The Sportsman's Soaring Program - Page 15 - RC Groups
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Oct 18, 2009, 04:51 PM
spinolio's Avatar
Well, I started my SSP today and got the 8 landings in. The weather was cool and cloudy, but lift was to be found and had one particularly good thermal.

I'm taking the tasks in order and hope to have it done this season.

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Oct 18, 2009, 08:56 PM
founder of the SSP
Steve Boone's Avatar
NEWS: Silver level has been posted to the web site. Plan on doing some major flying from here on out guys. We said in the begining this wasn't going to be easy.
Oct 18, 2009, 09:55 PM
Registered User
L-Spatz's Avatar
NO KIDDING!!! Love the "A" frame flight's, going to make it most entertaining(read frustrating) .

Oct 18, 2009, 10:15 PM
Balsa breaks better
Thermaler's Avatar
Originally Posted by L-Spatz
NO KIDDING!!! Love the "A" frame flight's, going to make it most entertaining(read frustrating) .

That should read "Challenging", the way Steve thinks it should be. I agree with him 100%!

I have looked over the web site and it looks pretty good, if Steve and I have missed anything, have a typo, please let us know.

I know the weather you had Dennis, it was the same down here. I forgot to get Steve to sign for the 10 minute task I could salvage out of the ladder attemp, 28:38 for an 8 minute step! Steve was right, I should have landed at 8 and got back up!!!!

Oct 18, 2009, 11:28 PM
Registered User
L-Spatz's Avatar
Joe. I was thinking of it will be entertaining for the non-soaring pilot's in the club to watch me yelling at the Lift God's ,as I blow another task attempt .

Other than that, it's all good.

Oct 19, 2009, 06:46 AM
Balsa breaks better
Thermaler's Avatar
Originally Posted by L-Spatz
Joe. I was thinking of it will be entertaining for the non-soaring pilot's in the club to watch me yelling at the Lift God's ,as I blow another task attempt .

Other than that, it's all good.

So I have fellow entertainers

I regularly take my turn on stage to entertain the guys at the sod farm, feels good to put a smile on some ones face even if I do not figuer it out until I get home

Oct 19, 2009, 08:38 AM
founder of the SSP
Steve Boone's Avatar
You should have listened to me Joe. Now you get to start over as it will be a different day. I was plagued with breakdowns all morning. First my winch, then my retiever. Never managed over 5:50 all day. Who cares, it was still better than working and I got to visit with all of my friends!
As far as the program goes. It's coming together nicely I think. It sure isn't some watered down easy way out now is it. Just think, it's not going to get any easier either!!!

************************************************** ************************************************** ************
NEWS: Remember to check back on the website every so often until the program is completed as we’re making updates to the task requirements. This is being done to keep things running smoothly and to the tasks as challenging as possible. I added a note to the Add Em’ Ups section about maximum flight times. This was suggested by an LSF officer and we agreed it was a good thing as it makes the task sets more challenging. The LSF uses half of the total. Joe’s favorite number is 3 however. So we’re going to use 1/3 to make it even more interesting.
Gold is next up to complete. We have some interesting ideas we're tossing back and forth. If we get the bugs figured out I think it will have some interesting twists. It will probably be controversial as well. The hardest levels of any program aren't for everyone. We'll see how it shakes out in the end. Only time will tell.
Last edited by Steve Boone; Oct 19, 2009 at 09:20 AM.
Oct 22, 2009, 02:11 PM
Ricky Windsock
aussief3b's Avatar

You have got to be kidding!

Hey guys,
I have made a few comments in this thread and have been a little vocal about my thoughts on the Sportsmans program and the planning of the future levels etc. I have been gentle with voicing my ideas until now, as I believe anyone stepping up to the plate like Steve and Joe have done need a ton of encouragement from the rest of us for their efforts to continue. It's just that I got home from a 4 day trip away with the wife to read the Silver Level that was posted while I was away and I feel I need to speak up.
This is just not right. Please take this as constructive criticism Steve and Joe. I want to see this program be a success (just as you do) and I want to be able to encourage others to participate in it and be part of it too. Alas that will never happen the way it is going.
You simply WILL NEVER get the participation this program deserves with this ridiculous repetition of the same tasks sets over and over (and over) with what appears to be a total lack of knowledge and disregard for how long such a task set will take to accomplish for any dedicated and expert pilot - - - Let alone the beginners, "yet to begin" flyers and skulkers out there, which this program needs to be trying to attract.
This SILVER level has a total of 3,345 minute of Thermal Duration flying in the task sets (without considering the XCountry which would only be another 30 minutes or so.)
3,345 minutes of Thermal Duration soaring equals 55.75 hours of required Thermal flying for Silver before moving on to Gold.
If you simply keep some record of the total amount of flight time you currently AVERAGE per flying day you will find it is a lot less than 100 minutes. (A beginner is flat out staying up for 20 minutes for one flight on their best day.) The average sailplane pilot will take a couple of years of GOOD soaring weather and GOOD luck - just to complete the Silver level. (Most will spend more than one season doing the Bronze.)
I thought the Bronze Level was bad enough with a total of 465 minutes of Thermal flying required. I believe most beginners will find this level too hard and give up or lose interest.
I can guarantee you that 90% of the 50 plus starters you already have for the program will never complete Bronze level because they will look ahead at this huge jump in required flight time in Silver to not just do something difficult once - - Not try hard to do it twice but actually be required to complete almost every task three times.
WHAT IS THE POINT we are trying to make?
This absolute marathon of repetitive glider guiding makes the LSF wizards that included a very long and boring 480 minute slope flight in their top Level 5 look even smarter than they really were at the time. Why - because people looked at the LSF program when it was released and believed it could be done and was worth doing but most importantly every level taught the pilot something new and he was a better pilot as a result.
This program simply will not appeal to the very ones it is supposed to encourage because it is WAY WAY too heavy on repetition of the same thing.

If going from 465 min at Bronze to 3345 mins at Silver is any indication - then at that rate it looks like Gold , Platinum and Titanium will be an entire lifetime of threepeats of Thermal flying tasks without going home for dinner. An entire new generation of soaring pilots will have been born, lived and died and none will ever get even close.

My understanding was that this program was generally percieved as an alternate to the traditional LSF Program - to attract those that wanted an accomplishment program but did not want to compete or wanted to fly electrics. It should still maintain the stated goals of the LSF and I quote. - -

"This system recognizes individual proficiency and accomplishment in RC soaring through a set of successively harder tasks that measure the sailplane pilot's skills and knowledge of soaring. The modeler has an opportunity to achieve these specific tasks with a sailplane of his or her choice. These tasks are designed to challenge and entertain, while allowing the pilot to measure and improve his flying skills and understanding of model soaring against a proven set of standards."

The LSF has been emminently successful because the program is do-able (but not by just anyone.) Lets make sure this new program actually gets done - by someone! -- and at the same time attracts a bunch of others that want to join the fun.

I recommend at absolute minimum we should reduce the Silver task sets to "Get it done once". That would still be a required TD flight time of at least 1150 minutes for the entire Silver level. (Or 2.5 times the flight time required to do the Bronze level.) Still way too much too.

To make this program a "Marathon" and require each set be done 3 times, adds up to a program that few will actually participate in past the first rung of the ladder - Copper.
I've had my rant.
What do the rest of you guys out there think?
Let's hear some other opinions too.

PS. I am in favor of anything that improves my skills as a contest pilot and I am participating in this program because it will do just that - for me. I just know even as a professional sales person I will never be able to sell this program as it stands to any others successfully and I believe as a result the entire SSP program will be doomed before it got started.
Last edited by aussief3b; Oct 22, 2009 at 05:34 PM. Reason: Spelling Error
Oct 22, 2009, 04:23 PM
Registered User
I've got to agree with Gordon. You've lost me, since this is no longer a fun program. I will finish up Bronze, since I started it, but there's nothing about the Silver that makes it worth doing.

This has very little to do with skill and more with endurance. I think one of each task is sufficient to show skill. I think a greater variety of tasks is okay, but not repeats of the same thing. This is going so far out in left field, I don't think LSF should sponsor or approve it.

A non-contest contest format would be way better than 3 of everything. 10 min task with 100" landing tape points for a total of 5000 points. Any flight not on the landing tape is a 0 flight. That means you would do at least 8 near perfect flights or a lot of "just made the tape" ones. You could have two set of these.

In Gold you could say 10,000 points with 1 perfect flight -- 700 points. This will improve skill.

The LSF SSAP program was going to be basically the same as the original one with added methods of launch, but without the contest requirements. The contest requirements could be replaced with a non-contest - contest format.

I would seriously consider doing the LSF tasks and replace the contest part with an equivalent set of task points (no position or min participant requirement). That way all your work is done and it won't be so rediculous (I do appreciate your hard work though).

I think all the work has been done if you use the SAP program as it is with the contests changed to "do it yourself" contest tasks. If you want to add something different, I think the "OR" part could also be geared toward HL. EG: Three three min flights in a 10 min window, 5 2 min flights in a 10:30 window, or something close to the F3K rules. (that might mean 3 options for tasks). This will definitely open things up to many more participants.

I will help with an equivalent non-contest task group, and I will provide "mark it yourself"
3 meter landing tapes (grometed) for $10 or fully marked ones (both 1, 1.5,2, 2.5 and 3 meter, and NATs type 100" 1" increments on each tape) for $25 plus shipping. Of course, I would like all landing tasks to be based on 100" and not have to add the extra few inches to make it meters. Standard 100" marked tapes are $20 each.

I think you should scap everything and follow LSF tasks or start Silver with LSF level III tasks and go from there. (you can make provisions for existing coppers to count that as Level I, and count any bronze tasks that have been done toward any equivalent in LSF Level II)

Tom B
Oct 22, 2009, 05:21 PM
Pompano Hill Flyers
Radian's Avatar
Originally Posted by aussief3b
......This SILVER level has a total of 3,345 minute of Thermal Duration flying in the task sets (without considering the XCountry which would only be another 30 minutes or so.)
3,345 minutes of Thermal Duration soaring equals 55.75 hours of required Thermal flying to move on to Gold. .......

Based on this progression I foresee the final Titanium level task as a short 1 hr TD flight on Mars!

Seriously... Did those '3's get copied over because this was the third level or is aussief3b correct that this level requires 3345 minutes of mostly triplicated flight tasks?

Also where are the slope tasks for the "or?"

Oct 22, 2009, 06:59 PM
Yep, Naza-controlled Tricopter
tonyestep's Avatar
"...use the SAP program as it is with the contests changed to "do it yourself" contest tasks. .."
An example of this would be: launch at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m. etc., 7 rounds (last launch at 2 p.m.); 10-minute task. Score it just like a 10-minute flight, assuming that the round winner got 10:00. Add landing after normalization. Out of 7700, call a score of 7625 a win, with lower target values from there for lower levels. Others might have different ideas of what it takes to win, but something along those lines should work.

This would be on top of the regular LSF requirements (G&R, etc.) but would replace the contest requirement.

This would be something everyone could understand and many more would buy into. Besides, it resembles the way a lot of us practice when we fly.
Oct 22, 2009, 07:24 PM
founder of the SSP
Steve Boone's Avatar
I'm not off, but I am disappointed a bit. I've said from the beginning all things are up for debate and change. When we tried to make changes though people got ticked off. I'm still willing to honor what I said though. I wanted this to be a community developed program. That's not an easy task. Most people won't even read the first post let alone the original thread or all of this one. So let me vent a bit and please feel free to answer me back. I love a spirited debate. Not as much as ice creme but close.

I figure it at more about 60-65 hrs. I wasn't planning on Gold being longer. In fact, I thought it would be shorter. We are however thinking of making it a class specific level. 2M, woodies, maybe HL only tasks. The last two levels probably won't even be as long but will have harder tasks, longer XC, G&R and such to make up for shorter total flight time. Haven't really decided yet. Oh and you know what? Not one single suggestion has come in to help with any of the last 3 levels! Not one! My lack of experience. Well duh! I said it many times, I've only been soaring seriously for 2 seasons now. That's less than 8 months of flying. I've already came close to 1 hr several times. The hardest thing so far is proving to be the the little ladder flights. Anyways, enough about me, back to the program.

Let me try to get this straight.

-LSF taking years is ok, sportsman taking more than a few weeks or months is BS. LSF is a life long journey (look skyward and listen for angles to sing), the SSP should just be a short vacation away from home (look in the rearview mirror and listen to the kids ask, "Are we there yet"). Never mind the trash talk in the beginning from LSF membership about sportsman just wanting an easy way out. This program was always going to require way more flight time than the LSF's program. (I would rather have more flight time than travel time.) How else could it be a challenge with no competition? "Let's just do the LSF tasks." OOH wow, ALL 13 hrs 40 minutes of it? (TD tasks time + 8 hr slope) Then what, line up to be called light weights? Maybe show our pride by saying, "Look I'm done with the SSP practice program for LSF"? Don't think so.

- "We want different tasks" We asked, we got very little input. That's also why we dropped slope, lack of input. However the Australians are asking we reconsider dropping slope and we are. If they can show us a way. In fact, my thought was can you make it compare to the TD Silver level? If so, you could chose to do one or the other. A slope program or a TD program.

- Do a task once, that should be good enough. So let's just go to one contest for LSF and call it good enough. After all, if you've been to one it's just more of the same. I don't know where you guys fly but where I fly it's different every time out. So it's never just more of the same.

- I never knew there was such a thing as too much flying. Going to a contest requires drive time, added cost for overnight stays possibly or eating out at the very least. More time spent traveling and waiting than flying.

- It should be so easy a beginner could do it. Do you expect a beginner to go out and get LSF tasks done every time out? Oh but wait, I'm a beginner and I'm doing it. Not a level a week but I'm slowly getting there. Just like LSF.

-Too many add em' ups. Now that one surprises me as it's the one thing that should be looked on as a true sportsman's task. No requirement much beyond go fly your plane and land. Hello, those are my favorites especially this time of year or when I'm just "in the mood to fly" not really seriously work.

Anyway, feel free to fire back at me. I haven't seen my wife more than 30 minutes a day for 2 months and she's home. I'm going to hang out with her for a bit if she can stay awake. (no not 'cuz I'm boring )

Oh yeah. I originally had the task sets at only 2 each. I thought it might be more work but also thought taking more time to complete (read fly) might be more fun than saying "I'm done".
Last edited by Steve Boone; Oct 22, 2009 at 08:04 PM.
Oct 22, 2009, 07:51 PM
SSP#14 aspirant
Soar_dude's Avatar
Well Said Steve!
Oct 22, 2009, 08:57 PM
founder of the SSP
Steve Boone's Avatar
Wife couldn't stay awake. So I'm back.
First let me set one thing straight. The LSF as an organization endorsed us, they did not sponsor us. They do not in any way have any say in what goes on in this program. Will The SSP fold up and die if they pull their endorsement? nope. I stated in the beginning it will make it or break it on it's own merits. Or if I get fed up, then Joe will have the option to continue on if he wants. Do I have friends in the LSF? yes. I'm a member as is Joe. Have LSF members given me input? yes and I thanked them like everyone else. Before this program started, LSF members also sent me a bunch of hate mail as well for even considering asking about a sportsman's program within the LSF organization. Even though it wasn't my idea. That mail is what caused me to start this program. Should I have just walked away? There's days I definately wish I would have. I would have saved a ton of my time and about 500 bucks. There's also days I wish I would have made this four levels instead of six. 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.
Oct 22, 2009, 09:25 PM
Ricky Windsock
aussief3b's Avatar
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.)

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