sailplane flyers of all skill levels as THE program to improve their skills.

OR (b) The Red Hen SSP.
Respectfully
Gordon
I have quoted Gordon because he reflects my feelings as well.

You have my total support and appreciation. You have my greatest respect and my thanks. I did not say your program was bad, I said I think you have passed the finish line, stop running!


I will put this another way.

I am in sales. That is what I do when I am not flying a glider.

We don't measure the success of our products by how good they are, but by how well they are accepted by the public. It is nice if the reviewers say nice things about what we produce, but does anyone buy them?

Having a great product that no one buys may be an engineering achievement, but it is a product failure. The goal of those products is to generate sales. If no one buys them, no one benefits so what good are they?


Let's try it a different way. Let me put this in glider terms.


The Supra is one of the best TD and F3J gliders in the world, but there are probably less than 800 of them in circulation. ( No, I don't have an actual number. Barry, feel free to correct me. )

The Easy Glider and The Radian can't touch the Supra, but I would venture to say that they outsell the Supra 10, maybe 100 to one and people love them. For many they represent the entry point to a life long love of soaring.

So, are you building and selling a Supra for a small, elite audiance? Or are you building a Radian or an Easy Glider to reach a wide audiance? I am saying the LSF program is the Supra of programs. I am suggesting you build the Easy Glider, the Radian of programs. But maybe that is not your goal.


If your goal is to have a program that is super challenging, that involves a life long journey where hitting the peak becomes the ulitimate achievement for the non-competition pilot, then I have to say that you are right on track, keep going. Completing this program will be quite an accomplishment.


If your goal is to give new pilots and experienced sportsman pilots the opportunity to test, develop and and demonstrate thier skills against a set of standards, to help them hone those skills and be recognized for completing the program, then I think you are going to miss the target.


You are building a great product. Be proud! I have to say that I am impressed, but I am not going to buy.
My reason for jumping in at this time is that I fear very few are going to buy.


If you have people signing up rapidly, and that may be the case, then ignore all I have posted here. I am clearly wrong. If clubs are endorsing this program and encouraging their new pilots to sign up, congratulations, you have built the right product!

But if the registrations have been few and far between, then ask yourself why. Is there no market, or have you built the wrong product? Only you can answer that question.

THAT IS THE POINT!
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 11:40 PM
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Hang in there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Boone View Post
We need a way to show our progress through a level
Who's going to do all of the extra paperwork? Besides, that's what this thread is for.
Steve,

Think of all you're learning through this.

As I said in my first mention of a means of showing progress through a level, I hope there is a way to do this without overburdening the program managers. I think that by assigning a percentage to each task within a level, we would calculate ourselves how far we are. I would never expect you to get involved after every task. Assigning a percentage would be valuable not only for a beginner to feel their progress better, but it would also allow us to track each other better on this thread. This will be especially true when we don't do the tasks in sequence.

I'll go ahead and set some percentages for the first two levels.

I hope you see the posts above, especially those from Ed and Gordon, as wanting to make the SSP a help to the most flyers possible. I think we want the entire thing to be a very significant achievement, maybe as hard as the LSF. I think what people are reacting to most is the large jumps in difficulty right out of the chute (we should say off the chute here). This is what will be disheartening for those who are just learning.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tim
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussief3b View Post
OR (b) The Red Hen SSP.
Respectfully
Gordon
Gordon,

What does this mean? I get the impression it is not good, but I don't know the context.
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Boone View Post
Welcome to the Sportsman's Soaring Program (SSP) thread. Everyone is welcome to try it, everyone involved in it has a say in it's development. If it suceeds or fails it will be by it's own merits not by someone who has never tried it's opinion. Feel free to voice your opinions. Keep it civil and be polite to others. I also ask that you try to leave discussion of the LSF out of this thread. This thread is to be for the discusion and development of the SSP. We would apreciate any input positive or negative as long as it's on topic. If you want to give it a try let us know how you're doing and what you think of it. If you think it sucks and quit, tell us why. You have the ability to cause change within the program, except for one detail. [B]This is a non-competition, task oriented program and will stay that way. Anything else is open for discussion and change.
FOR MORE DETAILS AND HOW TO JOIN:
Just visit our website at www.sportsmanssoaringprogram.com
I went back to your original post and see that I broke the first rule. Since I am not working the program, I will keep any further thoughts to myself.

Since I am already working the LSF program, and since I am am an active competition pilot, I won't be working this one. But I still wish you and the program great success. Please accept my earlier comments as offered with the sincere desire to see you and the program succeed. Your hard work and dedication are a shining example to us all.

Sorry for the intrusion.
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeajr View Post
Gordon,

What does this mean? I get the impression it is not good, but I don't know the context.
Simply making a point that it could just remain a "local" program rather than grow. (Red Hen Turf Farms is Steve and Joe's very excellent soaring facility.) http://www.thermalrider.com/redhen/redhen.html
It's all good.
Gordon
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Old Buzzard's Soaring Book clayjrw Aircraft - Sailplanes (FS/W) 31 Dec 20, 2003 08:17 PM
FS: OLD BUZZARD'S SOARING BOOK pic here & on Ebay TTT1111 Aircraft - Sailplanes (FS/W) 0 Nov 17, 2002 10:54 AM
WTB Dave Thornburg's Old Buzzard's Soaring Book Mauilvr Aircraft - Electric - Airplanes (FS/W) 2 Jul 07, 2002 11:29 PM